18 February 2014

I dare you to reach out

En route to Corcovado National Park. Its a tough hike but I had incredible company and we got each other through.

Although I don't believe we should ever place our emotional happiness entirely in the hands of other people, I think its fair to say that having amazing people in your life can completely change it. I also believe that the people around us shape us and influence us in a myriad of ways - some of which we don't really notice or understand. There a million different articles out there telling us how to get rid of 'toxic friendships' or gently ease 'the negative friend' out of our lives, but I don't think I've ever seen anything that tells you how to hang on to the good ones.

Some of the best advice I've ever been given is that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or to stay (the wise words of my mother, of course).  Friendship, like so many things in our lives can be transient and fleeting. Sometimes this is okay, and sometimes its not. Sometimes the circumstances are beyond our control, but sometimes they're not. Friendship requires effort on both sides, and I think we can all be a little bit guilty of forgetting that sometimes.  I recently finished reading 'The Flinch' and there were a couple of sentences in there that really resonated with me.

"Go through old text messages to rekindle dormant friendships. It can be awkward, but that's the point. You will make an impact by choosing to do what makes others nervous"

So I did. I spent this evening texting and emailing people I haven't spoken to in a while, people that I never really wanted to lose touch with but kind of did anyway. It was awkward. Of course it was. When you haven't spoken to someone in 9 months it feels a bit odd to just email them and say hi - but what do you really have to lose? When you compare it to what you could gain its a bit of a no-brainer.

So I dare you. I dare you to go through your Facebook friends, your email addresses, your phone or your address book - say hi to an old friend and see where it goes. Reach out. Make the effort. Let someone know that they matter to you.

16 February 2014

a creative challenge

Winter has this tendency to send my photography into hibernation. Its not a conscious decision, but somewhere around Christmas I usually notice I haven't picked up my camera in a while. I then make an effort for Christmas and tail off again until the days start getting a little longer. I blame it on so many different things - lack of light, the absence of leaves (seriously, I just don't think trees look the same when they're naked), the non-compatibility of gloves and a camera - but in reality these are all just excuses. I find summer photography easy, it comes naturally. I'm a summer girl, I love warm weather and blue skies, 4am when the sun is streaming through the windows and 10pm when the light is finally starting to fade. Bare feet, bare legs and the way the woods look when they're full of sunshine.

Staying inspired when I'm not particularly inspired is a little bit more difficult, but its good for me. I think its good for us to push ourselves creatively, to explore out of our comfort zone and lose that fear of producing 'bad' work while we learn new things. Its easy to stick with what you know and what you're good at, but what good does that really do us? To be honest, it doesn't, not at all. It encourages us to be lazy and stick with whats always worked rather than trying out different ways of approaching things.

I don't want to be lazy. I want to learn, and grow, and change. As an artist, as a photographer and as a person - I think its important. I've always shied away from photography challenges before, using the excuse that you can't 'force' these things. To an extent I still feel that way, but I also believe there is a big difference between forcing yourself to do something and challenging yourself to do something. So I'm challenging myself, to a picture - every single day until the official start of the summer. (That's June 21st in case you were wondering...). I'm also challenging myself to share a picture, every day, until the start of the summer. Taking a picture will be the easy part, but sharing it? Not so much. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I'm not comfortable with sharing things that I'm not proud of.

But sharing publicly will keep me accountable, and I think I need that. So I'll be posting on Instagram and tagging things #wintermojo (original, right?), if you want to join in then I'd love that & I'll be stalking keeping an eye on the tag just to see whats going on. I'm pretty excited about this.

09 February 2014

thriving in January

Thriving in January was many things, but if I had to sum it up it was about making the effort to replace comfortable with good. It was setting an alarm for 6:20 on weekdays to work out before work. Sleeping in is comfortable, but fitting in half an hour of movement? That's good. It was putting Zak in the car and driving somewhere different just to take photo's. Chucking my wellies on and walking him in the woods behind the house is comfortable, but making the extra effort to spend a little bit of time behind the lens? That's good. It was pushing myself to change my nightly routine so that I'm reading before I go to sleep rather than mindlessly browsing Pinterest or getting frustrated by Candy Crush (I'm a little bit addicted). Lying in bed with an electronic device in my hand is comfortable, but getting lost in a good book? That's good. It was trying to get back into the habit of writing, and photography, starting to tackle some of the bigger projects on my list and checking off some of the things that have been on a 'to do' list for ages.

It wasn't at all about less. It was all about more. More of the things that make me feel alive, inspired, productive and happy. Living intentionally, not comfortably. 
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