Category : Mantra
Life as we know it can change in an instant. I think the events of the past week remind us all of that. As I look back over the past few months, I am seeing ways in which I’ve been reminded repeatedly of this change-ability of life. My favorite film of this year’s True/False Festival, The Crash Reel, was all about the frailty of our human experience and how quickly it all can change. Focusing on the devastating training-run crash of then Olympic-bound snowboarder Kevin Pearce and his slow steps at healing, we as viewers are pulled in immediately to how his life changes 180 degrees in one moment. We are reminded, in deeply affecting and emotional ways throughout the documentary, that each of us is potentially one instant away from our own life-altering moment.
Watching this film reminded me of a childhood friend’s grandmother whose life was forever impacted by a freak, Frida Kahlo-like car accident. I thought about my friend’s niece who almost died this past summer of cardiac arrest at the age of 9. It brought up horrific images of 9/11, Columbine, the tsunami. Memories of countless close calls and near-misses in my own life and in the lives of my friends and loved ones bubbled up. The film reverberated with me for a few weeks as it culled forth my experience of being diagnosed with cancer five years ago and the ways in which that health crisis changed me and my life in an instant. I’m sure as you are reading this, just as I sit here writing, other memories and stories of lives changing in the blink of an eye flash before us.
And while these thoughts can bring about such despair and sadness, this awareness can also remind us to cherish what we have in our lives right now. I remember when Tony and I were going to sleep the evening we saw The Crash Reel, I couldn’t hug him tight enough. I distinctly remember holding onto him as we lay there in our friends’ guest room, thinking how much I love him, how much I need him, how quickly our lives are flying by, and how much I want to keep this moment forever. I recall having waves of fear that this moment, and the next, indeed our fifteen plus years together, will all keep whizzing by, and that in any one moment, something could come crashing in that changes all of it. I can still feel the pangs of guilt I had in knowing I am not always so mindful of this bigger picture, that I’m not always so close to understanding my deep love for Tony and the gratitude I have for him in my life. No, I could more clearly see all the moments I totally take for granted, the times I choose to be on the computer or my phone scrolling through social media rather than talking to Tony about our respective days at work, the times I’m frustrated that he didn’t rinse out his coffee mug (again!), and on and on. And I remember thinking before drifting off to sleep that I don’t want to do that anymore, I don’t want to take Tony for granted, I don’t want to choose to look at Instagram rather than connecting with him, I don’t want to be so frustrated about the damn coffee mug.
But then, that moment was gone. I fell asleep. I woke up the next day, and my life marched on with all its usual distractions, ungratefulness, and annoyances. And then my neighbor was diagnosed with cancer. A wake-up call. And then students at Tony’s high school were in a terrible car accident coming back from lunch. Another wake-up call. And then the episodes of this past week unfurled. More wake-up calls. So I write this post to remind myself to stay awake. To urge my awareness to linger. To choose love, every day. Because life can change in an instant. xoxo
Today is day 365 of my 365 project. But, I needed to write this post for today. I’ll be sharing my thoughts tomorrow on this past year’s journey, and announcing my next project. See you then.
On this day of Valentine’s, I’m wishing you all so much love. When in doubt, choose love.
Hope. There is always hope…
The Universe knows…
Last summer during the Tribe retreat, we spent an afternoon making vision boards. We had tons of magazines, posterboard, and gluesticks at the ready. While we talked about our dreams for the upcoming year, we poured over the magazines, looking for images and words that spoke to us and captured some of what we were visioning for our futures. In addition to the typical glossies that you pick up at the grocery (Oprah, Whole Living, Real Simple), I brought along some of my favorite magazines that are more like journals, catalogs of art and creativity — UPPERCASE, Mingle, and Kinfolk to name a few. As I found images of cameras (even an SX-70!) and hearts and bikes that I wanted to put on my vision board, I knew for certain I wanted to cut out the masthead of UPPERCASE and use it for my vision of the future. I was clear that one of my big goals and dreams for the coming year was to have my photography and writing published in UPPERCASE, a magazine I adore that features amazing work by all types of artists.
Not long after returning home from the coast of Oregon, I began working on a submission to UPPERCASE. Like I tell my students about publishing academic research, the surest way not to get published somewhere is to not submit your work. Thus, I took my own advice, and crafted a story and selected accompanying photos. After working it through many times, writing and re-writing, pouring over photos, I took the plunge and submitted it. And then I waited, asking the Universe to do its thing (please and thank you). I journaled about it and reminded myself to trust the process. I repeated a mantra to myself that I had done my part, did the work, put myself out there, and now I had to believe this creative endeavor would take the course it needed to take.
And then it happened. I heard back from Janine Vangool, the editor of UPPERCASE. She said she liked my photography and my writing, and said she’d keep me in mind as she worked on future issues of the magazine. A month or so later, I heard from Janine again, saying she wanted to use my story and some photographs in an upcoming issue of UPPERCASE. YES! I did my part and the Universe did its thing.
Issue #16 has recently shipped to subscribers and stockists, and it landed in my mailbox just this week. I can’t tell you how ecstatic I was to rip open the plastic covering, and turn to the Table of Contents to see my name listed. I was beyond thrilled to then flip to page 29 and see my words, my photographs, and me (self-portraits, you know!) among the pages of this magazine I so adore. I also love that the photographs included in the piece are a combination of self-portraits and Polaroids shot with Impossible Project film. I feel grateful and so happy to have realized another creative dream.
To help celebrate this milestone and my photography and writing being published in the pages of UPPERCASE, Janine is sponsoring a giveaway of a year subscription to the magazine! How awesome is that?!? For your chance to win the subscription, please leave a comment on this post by Sunday, January 27th at midnight Central time. I’ll select a winner using a random number generator and let you know who won!
As always, thanks for being a part of my creative journey. You cheering me on means more to me than you know. xoxo
A good reminder, beaming from the Universe…
100 more days to go!
As this new year dawned, I shared with you that my word for 2013 is FORWARD. I’m really thrilled that this word found me. The more I try it on and get used to it, the better it fits me. The “me” right now needs this focus and mantra.
Forward is such a perfect reminder to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To keep going. Keep trying. Keep putting myself out there. And I have to say that this forward-business is what creativity is all about. Showing up. Doing the work. And I believe moving forward — persistence, tenacity — reaps good things. I can feel it coming.
How is your one word coming along and showing up for you so far?
PS — these are MY baby shoes. My father gave them to me for Christmas this year (best gift ever!). Do you remember when getting the traditional white baby shoes bronzed was a “thing?”
Happy New Year! Welcome, 2013!
After traveling “home” to Maryland for the holidays and then getting resettled back into life here in Nebraska, I’ve been carving out some space to reflect on all that 2012 brought me — the good and the not-so-good — and to prepare my intentions for 2013. Part of this process has been deciding what my one little word will be for this year ahead. My word for 2012 was practice and this word served me so very well. Practice allowed me to focus on cultivating daily habits of photography and creativity. My word helped me to engage more in the process and begin to pay less attention to the outcome. Practice also helped me to pay attention to my own journey, my own growth and development, rather than looking toward others’ accomplishments.
Now what for 2013?
For a while, I considered staying with practice. This word has been such a helpful beacon to me over the past 365 days, and I don’t quite think I’m finished with its teachings just yet. However, choosing a new word for the new year seemed more prudent. I planned to make a list of all the words that may be swimming around in my head and heart, and then focus on each one to see which was “right.” And then that’s not what happened. Like many people I know who also focus on one little word for the year, my word seemed to pick me. One word came to mind and seemed to take up residence. Similar to last year’s practice, this word is not sexy or pretty. It doesn’t have the beauty of words like “fly,” “bloom,” or “authenticity.” No, this word is a bit more solid, more practical, more nose to the grindstone.
My one little word for 2013 is forward. This word builds on my 2012 word of practice so well as it carries forth the momentum of that word and all it brought me. Forward helps me continue focusing on the creative habits I’ve developed and move them along. Forward reminds me to keep doing the work. This one word helps me stay the course, put one foot in front of the other, dust myself off when needed, and keep going. Forward means “onward; into view or consideration; out; ready, prompt, eager.” I love all of these meanings. I want to be moving onward. I want to bring more of myself, my work, my creativity, into view and out. This fits so well with my belief in needing to put myself (ourselves!) out there and asking the Universe to do its thing! And I am ready and eager for my journey to move forward and to unfold into all it will be.
So today, this year, forward will be my guide.
Do you have one little word for 2013? I’d love to hear what you chose (or what chose you) and why that word resonates for you. There is power in our intentions.
Wishing you so much love for 2013.