If there’s something I believe wholeheartedly, it’s that there is always something for which to be grateful.
In 2013 I dedicated myself to taking a self-portrait every day. Truthfully, I’m glad that project is over and done. As with any undertaking it had its highs and lows. I wanted to feel more confident in front of my own lens. I do. I wanted to learn some new technical camera aspects. I did. I wanted to jump into the frame and be present and show that I am a part of my own memories. Day after day, that very thing happened.
I am grateful for the self-portrait project experience. If you are searching for a photography project, I do recommend some self study.
But by the end of three hundred and sixty-five (friggin) days, I’d rather grown tired of myself. I knew that 2014’s photography project would look outward and have a focus that was, perhaps, greater than me. Or just different from me? What I’m saying is I craved the opposite of self. So, this year I’m aiming my lens at others.
While I do have a p r e t t y BIG idea in the works for a photo project that involves all three aspects of what I focus on through this blog–motherhood, photography, and inspiration–I’m going to wait until I have more details hammered out and chiseled away and fine-tuned and…you understand what I’m saying…just more details PERIOD before I let everyone in on that one. If what I hope happens, the “motherhood photography project” I’m dreaming of will bring about some good and positivity. Because I do believe we humans just can’t get enough of those things. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, amiright? More about this very, very soon. I have a meeting set up later this week which might lead to some collaboration from more members of the community, which might lead to….[insert some other vague words. Now something ambiguous. I know, I need to move on if I don't have anything specific to add.] JUST GET EXCITED with me.
…..To be revisited.
Now, on a smaller scale–I wanted something else. Another photography project that would elevate me on the daily. Get me thinking because I am a thinker. Get me feeling because I am a feeler. What is it that I truly want out of 2014? The answer came quickly and easily.
I want happiness.
I want to feel it, really feel good. More often than not. More seconds and minutes and hours and whole days than not. I want to feel happy about my life and where I am and in my skin and here’s the important part–I want to feel happy without any other complications or special circumstances.
No– If x happens then I’ll be happy.
No–Only when _________ begins/ends/whatever, I’ll be happy.
No conditions. Not then, now. Not when, now. Just easy joy. Loud or quiet joy. Big or small joy. Ordinary or unconventional joy. The other essential element to this? Rediscovering and noticing what is already uplifting me. So, feeling appreciation. Oh Gratitude! You again, eh?
I realized though that my want of happiness wasn’t anything new. I mean, isn’t that what I already do? Photograph our joyful moments? Our real moments? And reflect? Share the story behind the image? Yes, I do. I have been doing that picture-sharing/story-telling thing here at LWW for six years strong now. But after thinking about it a moment more I came to the realization that that’s okay. This year’s project will continue right along with my intent. This project’s focus then should only amplify the joy and the love already present and draw new joy and love and goodness to me.
And for the record, desiring joy for one’s self isn’t bad. You won’t convince me that wanting personal happiness is ever stingy or silly or meaningless and moronic. Here is why: if I’m happy than others around me are more likely to be happy. Vibrations in close proximity tend to align and match. Joy or any feeling has to start with self. It’s a pebble making a ripple turning into a wave into a movement. Because connection. We are all connected. Now, no worries. I won’t bust out Circle of Life from Lion King. We can leave it at that. But to conclude I’ll just tack this on–feeling personal joy might be the most loving thing we can do for one another.
Be aware of the fact that every choice you make, every word you speak, every action you do, has a consequence and an impact on others.–Layne Beachley
So my personal photography project for the year?
The quick and easy answer was :
And these are my regulations:
This isn’t a photo-a-day project. Several photos can be from the same day. Maybe some days won’t have any. I’m breaking this year up into WEEKS and taking the days as they present themselves. Throughout the week I’m expecting a theme to emerge specific to the past seven days. I thought about having a set list beforehand–a word to focus on each week ahead of time–but I’d rather the theme and subsequent reflection come about naturally, and unfold on its own. Ready?
***************Here we go!****************
At first, I fought this, this thing. Lazy joy. I can only stay closed off in my house and not doing for so long. I try to find contentment under blanket forts and throughout slow afternoons, but really I like daily outings. I like a little sense of adventure. Not a whole lot, but a little. But the first week of January wasn’t exactly full of adventure. We stayed inside so much. We played games and watched movies and screamed and fought and made up and drew pictures and jumped on the beds and dressed up and then we played more games. I drank one soy chai tea latte as permitted by Cupcake per day. I journaled and read, but mostly I felt antsy. Let’s DO. Something.
It wasn’t until in a split second of watching Leo teach Matilda how to play chess–that I thought AH. We’ve being doing something all along.
Lazy joy. There is joy to be had in these lazy, laid-back moments. I watched big brother helping little sister. Leo wasn’t on his iPad. He was engaged with HER and Matilda! She wanted HIM to teach her chest. No, Matilda it’s CHE-SSsss. See, this is a pawn. That is a rook. This is the Queen. Her favorite piece of course was the queen. So how great. My kiddos in a moment with sweetness sprinkled on top. Lazy joy for the win. Right then I stopped waging the battle against what I perceived as nothing. Stopped looking at my car keys and wondering when I could pack everyone up and hit Starbucks drive-thru. Just. This. Lazy joy.
Instead I pulled up a chair and watched them play chest, I mean chess.
And I’m so glad I did. Because the very next moment? The one after this image was taken? Matilda pushed the game away, frustrated. She yelled at Leo that she wasn’t playing anymore. Hmmpf. And she clickety clacked away in her high-heeled dress up shoes and joined her Barbies back in their Dream House.
Such is life around here. Split second temperaments.
I’m still feeling grateful that I caught on. That I pulled up a chair. That I watched and listened and enjoyed some of the laziness from the week. I felt nothing turn into something. And that was something.
What simple joy did you experience last week? And what in the world will next week’s simple joy be? Do you have a photography project for 2014? Tell me about it below!