Archive for the ‘Victoria’ Category

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Day 366 – Last Day of the Year

December 31, 2012

Holiday reading

 

“The aim of art is not to represent the outer reality of things, but the inner significance of things.” (Aristotle)

When I started this photo-project a year ago, I was looking for something creative, something challenging, something inspiring, something that would help me learn and grow. This project ended up being a crash-course in psychology, mindfulness, virtues, art of happiness, art of loving, the art of facing and overcoming one’s fears and anxieties, not to mention a course in photography.

Thank you to everyone who followed me along this project and everyone who inspired me to take better photos and read better books and be a better friend!

Happy New Year!

 

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Day 365 – Beach Drive, Victoria

December 29, 2012

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Day 363 – 2nd Day of Christmas

December 26, 2012

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Day 362 – Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2012

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Day 361 – Merry Christmas – cherry blossoms in Victoria!

December 24, 2012

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Day 2 – Mom’s cake for breakfast

January 2, 2012

What I like about this project is a new way of thinking about happiness. What many of us don’t know is that you don’t find happiness, you make it. You stage it, conceptualize it, imagine it, and once you can visualize it, you can think of ways to translate it into an image that can be photographed. It’s not something out there to be uncovered, it’s in you, in your imagination, so just imagine it.

The idea is that when you train yourself to think about happiness at least once a day, every day, you will be strengthening the happiness muscles by default and eventually it will become so natural that you won’t even have to think about, it will just be.

It’s about interpreting your own understanding of happiness, and seeing what it looks like, and trying to show others (if you care to). You may have a picture of a white ceiling because lying in bed under warm blankets on a cold day makes you very happy. Everyone has their own ideas of happiness, and I think sharing that glimpse into your personal relationship with what makes you happy is both incredibly brave and personal, but very moving and inspiring. That’s the reward for taking on the challenge.

 

“The meaning of life is found in the encounters of each and every moment. Although we need to have goals, if we aren’t acting playfully within each and every second of realizing our goals – if we think, while in the midst of living and struggling, that we have to wait until later to play – then we aren’t realizing the true value of life. … People who work from Monday to Friday often think they have to wait until the weekend to be happy. After five days of suffering through our work, we try to make up for that with two days of being happy – what kind of life is this? It isn’t about waiting for the future but about finding joy no matter where we are, no matter how difficult or miserable our circumstances. It is about living wholly and totally in each instant. … Our lives cannot be lived in a vague way. We have to keep our sight on each footstep and live fully and thoroughly in each second. Life isn’t about enduring pain every day and looking forward to something else that will come along later and far away. When each and every moment is true, when our goal is to have a deep worth to be complete, then in each and every moment we will find deep wonder and amazement and joy, and the value of life will be clear. We must hold this kind of life precious.” (“The Moon Is Me, Am the Moon” by Shodo Harada Roshi, from his new book, Moon by the Window (pp.56-63) in Buddhadharma, Winter 2011, p.61.)

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Happy first day of the year!

January 1, 2012

366 Days of Happiness

Day 1

How do you capture happiness, both visually and conceptually? Every day. For one year. How do you photograph it? What does it look like?

When you type “happiness” into Google images, you get a lot of smiley faces and laughing children, sunsets and flowers, and people jumping up for joy. These are the universal symbols signifying joy and happiness.

But happiness is very subjective. And that makes this project interesting. It’s not just about communicating a particular notion of happiness visually or verbally, but witnessing this notion filtered through someone’s consciousness, one point of view, one lens, one personal glimpse of what happiness means to us, what the world means to us. The challenge is to be honest and brave enough to share that personal vision.

But the biggest challenge of this project will be to keep it from becoming repetitive, cliché, and kitsch. The goal is to keep it meaningful, every day, and hopefully inspiring. That is quite the challenge. But a great one! It’s also very empowering – knowing that you can cultivate and share happiness just with a click of a camera.

Happy first day of the year!

 

Day 1 – My baby nephew likes to cuddle. He’s not quite two months old, but he’s growing and learning every day. He learned how to smile in response to someone smiling at him right around Christmas. He is not fully in control of his emotions yet, and cannot smile on demand (for the camera), but he can smile when he is happy. Usually when he is fed, and dry, and cuddling with someone. It’s so simple. So honest. So genuine.

Looking back over last year, I realized I had my heart broken every month, and sometimes more than once a month that year.  It could easily be written off as the worst year ever, but a lot of good things happened as well (book, travel, loving friends, supportive family). Spending quality time with my family and friends, and with my nephew, reminded me how simple happiness can be. No emotional manipulations and self-centered ego boosts, no race to score or win at the expense of someone else’s well-being, no power games, no shaming of others, no projections of one’s own fears and insecurities. Just love, support, understanding, comfort, smiles, and cuddles.

This is what happiness looks like today. Thank you, baby muffin!