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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Attitude"
Volume 7 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Po and the Stones
Rip-Off Lane

with Phil Kotofskie

The writing of my stone book feels complete, so it's picture time. Dusting off my pre-digital camera equipment and testing it on the stones, I realized I would need a dedicated close-up lens for detail shots. After all, Pink Feather—one of the book's stone personalities—and other stones are pocket sized.

A week ago I found a used close-up lens. The lens was not completely compatible with my camera and the price seemed high. Research confirmed the sharp optics and durability of the lens, but I would have to set exposure manually at a premium price. Although I had a lens from that era that served me well, perhaps the close-up lens was not for me.

Yet my deeper feeling guided me back to try the lens on my camera. Enroute I noticed that I forgot my money, another caution sign. Huh? Was I in a buying fever? I was excited, but beneath that I felt a solid leaning to explore the purchase. Why was my inner rudder guiding me toward the lens? My excitement grew as I entered the store.

With the lens on my camera, I toured the store focusing from infinity to life size. What a great lens. Aha! Now I remember how I worked around those missing features, I thought. My inner rudder still guided me toward the lens. Okay!

The merchant reduced the price by fifty dollars, which felt better, but not enough.

"I'll take it, but I can't pay until tomorrow," I said. Why did I agree, I thought? Although I could have backed out, my inner guidance continued to rest on the purchase. Both owner and employee acted resigned about the price and avoided my gaze.

He doesn't see it! flickered in their energy.

An old game, but nice teamwork, I thought. Once again the payment delay gave me time to come to my senses and walk away.

Rip off! I thought when I woke the next day. Yet my inner rudder guided me back to the store. After so many years of practice, I questioned such unseemly choices, rather than where trust would lead.

The owner greeted me by name from an office, not showing his face while I paid his employee. Years ago a salesman shared this basic technique. Once you close a sale—which means the customer decides to buy—stop talking and get the money. Novices lose sales by talking and revealing their excitement. Amazed at how inner clarity reveals gamesmanship, I left.

I played photographing plants and wild flowers in the neglected county cemetery. A small ant scurried beneath the lens looking quite large! At the ant hole—a tiny opening in the hard ground rather than a hill—I photographed their arrival and departure. Then I played with a hawk, a hummingbird, jet planes and a rodent den entrance. The neat thing about the lens was its focusing from infinity to inches. Life-size focus required adding the extension tube, which enabled closer focusing with a given lens. I was on my second roll of film when it was time to go.

Buyers remorse arose later that afternoon, in spite of my overall feeling of well-being. Although I enjoyed the lens, I felt future snags in my stone photography.

"How can I think I was ripped off?" I said to myself. I saw clearly and trusted myself throughout. I laughed as habitual fears faded beneath a feeling of well-being. The camera guys gifted me with the tool I needed. I gifted them with extra money. My feelings of being taken advantage of highlighted my fear of lack—grist for the mill. My not holding onto the experience left the camera guys energetically free and clear. Everybody got what they needed.

But my journey down rip-off lane continued. I forgot to set the film speed correctly, thus wasting my cemetery photos. No problem—part of refreshing my rusty skills. That reminded me about scanning slides for my book's publication. When I checked the price of a high-quality scan, my fears reappeared. Scans were expensive.

No problem, I thought, I'll research inexpensive digital bodies that fit my lenses.

For a little more than the cost of the lens I could purchase a digital body, thereby bypassing scans. However, I would have to save for the camera, putting my book project on hold. My buyers remorse and money worries returned, but I continued to explore options, trusting where my feeling led.

Then I found a lab that offered affordable scans if done during film processing. I was back in business. After shooting a few more practice rolls I'd be ready for the stones.

Playing with the lens again, I realized that its extension tube would fit my other manual lens, a telephoto that magnifies distant objects. The telephoto lens focused much closer, making it even better for close bird photography! I was okay. As always, my inner rudder guided me through darkness into light, the darkness being my fears from the past and worries about the future.

Rip-off lane led back to my dormant passion for capturing light and shadow in cat fur and pond slime, on railroads and bunny tails. The sight of a quail glowing in morning light quickened my pulse. A shade-sitting lizard encouraged me from a tree well.

"Lizards too?" I said.

Yes, I felt, Lizards too.

My body relaxed, feeling future light and shadow surprises.

Phil Kotofskie is a longtime student of life. His sharing is based on years of working with himself in diverse jobs and relationships ranging from Army Soldier to Overnight Grocery Stocker, from spouse to stranger. His specialty is everyday life as a spiritual path.

Phil is a Reiki Master who offers healing assistance and a musician who plays didgeridoo and West African drums. He is currently finishing a book with the Stones that guides the reader to answer the question "Who am I?"

Phil lives in Tucson, Arizona with Popurrie and the Stones and can be contacted via email.

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