mind-full-ness

In 2013, I undertook a project where I tried to take one photo per day to share with my family and friends through Instagram and Facebook. While I did not quite achieve doing it every day (I missed probably 20 days – mostly at the start when I wasn’t sure what I was doing!), I achieved much more than I ever thought I would. It started out as a simple way to keep in touch in my year of adventure, but it became a task in mind-full-ness. Yes, I write it like that: I know the convention is “mindfulness” but I find that my mind has become very aware and very full of the world around me. Every day I see more things – sometimes everyday things, sometimes special things – and I appreciate more in my life. Sometimes it’s the simple things such as a beautiful flower; other times it is an experience that is overwhelmingly beautiful or sad or loving or engaging. But the point is that I see more than I ever have before. I take less for granted and when I think I can’t find a photo for a day, I realise that I have a lot to be thankful for and that perhaps I wasn’t as present as I wanted to be during the day. This means that I sometimes needed to hunt for a photo that could represent my day. Other times, I have so many photos that I find it incredibly difficult to choose just one – but I only choose one.

Later in 2013, I found a wonderful article written by Nic MacBean titled Snap happy: bestselling author Matthew Johnstone finds peace through photography. This article helped me put my project into clearer words and to realise what I was trying to do with it. It also gave me another book to find and read! (Note: I love books – I can’t get enough of them – more about my year in reading in a post to come.) However, being able to articulate why I am taking photos and why I want to do it every day has been enormously beneficial in understanding my motivations and intentions for myself – something deeper than just sharing images from my year of adventure – something more basic in understanding myself and my life.

Here are some of the highlights from my year of adventure, mind-full-ness, and understanding.

a beautiful flower

beauty

a sad experience

a sad experience

loving experience

a loving experience

an engaging experience

an engaging experience

a beautiful experience

a beautiful experience

…these are just a few of my favourites – you can see more on my Instagram account: http://instagram.com/tabras {shameless plug – I know!}. I intend to continue to share one photo per day throughout 2014 as well, even though my “year of adventure” is over and I’m “back to reality”, as such. Who says we can’t play with reality and enjoy what we do? 😉

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I want to make pretty things…

That’s what I want to do. I want to make pretty things. Pretty things like beautiful prose, lovely jewellery, and cute teddy bears to warm people’s hearts. I used to be so creative with my life – making things, designing rooms, painting pictures – but I’ve lost myself in the “corporate” world where there is only pressure to perform, to get to the next level, to do even better than before. I’m lost because I lost time to be creative and if I had the time, I had lost the energy to let my mind be creative. I love my “corporate” work, but I miss being creative. I miss making pretty things – I want to make pretty things again.

This year I have a chance to change my life; I have a chance to make pretty things. If I make pretty things and I work out how I can make it part of my life, I think this year is a win. But I haven’t made progress just yet; I have pretty things to be made – I just have lost my time a little with the rush and urgency of surviving here. I want to reclaim time to make pretty things and stop “wasting” time doing those things that suck my time and energy but don’t produce what I want them to produce.

I guess this is kind of a reorienting idea; I want to do my life differently and change what I do. If I want to leave the “corporate” world, then I need to make this year count and I need to use my time more wisely. I want to reinvigorate my passion for creation and for making pretty things. I want to reclaim what my soul is and what it desires to be. I want to become more of me.

Cluj Botanic Gardens: Pretty things

A clean slate.

The Question: What would you be more of if you let go of the past?

I’m trying this one. I want to work out what is holding me back from my potential. I know I can do this and I know I can do it well. But something stops me. Continually. There’s moments when I can say “Well, just do it already!” and I will start to do it. Then I get distracted or have to do something else that cannot wait. Then I lose the thread again. I look for it everywhere, but to no avail. So what is really holding me back?

This burning question has been burning in me for a while now. I keep coming back to “…but there’s nothing in my past that’s holding me back! I have no regrets and I love who I am, and how I have come to be!” But something is holding me back. Two weeks ago, I think I found out what it might be. It might be fear of success. That’s right – fear of success, not failure. This realisation made me start to think again. Am I fearful of success? What happened after the last time I was truly successful? Let me tell you. I burned out. I crashed. I couldn’t do what they asked (and expected) of me. I bombed out so hard that it’s taken me at least a year to recover. (Yes, a year is not that long, but in my life, it’s painfully long. Let me digress for a moment. Imagine being separated from your loved one for an entire year because some government official wrote a silly sentence that meant that everything was not “safe” anymore despite the world around them being safer than ever before. It’s like weather forecasters who don’t look out the window to see the sunshiny beautiful day, but would rather imagine the rain and create the sounds of the rain. Being separated because of one person’s introverted, convoluted view on the situation. Frustrating. It’s like that.)

So, if I look back into my past and see that I have a fear of success and this is holding me back, what can I do to make this change? What would I be more of now if I let that go? What would I be more of?

I would be more of:

  • joyfulness in writing
  • happiness in living
  • confidence in understanding
  • security in loving
  • success in being me.

Not a long list; a long list would not be my reality. I am happy with who I am; I have no regrets; my life has shaped me in ways that I don’t always understand or appreciate at the time, but I love it now. If not for my past, then I would not be who I am today. I love who I am and who I am becoming. For now, though, it’s time for me to face my fear of success. And just succeed anyway.

Wishing on a star…

I wish for a lot of things in life, and I often get the ones that I really need… I wished for a good job: I got it; I wished for a ‘new start’ in life: I got a new job, a new location, a new start; I wished for love: I got it (even if it did hurt in the end); I’ve wished for so much that I’ve gotten… When you believe in yourself, it’s quite a powerful thing and you can get what you want – even if it’s not quite what you expected. But we’ve got to be careful not to be greedy because it can come back to you and bite you badly…

Anyway, here’s a short list of things that I’m wishing for right now:

  • Strength to continue at full tilt for another couple of weeks before burning out
  • Peace in the knowledge that I am on the right path in life
  • Health to become healthier every day
  • Confidence in myself to continually believe all that I do and want
  • Honesty, even when it is brutal

I have some of these, but I wish for them to be a continuous presence in my life. Of course, it’s only a short list, but from small starts come great things…

fear.less

what are we so afraid of sometimes? why do we baulk at opportunities that present themselves? why are we so scared to take on a new challenge? what makes us fear the unknown? oh how i wish i had the answers to these questions, but all i know is that i want to fear less and become a little more fearless… wouldn’t that be great – taking the chance when it presents itself; being prepared to lose it all because i think it’s the right thing to do; loving without conditions and without fear of losing… perhaps we need to look at some shining examples of humans being fearless – looking at the 80 year old man who still skis the most advanced courses because they’ve got the best powder (true story) – he travels all over the world to find the best powder and to be totally fearless regardless of those around him who tell him that he’s “too old” for that kind extreme sport now… he’s 80 and he’s still living his life to the fullest… he’s a kind of inspiration – never stop being who you want to be – nothing can stop you being who you want to be unless you allow yourself to be stopped… become fearless and fear.less… remember the 90s slogan “No Fear”? well, it’s time to make it real and turn it on!

let it begin!

So, after a reasonable absence from the blogosphere, I plan on coming back with a vengeance… A good one, though… A positive outlook is all that I need and I can do anything. That much, I know. When I get on a positive roll, then it all just flows like a raging river – the thoughts, the ideas, the concepts, the actions, the results – all there, all good, all positive… I’m ready to provide some kick-ass experiences for some very unsuspecting students… Just wait until they actually try to wrap their head around the new look, new feel, new mode of study – all completely interactive, completely engaging, completely immersing, completely authentic, and completely real… it’s going to blow minds and create quite a stir among the ‘traditional’ academics… but so be it – I am here to bring change and bring university learning into the 21st century… at least, that’s how i see my role here and how i want to see it… others see me as ‘that new upstart’, but i see that as such a powerful place to be – i can change it all because no one has any preconceptions about me and my style… bring it on, i say… bring it on!!!