Category : Polaroid
Friends, I’ve had a roller coaster of life over the past few days. I have dwelled at the bottom, in the throes of despair, anguish, and worry. I have towed the mid-level line with frequent reminders to stay calm, to not freak out, to wait until the picture had fully developed as it were. And, I have risen from the depths to experience relief, to exhale, to return to a sense of ease. And in the midst of these turbulent emotions, I was reminded of gratitude. Yes, I admit to feeling the most gratitude when I emerged at the end of the ride on said roller coaster. But moreover, I was awakened to the truer sense of gratitude — to the idea of being alive to all that we have, both the good and the bad, each and every day.
“GRATITUDE is not a passive response to something given to us, gratitude is being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. Gratitude is not something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life. Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is privilege, that we are part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.”
–by David Whyte, published on his Facebook page, November 28, 2013
I can’t say it better than that. xoxo
For six months now, I’ve gone to bed with some version of the following thought swimming around in my head: “How am I going to shoot myself tomorrow?” SIX MONTHS! You know what that means?!?! I’ve hit the half-way mark on 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits. I’m half-way there, friends. It seems like only yesterday I was reflecting on the three-month mark, and here I am half-way through this incredible journey.
As I hit the half-way point of 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, I see how much I’m growing as a photographer AND as a person. What began as a photography project has morphed into a larger metaphor about myself and life. This project consistently unveils lessons to me at every turn, showing me an insight into life through the process of shooting, by stepping way outside my comfort zone, or in my reaction to a photograph. My greatest hope is to write a book, compiling these awakenings and learnings along with a large selection of the self-portraits, and share them with you.
I’m excited to be over at the IMPOSSIBLE Project blog today, sharing more about 365 IMPOSSIBLE Self-Portraits, including some never-before seen photographs from the last few months. I hope you click HERE to check it out!
Messenger by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Thank you, friends. Thank you for coming to my corner of the world. Thank you for sharing in my creative journey. Thank you for reading my words. Thank you for being interested in my photography. Thank you for cheering me on. Thank you for your kindness and generosity of spirit. Thank you for really seeing me. Thank you. I am so grateful for you, this community, here at Life Refocused. xoxo
A few weeks ago, Tony and I headed to Chicago for a little get-away to celebrate our anniversary. It was a whirlwind, 36-hour trip, but a fantastic weekend to enjoy some more “just us” time. We got a chance to eat some yummy food, visit the Art Institute and check out the new-to-us Modern Wing, wander the city, and just hang out together. The weather was beautiful with lots of sun and cool autumn breezes.
We grabbed coffee and some pastries our first morning, and headed to Millennium Park. It was fun checking out “The Bean” and playing with reflections.
After a celebratory dinner at The Publican, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Chicago sign at night.
“Be taught now, among the trees and rocks,
how the discarded is woven into shelter,
learn the way things hidden and unspoken
slowly proclaim their voice in the world.
Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.”
– Excerpt from “Coleman’s Bed” in River Flow by David Whyte
I’m over at Mortal Muses today announcing our November theme. I hope you click HERE and come and join us this month.
As I was traveling last week, sitting at the airport and ending a phone call with a friend, I looked up to see a life-sized blur of pink walk by. I did a double-take to fully realize what I had seen. There, in the middle of the airport on a busy Thursday, stood a grown man wearing a pink body-suit, pink bike shorts, pink VANS, and a pink feathered boa around his neck. It being October, I had a sneaking suspicion that his attire was all about Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I felt so inspired by his strength in wearing full-blown pink, TO TRAVEL, that I had to go say hello. And ask him if I could take his photo.
This is Andrew. His mother is a breast cancer survivor of 8 years. He shared with me that for the past few years, he’s been dressing up in pink as many days in October as he can to show his support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Andrew said this year marks his first as having enough in his wardrobe to wear pink EVERY DAY in October. We chatted a bit about his mom, my own cancer story, and the importance of prevention and early detection. I told Andrew that I admired his courage and passion to so publicly embrace his own awareness campaign of wearing pink every day for 31 days. I asked if I could take his portrait and he graciously obliged. And then, we were off on our separate paths.
However, Andrew and his story stuck with me throughout the day. His groundedness in who he is and what he believes in was, IS, striking. I truly admire how comfortable Andrew is in his body, his identity, his beliefs, to go against the grain and the norms of masculinity to wear bright pink everywhere he goes for a month. He sincerely inspired me and I know he inspires most everyone he encounters. Meeting Andrew reminded me that life is short. He reminded me that THIS, right now, THIS is IT. He reminded me to take my life by the horns and ride it for all it’s worth. He reminded me to embrace every moment. To live bold.