Inner Alchemy

I began photographing our yellow delicious apple tree in the spring, with the idea of capturing shots at various stages through harvest time. This, in an effort to visually convey transformation:

Alchemy is the process of transforming lead into gold.
Inner alchemy is my term for personal transformation to our highest best.

I believe that life is an expression of the choices we make, with each choice serving to transform us—subtle or obvious—body, mind, and/or spirit.

Further, I believe that whatever we are not changing, we are choosing. So much so, that my life’s purpose is based on this conviction.

The photos in this post were taken between April and September. This six-month window is the typical life cycle for apples in the United States.

Inner alchemy—personal transformation—occurs at different times and speeds for everyone:

  • Early, quick, and dynamic
  • Late, slow, and measured
  • Somewhere in-between

When it comes to personal transformation, are you an early or late bloomer?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” — Laurie Buchanan

The Book—Discovering the Seven Selves
The Experience—Life Harmony

© Laurie Buchanan 2013

Find me on Twitter @HolEssence
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68 thoughts on “Inner Alchemy

  1. You know what your post started me thinking about? “Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.” I think if a person fell deeply enough into understanding that sentiment they would more fully realize the bloom that they are. Thank you, Laurie.

  2. What a beautiful post! I am a tortoise. Slow and measured. Sometimes frustrated by the speed of my journey, I know in the end, I will have traveled a great distance.

  3. Laurie I am in many ways a late bloomer as far as being relaxed and calmly riding the waves of the seasons. All along though I have had some good years and some years of fraught with drought and despair. Mostly, I believe I am a hardy, pest resistant apple tree with delicious sweet fruit in abundance enough for sharing and that are perfect to have over a long chat with a cup of tea. Lovely photographs by the way 🙂

  4. What a lovely post with gorgeous illustrations to make your point! I wonder what marvelous things you will do with those delicious ripe apples. 🙂

    As I age, I think I have blossomed. Beginning as a shy quiet teen and young adult, I have become a more outgoing person, less afraid of what others will think, so I can do things I love and enjoy being with the people I love without worrying about being judged. With regards to my creative side, I think I am forever evolving, trying something new. 🙂

    • Mywithershins – We peel, slice, and prep the apples then freeze it for easy-making pies and tarts throughout the year 🙂

      I’m so glad you’re no longer held hostage by the opinion of others. That liberates us to blossom all over the place 🙂

  5. Laurie – I love the way you illustrated your points and thoughts with photos; so very creative. In answer to your question – personal transformation for me has varied. My initial phase came in my mid-40s through Mystery and losing everything that was familiar to me; the circumstance was quick, the journey slow and measured. It happened to me yet again a year ago, and this time, it has been slow and measured all the way through. I am a work in progress, and trying to master “patient trust.”

  6. Oh Laurie your photos are bliss . We have a very old apple tree in our garden , I think it’s a Worcester, not sure but you can cook with it or eat it straight off the tree . That is what I did a couple of days ago . It’s such an amazing thing to do , pick an apple off your own tree, it’s just like magic .
    I am, without doubt, slow to mature. Now I’m a little older , I listen to what people say instead of rabbiting on . I also listen to silence …it’s unreal what you hear when your quiet .
    My name, being Cherry, people always asked me if my middle name was Apple . I hated them teasing me . Now Gwyneth Paltrow has a little girl called Apple . Oh dear I guess I’m rabbiting lol
    Cherry x

  7. I’m late to bud but once I do watch–I shoot for that light. : )
    Thank you for this beautiful post, Laurie. Each week I wait patiently for Tuesdays with Laurie–each week I’m rewarded by an inspiring message.

  8. Love this, Laurie. I think I am a continual bloomer – learning as I go. But I am much more in tune with the choices I make/aware of them the older I get, so I think I have become more deliberate in my choices. LIke the others, I connected with your sentiment that “whatever we are not changing, we are choosing.” Yes…

  9. Laurie, you know the gardener in me loves this post, transformation and alchemy…Ah Ha! Magic! On giving it some thought, I find that I am like the Encore Azalea in regards to blooming, sporadic and intermittent. Just enough to surprise myself and to keep me from giving up hope.

  10. Love this photo project you took on–as transformation may also be like the old process of photo development, as well–the image emerging from the bath of experience–who you really are, there all along, only emerging gradually from the darkness.

    Me, I’m a late bloomer–definitely a late bloomer!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  11. These photos are absolutely gorgeous. We have one apple tree in our backyard and I love springtime when the air is fragrant. As for me, I’m an early bloomer with some things, a late with others! Thanks for the lovely memories, Laurie!

  12. Hi Laurie,
    I, too, look forward to our Tuesdays time!
    I find myself with different bloom times…when it comes to loving my future Grandchildren, (one wonderful 4 yr old has won my heart, one son just needs to be smart enough to marry her Mom) and a Grandson expected around Christmas time–I am as fast as a gnat can multiply. When it comes to making changes in my life, some come as quick as a radish in the field (28 day maturity) and some never happen. When it comes to my curiosity, I will take as long as a redwood tree grows. There is a season to everything, right??!!
    Thanks for the thoughts and take care!

  13. I think I am an early bloomer, Laurie — I get up before the sun even thinks about showing its face . . . I already know that we can save the earth, animals, and humans if we base our economies on service not on products . . . and I walk around anticipating the next best thing in life.

  14. Late and by twists and turns,wishing It had been an early awakening,could have spared some of the suffering.However,better late than never and probably it is all the turmoil that caused the blooming to be that much brighter.

  15. The pictures across several months are wonderful. I keep wanting to start a similar project to show how the slow daily changes in nature result in big changes across time but haven’t figured out exactly what I want to photograph yet.

  16. Laurie, your apples are making my mouth water. 🙂 Seriously, the blooms and the fruit are beautiful. And such a lovely way to exemplify that change is nothing to be afraid of. Thanks…

  17. Early!
    Have been so busy making applesauce/drying apples between thunderstorms – hard to get on computer right now 🙂

    I learned early on to raise my hand and do my report or speech first – then you got the opportunity usually to rewrite if you got it wrong. We were supposed to write a poem using the Casey at the BAT meter, but I could not understand how to do that, so I just used a poem from my poetry book and it was wrong but good words and the class enjoyed it anyway, I was corrected and then listened to the other members read their poems, went home and wrote one to the correct rhythm and passed the assignment. It was all in the risk – then no one had to know about my dyscalcula – an often great defensive move 🙂

  18. Oh Laurie, you always have just the perfect post. I love to share everything you share with us.
    I have always been a late bloomer, but lately I’m Blooming Baby! My personal transformation is on rocket speed. I sometimes feel like I need a safety belt so I don’t fall off the ride! I have finally been practicing appreciation and only attracting people with similar energy. People are dropping like flies from my life and it has helped lighten my load of negativity. Its the ride of a lifetime! Yahoo.
    🙂 Karin Conway
    Organic Growth Coach

  19. Hi Laurie

    Alchemy was the search for a method of transforming lead into gold. No such chemical method exists. Lead can be transformed into gold, but it is a nuclear process, and requires vast amounts of energy, and is the sort of thing that sometimes happens in exploding stars, and appears not to happen in any significant quantity anywhere else in the universe.

    Fortunately there is very little about us as humans that is as fixed in nature as the properties of lead and gold and the other elements known to us.

    We seem to be far more flexible, and able to create an infinite array of properties within ourselves.

    Life seems to be a potentially infinite journey, and we seem able to create a potentially infinite series of personal transformations.

    So it seems to me that the journey of life is potentially capable of creating an unlimited series of personal transformations.

    Seems to have been going on for me as long as I have lived, and I fully expect the process to continue for as long as I live (be that one year, 20, a thousand or a billion years).

    • Ted – I love your observation:

      “We seem to be far more flexible, and able to create an infinite array of properties within ourselves.”

      I, too, hope we’re both around for a l-o-n-g creating an unlimited series of personal transformations 🙂

  20. Such a beautiful metaphor with the apple tree in blossom Laurie, and a resonating post all the way through! Sorry to get here late. I’d say I’m a late bloomer as far as transformation, but at least in one way it makes various revelations more appreciable.

  21. Beautiful post- thank you! I think of myself as a late bloomer, but I am realizing that everything is coming to me at the right time, and my evolution is actually right on schedule. I’m working on accepting with gratitude where I am in my creative growth, not wishing to be further along or wishing to have started younger. Just be here now and enjoy the process. Thanks for all your wisdom to light the path!

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