Protagonist parting words

photo-19IMG_3501

I’ve been spending time (as requested by my wild card this month) reflecting on what I have learned about “me” through the Living Chapters project. I feel like I have learned many universal lessons but what do I now know about me? It felt kind of like an awkward research project reading back through my blog posts from the past year.  Did I really compartmentalize my experiences through an online public journal? Could I glean any understanding from reading where I started and comparing it to where I am currently? Would the clues from my own written advice unveil my overall sense of purpose or where I may head next?

A year ago I set the below intentions as my purpose for Living Chapters.

“Living Chapters is a process I have created to help achieve the goal of letting go.  I see it as an experiment or a performance of sorts, playing out, witnessing and examining this art form that we live and breathe each day.  It’s a chance to live out different plot twists and directions that I may have never chosen or found alone. An exercise in trust and collaboration and an uncommon chance to reflect on the decisions we make when faced with change, challenge, and discomfort.  It is a rare opportunity and moment in my life that I am able to devote this period of time to the observation of what can be learned if we decide to let go of the reins we hold so tightly over our lives.”

I wanted to take risks, seek personal growth and “say yes to what life threw at me”. I wanted to “find new ways of becoming a better person for myself and to others” and “explore how our personal and online networks of family and friends can assist us in the process of improving ourselves.”

I wish I could say that I have come up with a beautiful visual or poetic way to present what I’ve learned thus far as wild card Myra asked for. Unfortunately I have not been able to cohesively bring all that has happened together yet. Fortunately I have one month left to reflect upon the content I collected and will hopefully be able to bring it into a focused image. Or maybe I won’t understand what was learned at all until I am asked to utilize and engage with the lessons first hand as my upcoming chapters unfold? I am not sure.

I will however leave you with my first set of ideas in list form (I warn you – the lists are long and growing every time I return to them). Looking through the below lists – I realize that much of the lessons and revelations learned are facets and facts that I’ve known about myself for a long time. Doing this project publicly and visually is just what it took for me to mindfully recognize them within me again. The question now is, “how will I continue to be mindful using these lessons with each new chapter I embark upon?”

With still a full month to follow through on with this project, I am not yet ready to determine any ultimate conclusion or illumination on what was and what was not accomplished. I am hoping that June will give me the time to do so and give me any last pushes that will keep me moving forward toward my next steps.

What I learned about myself:

  • I hold strong passions and have often let them lead the direction of my life
  • I have resisted cardio exercise my whole life and do not enjoy it
  • I need to have a good amount of sleep to function
  • Taking care of my body helps my mind
  • I want to be more mindful of my health and include more movement
  • I love yoga (aerial yoga!!)
  • I love walking (and for lengths of time)
  • I love dancing
  • I love making music and singing
  • Following personal purpose is very important – staying on my path/not others
  • Connections and relationships are #1 priority for me
  • Images, color and symbols help me communicate and translate ways of thinking
  • Focus is something I struggle with the most and would like to develop
  • Discipline, Diligence are also traits that I feel I would like to improve upon
  • I have used stories as a tool to create connections
  • I have used images as a tool to create connections
  • My past path is rich and will influence my future path and decisions
  • My greatest advocacy tool is listening to others, creating spaces for sharing voice
  • I believe in asking for and sharing ideas rather than telling and teaching ideas
  • I learn by doing, seeing or experiencing more than reading or researching
  • I crave structure and routine in the form of personal mindful practice
  • I also resist structure and routine and create something new through my resistance
  • My physical environment affects my sense of home greatly
  • I believe that choice of place to be or live will affect my lifestyle – a choice of place = a choice of lifestyle.
  • My community is not defined as the place I live. It is my circle of strong connections that I can reach on a daily basis.
  • Meditation builds a mindful practice of making purposeful choices and actions
  • Meditation benefits my physical body and sleep patterns
  • Meditation has opened up a spiritual practice for me
  • Mediation calms my mind
  • Mediation helps me live in the moment and helps with focus
  • I still do not know how to meditate
  • I am too damn serious
  • I desire more laughter on a day-to-day basis
  • I meditate while doing dishes and laundry
  • I am not a religious person
  • I am a spiritual person
  • I don’t believe in one God
  • I also don’t believe that God doesn’t exist
  • I don’t think there is a meaning of life
  • I think there is meaning in the way we live life
  • The only control I have is to define my own space/place/reactions/mindset
  • Letting go of external issues/ideas/demands/expectations is necessary to find or fulfill my inner issues/ideas/demands/expectations
  • Being open to new opportunities and chapter suggestions (guidance from others) has allowed for change and growth
  • Listening to my own inner suggestions has created the direction for the change and growth
  • I am now more interested in facilitating creation and connection than creating objects
  • I now will write to express myself instead of immediately making a photograph or an art object
  • My best communication is through personal letters
  • I love objects that hold stories
  • I love being alone and in silence
  • I love being with others in silence
  • I love sharing with groups of people
  • I surround myself with creative active and motivated people to sustain myself
  • I am not myself if I am not creating
  • I am still me if I have given away my creations or objects
  • Breaking attachments to (things people places) makes me feel free and fluid
  • Creating connections with (things people places) makes me feel alive
  • I love to be heard as well as listening.
  • Recording my story is important to me
  • I love being interviewed
  • I love being on the radio
  • I love editing audio
  • I love connecting with strangers
  • I can speak in public without freezing up. I would like to get better at doing this and want to work on this!
  • My work revolves around encouraging others to create, connect, listen, share themselves
  • I am adaptable to almost anything…
  • I navigate through life using the tools of photography, writing
  • I learn most when reflecting my experience with another through conversation
  • I make photographs when I feel lost
  • Clean spaces and color affect my mood
  • Being active clears my mind lifts depression
  • Routine and structure create a sense of home for me
  • Letting go of my ego is strengthening my relationships with others – bringing me closer to them
  • Transformation/change in my thinking patterns is helping me learn and move forward
  • Letting go of what I think I know is helping me understand who I am and what I truly feel

universal lessons:

  • Simplify life – less is more
  • Take things one step one day at a time
  • Setting measurable goals leads to more achievable goals
  • Listen internally first before listening to external sources
  • Listen to the physical body and feelings equally or more than thoughts and cerebral tendencies
  • Loyalty as accountability loyalty teaches discipline
  • Address and learn from resistance
  • Adding fun to things we resist can dissolve resistance
  • Practicing mindfulness allows improvements to come naturally
  • Letting go of surface appearances (what others perceive) helps with letting go of fears/anxiety
  • Learning from the past helps to plan the future
  • Exploring balance in all aspects of life (in food, exercise, finances) benefits each area (physically, mentally, spiritually)
  • Being comfortable with the unknown is the most important step in letting go
  • Focus on the journey/process is more important than any outcome object or destination. (the meaning is in the making)
  • Detachment is an important exercise to practice regularly
  • Allowing myself to feel lost leads to greater clarity on what I understand, believe and where I want to go
  • Giving my time to others is the most generous gift I have to give
  • Letting go of ego is not the same thing as letting go of confidence and self-worth

 

5/30/2014

Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading and your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s