December 31, 2015

Gratitude






December 31, 2015 {365/365} 

Today, I complete my third consecutive Project 365: 
Three years, one thousand ninty-five images 
(plus companion photos and numerous unpublished attempts). 

At the end, there is a sigh of relief and an anxious anticipation of what's next. Each year, I wonder if I should continue with a photo every single day. What about a Project 52? Should my photos continue to be random images that inspire or intrigue me each day? Should I participate in an organized Photo-a-day challenge? Should I create my own challenge like last year? Should I continue find inspiration in literature and write reflections to enhance the meaning of my photos or should I let the images speak for themselves?

As I searched for inspiration today, I watched Louie Schwartzberg's TED Talk Nature, Beauty, Gratitude. His beautiful words and images are the perfect reminder of why I began my project:
  • Nature's beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude. It opens our hearts, and makes us realize we are a part of nature and we're not separate from it. When we see ourselves in nature, it also connects us to every one of us, because it's clear that it's all connected in one.
  • When people see images, a lot of times they'll say, "Oh my God." Have you ever wondered what that meant? The "oh" means it caught your attention, makes you present, makes you mindful. The "my" means it connects with something deep inside your soul. It creates a gateway for your inner voice to rise up and be heard. And "God"? God is that personal journey we all want to be on, to be inspired, to feel like we're connected to a universe that celebrates life.
  • You think this is just another day in your life? It's not just another day. It's the one day that is given to you today. It's given to you. It's a gift. It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness. If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
  • And so I wish you that you will open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day. 


So,  I've decided to keep going -- to continue to be present each day and to capture what inspires me without restrictions. I will be mindful of my purpose for starting my Project 365 three years ago and will try not to impose restrictions that may interfere with creativity and gratitude for the gift of each new day. Cheers to 2016.