Our splinter group of Shutter Sisters is continuing our new tradition of sharing 10 photos on the 10th of each month. We started with sharing 10 photos from our time together in Tofino, then followed that up with 10 festive photos enjoying the holiday season. This month, with the new year upon us, we decided to focus on “restart” as a theme.
As I’ve said before here, I do love a fresh start, a clean slate, a new page on the calendar. So, how have I been I been restarting this year? First, the holiday decorations were carefully put away…
Then new words, new sources of daily inspiration have been sought. Although secure is my word for 2014, “ease” was in the running for quite some time. Ease is another one of my core desired feelings and I am inviting it mightily into my year and my daily life. Interestingly, I am seeing how secure embodies and allows for ease.
My ritual of morning pages and journaling continues to sustain me and provides a secure foundation from which to enter the world each day…
That’s what my “restart” to 2014 looks like so far. You might be saying, “What?! Wait! There’s only 5 photos here! Where are the other 5?” My answer — they haven’t unfolded yet. And ordinarily, I would have frantically taken 5 more photos to make sure I had 10 to share — after all, this IS a 10 on 10 post! But, I’m restarting. I’m allowing ease into my life. I’m feeling secure in my work and who I am. And so, I’m staying loose, and letting 5 be okay this time around.
To keep the blog-hop going, click on over to Lindsey’s blog to see her 10 on 10 to restart this new year!
As I’m letting the fullness of my one little word settle into my heart and soul, I find myself attuning my awareness for secure reminders. Getting back on the mat, rededicating myself to the practice of yoga, standing in warrior asanas allows me to embody secure. Morning pages, a journaling ritual, having always helped ground me, provide a secure base for me to enter into each day. These are the obvious ones, my go-to reminders. But I’m trying to broaden my attention, widen my perspective, and find the essence of secure in places I haven’t looked before.
I see the geese, their trust in the pattern of the seasons, the signs in the wind, take refuge on a frozen pond, secure that the ice won’t crack through. I notice the words of sage poets, wise women and men, describing their knowledge of life line by line, and I take solace in their telling me I don’t have to “do” anything as I am secure, right now.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
How are you settling into your one word for 2014?
Happy New Year, friends! Hello, 2014!
It’s a brand new year. A clean slate. A fresh start. I love a new beginning and over the past few years, I’ve really sunk into choosing one little word to guide the year ahead. I’ve enjoyed the process of reflection, looking back at the year that is passing, and then dreaming and setting intentions for the year that is upon me. Choosing a word for the year is one of those intentions for me. It is making a deliberate step into the life I want to be living. It is the start of a conversation with the Universe, putting out there what I want to manifest and bring into my experience. It is a mantra, a centering presence in my life that helps me remember my path and stay the course when the swirling and cacophony of life gets too loud.
My word for 2013 was forward. This word served me well in so many ways. Forward beckoned me time and again to put one foot in front of the other, to take my creative journey and professional life day by day, to keep doing the work. This word reminded me that when life felt challenging, when I stumbled, when I contemplated throwing in the towel, that I simply needed to dust myself off and keep going. Yes, forward was a perfect word for this past year, and I realize I will be carrying this word forward into the year ahead as a supporting word given how much it still has to teach me.
As 2014 eeked closer and closer to dawning, I contemplated a number of words to be my beacon for the year ahead. During our Tribe retreat this past summer, we spent time exploring our core desired feelings using the work of Danielle LaPorte. I knew that one of my core desired feelings was likely to be a frontrunner for my 2014 one little word. If these words represented the very essence of how I want to feel every day, how could one of them not be a logical choice? Two words, two of these very core desired feelings, kept whispering to me. They both felt good in their own ways. But…they felt kind of blah, too. I have to admit I get pulled in to wanting my word for the year to be sexy or pretty or flowy. You know, words like “soar,” “thrive,” or “shine.” Many of my dear friends have chosen these very words and they are so lovely. And my words…aren’t. My words seem to be practical, pragmatic, sensible. They aren’t the dreamy and magical, sparkly kind of words. So once I accepted that my words are important to me for their own reasons, and that it doesn’t matter that they aren’t shiny words, the blah concerns moved on. And after sitting a few days with both words rattling around my heart and soul, one took root.
My one little word for 2014 is secure. As one of my core desired feelings, I have come to learn the importance of this word and this feeling for me. Secure means being grounded, rooted. I want to stand tall, firm, true in my creativity, my photography, my professional life, and my relationships. Secure is staying on my own path, trusting my own process, and exiting the “breathless race of comparison” and external validation. Secure reminds me that the Universe is unfolding as it should — that everything I want, all that I’m dreaming and longing for, is already in process. It’s already happening. Secure shows me that I am safe and encourages me to feel ease, free of anxieties and worries. Secure bolsters me in my knowing that I can weather any storm, any challenges, any obstacles that come my way. And last, secure means “to procure, obtain.” I want this year to be the year I secure a publisher and book contract for the work (words and photographs) that is unfolding in 365 Impossible Self-Portraits, and secure solo gallery shows to exhibit the photography. Secure is layered and rich, and I invite this word in all its meanings into my life.
So today, this year, secure will be my guide.
Do you have one little word for 2014? I’d love to hear what you chose (or what chose you) and why that word resonates for you. I truly believe in the power of our intentions.
Today, I’m remembering. Six years ago on this very day, I was having surgery. As I lie in the hospital two days after our first Christmas in a new home, in a new part of the country, cancer was being removed from my body. This was my wake-up call. On this day, and the days and months that followed, the true realization of “life is short” hit me. I could no longer avoid the question: “what are you waiting for?” That is when the path for my journey of becoming a photographer really opened up.
Much love and health to you all. xoxo
I hope today finds you doing exactly what you wish this holiday. May you be surrounded by love. And wishing you and yours peace, today and always. xoxo
With 2014 quickly upon us, I’m dreaming. I’m reflecting back on 2013 and looking toward the year ahead. I’m mulling over my one little word to guide me during these next 365 days. And as I do, I’m holding Mary Oliver’s wisdom close, hoping to be like the crows with each new ethereal dawn in the coming year.
Landscape by Mary Oliver
Isn’t it plain the sheets of moss, except that
they have no tongues, could lecture
all day if they wanted about
spiritual patience? Isn’t it clear
the black oaks along the path are standing
as though they were the most fragile of flowers?
Every morning I walk like this around
the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
ever close, I am as good as dead.
Every morning, so far, I’m alive. And now
the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
and burst up into the sky—as though
all night they had thought of what they would like
their lives to be, and imagined
their strong, thick wings.
I’m thrilled to share that I’m being featured on the Artist Spotlight over at Snap It See It today. Snap It See It is a website and group of folks who love and are inspired by all things instant photography. So you can imagine I was honored to be showcased as a featured artist on their site.
There’s an interview Q&A along with lots of photographs, including some of my very favorite instant shots I’ve ever taken. I hope you click HERE to check it all out. And, many thanks to Snap It See It for showcasing my work and photography in their Artist Spotlight!
During this overly busy time of the year (for many of us), it may feel unthinkable that you could do something for yourself. But today, I want to remind you that we can only be our best selves when we are in a good place — emotionally, physically, spiritually (broadly defined). I want to whisper in your ear that it’s okay if you take a break. You can sit for a moment in that patch of sun and catch your breath amidst the swirling of the season.
Last month on the 10th, I shared 10 photos on sisterhood taken during my retreat with a group of fabulous photographer friends. That post marked my first of our group’s launch into 10 on 10. On the 10th of each month, the group of us are doing a blog-hop, sharing 10 photos on a theme or taken on one day or event. This month’s 10 on 10 has us working on the theme of “festive.” With Tony and I headed to the tree farm, selecting our holiday tree, and trimming it this past weekend, I thought of no better opportunity than to shoot our weekend shenanigans for my 10 on 10.
It was freezing, quite literally, this past weekend with temperatures hovering around 1 degree Fahrenheit (-17 Celsius). While I had hoped to take some Polaroid photos during our adventure to the tree farm, I knew there was no way that was going to happen as instant film does NOT like the cold. So I picked up my long-neglected digital camera, and off we went. (As always, you can click on each photo to see them larger!)
Yonkey Pine Tree Farm is a sweet, family-run operation in a small Nebraska town a bit south of us. On the years when we aren’t traveling back “home” to the East Coast, Yonkey Pine is where we get our tree, selecting it from the rows and rows of scotches and firs, having it cut fresh right before our eyes.
To our dismay, the farm had been pretty well picked over. With Thanksgiving falling much later in the calendar this year, and with beautifully mild temperatures two weekends ago, it seemed like all of Lincoln (if not all of Nebraska!) had already beaten us to tree hunting. In looking over the few trees that remained amidst all of the stumps, we chose a lovely fir. And, a fresh wreath for our front door.
We awoke to snow coming down, made coffee, and got a fire going. After some reading of the Sunday New York Times, we got down to business.
Tony strung the lights, and then we sorted through our collection of ornaments. Coming across Ripken’s dog bone ornament from his first Christmas with us brought a pang to my heart. We still miss him every day.
To keep the festivities going, blog-hop on over to Lindsey’s blog to see her festive 10 on 10!
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