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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(not atypical) conversation with myself

Swan in Ireland 2003Me 1: So, how do you feel today?
Me 2: I don’t know – I had a good day and yet a feel a bit down because it’s not quite going as planned. I don’t know why – I want to let it flow but I also want to push it.
Me 1: Just let it flow – they are the ones who will lose out if they say no. You know better than to push it. Look at what happened on Friday! And now how is that affecting what happened today?
Me 2: I know, I know. I know better; I really do. You know I just to get it all organized! But I know I need some patience.
Me 1: So, did you notice the sky today? And how the clouds were playing with each other?
Me 2: I did – actually, I wanted to lay down on the grass outside and just watch them float by. But, as you know, we were busy, and now it’s night and all we can see are the millions of stars.
Me 1: That’s right! You need to go outside and look at the stars and remember how amazing this planet is and how amazing it is that we are alive.
Me 2: Yeah, I should. But my eyes are tired tonight. They are sore and I think it’s because I used a different cream on them.
Me 1: I know – and you know better. This has happened before but you didn’t take notice. Now you can’t finish the work that you need to do. Look at yourself – you’re squinting at the screen as you write this!
Me 2: Argh! How do you know me so well? How can you see what I’m doing and know what I shouldn’t be doing?
Me 1: Because we are the same. You know this. We are just two voices in the same mind having a conversation. We are like two sides of the same coin, you and me.
Me 2: I know, but sometimes I feel like I’m the poor cousin to you – you know the “better” ways and the “better” ideas and all that. I’m the complaining one; the silly one; the selfish, self-centred one. It’s awkward sometimes…
Me 1: We are the same; we have one heart, one mind, one body, one soul. We are just different views of the one being.
Me 2: But it’s hard to accept – it feels like we are different people at times. Kind of schizophrenic or something. Maybe we need to stop playing this game of “same same but different” and just join forces so we can rock this world.
Me 1: I agree! Joining forces would be the best – then we will be in sync more and not feel so torn. 🙂

*insert loving hug here*

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.

redefining the landscape

The landscape within. Redefining the landscape within.

It’s time – there’s no doubt about it. While my inner landscape has been undergoing renovations over the past few years, I haven’t considered a complete redefinition. Yet. But I think it’s time. The renovations have been moving along quite well, but it still has the same basic landscape – just some different colours or pictures on the walls or hobbies to keep the mind occupied. So, I think it’s time to consider a complete redefintion.

Redefine = give a new or different definition to

I will redefine the landscape within so that I can become more comfortable with what I am becoming; so that I can fit into my new skin more easily. It’s difficult to fit into something that doesn’t fit anymore – it’s time to redefine so it fits more appropriately. This doesn’t mean that I’ll throw away the renovations and start again – some of the renovations have been quite good. Some could use a colour change, but the general gist of them has been positive and worth pursuing. Maybe part of the redefinition can be an adaptation to include the different renovation areas where they sit naturally – an expansion of sorts – perhaps even an unlimited space to grow and be. Perhaps I will focus on the process of redefinition rather than the end result – this might be the way that will best allow a full exploration of what the redefined landscape might enable.

So where do I start with it all? I’ve got the idea – but where to start, where to start… Maybe it’s better if I don’t define where to start and just let it happen organically. Once I put the idea into the universe, I know that it will begin to take shape in the way that it’s meant to be – the way I need it to be – the way that’s right for me. So, here goes…

redefine

time, space, creativity, freedom… what are these?

oh dear me… this time it’s getting complicated and i’m not sure how to deal with it… so i’m not… at least not now… not when i have six days until i leave and then i don’t have to think about it for five weeks… all i really know is that i need space… i need time… i need to rediscover my creative mojo… i need more freedom to be me… i need this in both my personal life and my professional life… i need balance… but is balance ever really possible? i mean, everyone talks about it, but i don’t really see many people who have that balance… so how can i find that balance? i think i need time out for me… last time i took time out for me, i changed my world… and i may need to do that again now…

where has it all gone now? i used to have a good grasp on what was important to me – a good grasp on what it meant to be me… now i seem all out of balance – out of kilter – out of everything… i want to find that happy place again… it’s been suggested that i need to do something like yoga or relaxation or meditation or something similar… i agree… but when do i find the time if i want to keep my job? where do i find the energy if i want to sleep more than five hours a day? where do i find it?

i need to find it in myself… i need to work on allowing myself the room to be imperfect and to not finish everything… the time to breathe… the space to breathe… when i breathe, i can feel the creativity flowing through me… i can feel the freedom within myself to be who i want to be… i can do all of this without leaving wherever i am… i can do it all within myself, through myself, and by myself… i need to allow myself to be imperfect… i need to allow myself to say no… i need to allow myself to relax… i need to allow myself to be me…