Contemplative Photography & Reflections

Honoring the Old, Embracing the New

In my last blog post, I wrote about how I intend to cultivate kindness in the New Year through a random acts of kindness challenge. That’s my New Year’s resolution in a nutshell. There have been many years when I have made New Year’s resolutions to fix myself in some way. However, I don’t recall ever being particularly successful with the usual diet-and-exercise resolutions at this time of year. Last year, I took a different approach that proved wildly successful: I focused on something a bit more fun – something I wanted to cultivate, rather than remove from, my life.

For 2012, I took on a “photo-a-day” challenge. The idea was to take a photo every day of something that made some kind of impression on me – something I noticed or found lovely. It went hand-in-hand with the gratitude practice I had begun years ago. In fact, at some point during the year, my iPhoto library had essentially become my gratitude journal!

To make a long story short, taking one photo a day mushroomed into a new passion for photography and a heightened state of mindfulness and gratitude. In January and February, I pretty much took only one photo a day. However, by mid-March the whole experiment took on a life of its own, and it was not unusual for me to capture between 100 and 250 images a day! By July, I decided it was time to upgrade my gear and buy my first “real” camera – which, of course, I had to learn to use. That was my big project during summer vacation. And then this blog was born.

After a year of noticing and photographing, I feel so much more aware of my surroundings than I was a year ago. It’s pretty amazing! My work life has been quite challenging this year to say the least, and the more frustrated and overwhelmed I felt, the more I looked for beauty. Connecting with something in the natural world helped me to let go of what was bothering me and filled me with a sense of peace and stillness that helped me to consider the challenges from a wider perspective.

And so, this year I am excited to take on the kindness project!

I created a video compilation of my 366 photos from 2012. In the beginning months, I didn’t have many photos from which to choose. By spring, it was daunting to select one photo for the whole day! The video is organized chronologically and moves quickly. It is pretty neat to travel through the seasons of a full year in 12 minutes! I hope you will enjoy. (Please view it in 720 HD for best quality!)

Email subscribers: Click here to view the video: 2012 Photo-a-Day Project

In past years, I have celebrated New Year’s Eve by writing down what I wanted to let go of and then watching the paper burn in a fire. That was powerful and served its purpose. I love the letting-go rituals of the Loi Krathong festival in Thailand that involve casting off little boats or releasing lanterns into the sky. There is also an idea circulating on the Internet that involves writing down happy moments as they happen throughout the year and putting them in a jar. On New Year’s Eve, you take each of the slips out of the jar and remember the good times. There are so many wonderful, meaningful ways to honor the old and embrace the new!

Whatever you envision for the New Year, I wish you many blessings!

Happy New Year!

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© Susan Meyer and River Bliss, 2012-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss (www.riverblissed.blogspot.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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