Tuesday, 7 February 2012

DIG Deep

I have been procrastinating!!  About a month ago I watched this lovely little film clip 365 Grateful and thought I would love to do that.  Taking an image a day of something I was grateful for sounds  like a good idea. It fits with my 2012 intentions and I want to use my camera more, what a great way to do this! I even started talking about it but I have not started.

I thought before I start I will get it all sorted.  My perfectionist self decided that I needed to have answers to a number of questions first. Where did I want to put my images? What camera would I use?  I don't have a Polaroid, does this matter? Who did I want to share my experience with? Once I had all this and more sorted I would start - but I didn't.

The past two long weekends we have been to Mangawhai staying in the old bach near the sea.  The bach has been a part of Graeme's family for many years and he has fond memories of family holidays here as a child. We also share memories of visits here with our daughters. The bach is small and very basic but this seems to encourage simplicity and the opportunity to slow down, to stop and look around, time to reflect and time for us to connect.  I am very grateful for this opportunity.

The Bach
 Taking time to stop has allowed me to see that behind my procrastination was the fear of failure. Fear that I would not last the distance, fear that my images would not be good enough and perhaps even fear of what I might uncover within myself if I followed this process.

I have also been reading Patti Digh's "Creative is a Verb" and Brene Brown's "The Gift of Imperfection".  My questions (excuses) above, all fall into Patti's definition of "creativity killers".  Brene talks about a new way to DIG Deep. Rather than pushing through something the DIG stands for:

Getting Deliberate in thoughts and behaviours
Getting Inspired to make new and different choices
Getting Going - taking action

So I have decided to DIG Deep. Not in my old way pf pushing through or forcing myself to just do it! But in a more gentle and encouraging way I am just going to start and know that whatever I do will be enough. I am not going to commit to take an image everyday for a year. I am not going to commit to take an image every day for a month or even a week. I am not going to commit to putting my images in a tidy album or online everyday.  I am not going to ensure I have a little band of dedicated followers before I start.

But I am going to DIG Deep and start taking images! I am going to Deliberately take images of things I am grateful for.  I do feel Inspired at the thought of using my camera more and sharing my images with those that chose to follow my progress. So I am Going to take action and just start.  It may be one image a day or three a week or month.....  It doesn't really matter, whatever it is it will be enough.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Through the eyes of children

I have just returned from spending four days caring for my two wee grandchildren while their mum and dad took a well deserved break. There was little time for contemplative photography or contemplative anything really! However, I did manage to make some images. Needless to say most of those images include a small child or two.

It was a special time and I feel priviledged that I was able to give them my time and love. As their sole carer over this period I also received all their love and attention which returned anything I gave in multiplies.

This morning as I prepared to leave my mind naturally turned to the demands of life and work and I realised how little I had thought about this over the past few days. I reflected on how watching these little ones live their lives as if every moment was something unique and special also encouraged me to do the same. Whether is be observing a bumble bee on the window sill, the excitement as they chase each other around the garden on their bikes, seeing the ducks in the bay as if for the first time and the cuddle given to the favourite toy at bedtime, each moment is special.  Seeing the world through the eyes of children for just a few days has given me more appreciation for my world.

Friday, 25 November 2011

A New Way of Seeing

Next week my journey as an arts therapy student comes to an end.  It has been a wonderful journey with many challenges bringing insights along the way. I am now on a journey to develop my arts therapy practise but without the demands of study I can also start a new creative journey.

My new journey is a photographic one, an exploration into contemplative photography, mindfulness photography or a new way of seeing. I plan to use this blog to document my process and reflections as I go.

This is my first image that marks the starting point of my journey.  I have been doing some work with mandalas but mainly through drawing. I am also taking part in an online course 6 Degrees of Creativity and I have been doing one of the lessons for   6 lessons for  a happy artist's life entitled "Look for the good, see the beauty around you".  I decided to take at least one photographic image each day for a week that would be representative of a natural mandala. I took my camera with me on walks around my neighbourhood and my garden. I wasn't sure what I would do with the images but I knew I wanted to combine them somehow and this is what I came up with. 

Creating this images brought positive feelings at several levels including:
  1. First taking my camera for a walk (my dog felt pretty good about this part too!) - exercise and fresh air
  2. Stopping to notice the small things - mindfulness of my surroundings
  3. Capturing them on camera - practising my skills
  4. Playing around with the images to create my multiple mandala image - learning some new skills
  5. Completing it - a sense of achievement.
  6. Sharing the image with this group and some other friends - sharing
  7. Receiving the lovely feedback - taking in the good