Tag Archives: online portfolio

protagonist parting words

VOILA! Its done! (IT, being the online portfolio that I thought was an impossible task to accomplish 10 years and 30 days ago). It’s not entirely finished or polished – the site needs some major editing and design work – but I am never quite finished or polished myself so I would say that my online portfolio suits me well. At least now it lives and breathes in it’s own virtual space where anyone can scroll through and trace the path of my career if they so choose to. Go ahead – take a peak and see if you get as lost as I did while making it. www.bethbarbush.com

I had no idea that this month’s theme of “Logic and Order” would bring a literal tangible outcome along with so much heady self-reflection. I thought that somehow I would be asked to study up on the stock market, reading consumer reports or learning theoretical mathematics…. I have to say I am really relieved about escaping that this month.. but geez… staring through this microscope on my deepest and sincerest goals and ambitions past present and future is harder than any mathematical equation I’ve ever tried to figure out!

Diving in and dissecting my past, looking at what I’ve done, where I have been and who I have become was something I thought might happen with this project (but not so early on!). Just looking at my portfolio makes me a little tired, I’m not quite sure how I actually did all those things. It seems as if I have been running for a long time now – jumping from one project into another. Gabe was right – the most logical thing to do at this point was to stop, pause and reflect upon all of this.

Anita’s last unanswered wildcard question came to mind when resurfacing this flow of experiences and energy I had in my twenties,

“Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given yourself ten years ago?”

As I said before, I really would not have changed anything or made different decisions, but I would have told myself two things. First – ambition really is overrated. And second – there are more than a few ways to lead a successful and happy life.

I think we sometimes spend way too much time worrying about who or what we want to become rather than focusing on who we are and what we are doing and accomplishing in the present. This ambition I had about “being someone” or “being something” in retrospect is something I would have liked to let go of a bit sooner.  I use to spend a little too much time worrying about not making traditional decisions. From a very early age, I would wonder, “Why do I seem to want very different things than those around me?” “Are my tastes, thoughts and dreams wrong? Should I be doing something else that would make more money? Be more stable?”

Trusting myself more than the external influences around me, I found my way from one experience to the next.  It often felt like walking a tight rope though – constantly questioning myself and wondering if I would fall.  If I could only have sent this portfolio to my younger self to show her what she could do if she trusted herself without fear!

Luckily, I do have a strong will and instinct and have had the great support of my only real mentors (my friends and my mother).  I have never looked up to famous writers, artists, or public figures. I find public figures talented and interesting but have always been more inspired directly by the people in my immediate life. These mentors set extraordinary examples for me to follow. I grew up with a mother who raised two kids on her own, had her own craft shop, got her masters while working a full-time social service job and still budgeted time and money to take my brother and I on vacation. Gabe, my best friend of 17 years has been a successful screen writer, a movie accountant, Peace Corps volunteer, chocolate salesman, social worker, and now 3rd grader teacher.  Take a peak at the Players page on this website to see what other amazing people I have been lucky enough to have in my life. They all have also been great mentors to me in some way.

So… last logic lessons of the month:

Trust yourself. You know what’s right for you.

(and if feel you need a second opinion…)

Ask your mentors! They can only help you learn more about yourself and who you want to be! The amazing people in my life have really helped me thus far and are continuing to do so by helping me live out some incredible chapters.

7/31/13

Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about.

July: Wild Card

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This month’s topic seems a little different to me than the others. Probably by definition, order and logic are the opposite of dynamism and fun, often thought of as the antitheses of creativity, innovation, and artistic expression. Wait, Beth, why did you pick Gabe and me for this month again? Never mind, I have heard you say that you could use more order and logic in your life, but I’ve been wondering what you really want them to do for you.

For the record, what I said about order and logic being the opposite of innovation and creativity is not true. Creativity usually happens when someone has deep knowledge of her subject and combines ideas (particularly from different disciplines) in novel ways. If you didn’t have your background in community organizing, art programs, multimedia, and storytelling, it is hard to imagine you could have dreamt up this project. So it makes sense to include logic and order as a chapter in a project that is at least in part about creative purpose, your purpose. Using the tool of reflection, logic and order can play a role in helping you get at that purpose. Whereas Gabe has instructed you to bring some logic and order to your vita of experiences by organizing, evaluating, and communicating about your past, I will ask you to do some orderly reflection to create a logical framework that can inform your future.

Before I give you the wild card, though, let me just say that I know you are struggling on some level with the very heart of this project, which is complete transparency with whoever happens upon the pages you post. I think any sane person would. This project is a tremendous commitment in time, energy, and exposure. You are being more vulnerable than most of us would dare to be. But this is, I hope, part of the essence of why you are doing the project. It is only in honest, deep reflection that we are able to connect with ourselves and perhaps even with others. It is also my sense that reflection is where you are able to give back to the community that is supporting you in this process. To witness how you are growing, changing, and struggling makes this a human project worth sharing.

If you find yourself in need of inspiration regarding the power of vulnerability, watch this talk by storyteller-researcher Brené Brown. For even more inspiration, watch how conductor Benjamin Zander advises throwing up our hands when we stumble and shouting, “How fascinating!”

And so your wild card:

  1. First, reflect on your life experiences by answering the following questions (I credit my friend Vanessa Harris with devising these questions):
    1. Notice the patterns, what stands out loud and clear from all of your experiences? Not only what you did, but why you did it; what value(s) come through all of your choices/experiences?
    2. If you had to give up one of your past experiences, which would be the hardest to let go of and why?
    3. Who have been your mentors? What have they taught you?
    4. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given yourself five years ago? Can you imagine what type of advice you will wish that your future self would give you today?
    5. If you could try any other type of work for a month (assuming training and opportunity were present), what would it be?
    6. Then, take the following actions:
      1. Based on this reflection, choose a few symbols that could represent you and your portfolio.
      2. Create a poll using the free version of the software Poll Everywhere to allow the community to vote on the symbols you have chosen.
      3. After receiving this input, choose the symbol that you will add to your portfolio. Explain why you selected or rejected the symbol the community recommended for you.

Your culminating reflection on Living Chapters should include a beginning sketch of your vision for what you want to commit your energies to next. I ask that you pick something meaningful and concrete, even if it is a stretch. Following Ben Zander’s logic, if the big thing you are going for is your vision, then you can always move the goal posts closer together or further apart as needed.

This vision can relate to home or housing, relationships (person, plant, or animal), learning, projects, work, travel, health, or whatever. In other words, what can your past tell you (and us) about your future?  You’ve asked us to write twelve months for you, but that means you will be writing the thirteenth, right?

7/15/13

Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about.

Check out the Living Chapters facebook page to follow the growing pains and progress of the evolving online portfolio.

Visit the June Gallery for images and videos from the Body and Kinesthetic chapter.

logic and order

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Yesterday I opened up the July chapter sitting with my mother caught hostage in the emergency room of a hospital in Hershey PA.  The emergency had passed the night before, but we had been there for hours and hours stuck between her actually being admitted to the hospital or being able to go home.  As my mother noted many times, July 1 is the day when all new doctors start their residencies and the experienced ones have moved on, so there was nothing logical or orderly about our experience there.  (Word of advice: if you’re going to end up in the emergency room, don’t do it on July 1st) Anyway, To pass the time we read the new challenge and reminisced about all the crazy things I have done, and even laughed a bit about Gabe’s accurate descriptions of our old crappy apartments and weird roommates.

Logic and order was exactly what we were in need of yesterday and it is sometimes just the right remedy in an emergency or chaotic situation.  Reading Gabe’s sobering prescription was a good thing for both of us to focus on in the midst of a very emotional and disorderly experience.  Gabe, has always been able to successfully bring both humor and logic into any situation and scenario no matter how difficult it seems.  I will definitely learn from him this month.

My life has never been void of both positive as well as negative emotional, dramatic, and spontaneous adventures but both logic and order have always been a bit more elusive for me. I have to admit, I was really kind of worried about what I would be thrown into this month and if I would be able to make it happen after operating my entire adult life more on instinct and feeling rather than logic or order.

“How practical!” My mom complimented Gabe’s chapter idea.  Then she quickly followed with “But how the heck are you going to put 10+ years of experiences together in 4 weeks?”

Quickly his logical prescription was giving me a side effect of a mild panic attack. Hmmm… not sure, how am I going to take on one more technology challenge to my plate right now (with the Living Chapters blog and my new work project both vying for my Macbook’s attention). Can I somehow pull together and organize the last 10 years of my creative professional life in such a short period of time? I have always been too busy in the middle of one project to even think about the work or project that I just finished – and now look at me, I have put it off so long that it seems… overwhelming! It kind of amounts to looking at over 20 projects and through at least 10,000 images.  I thought organizing the work in a text only resume alone was hard! Ok time to take my own advice…

…in case of emergency, first – be creative, second – simplify things and of course next – ask for help

Can you help? (please!)

1. As a former photographer, community artist, story collector, and visual junkie. I am looking for a professional portfolio-hosting site that offers something more visually and stylistically appealing than mahara.com. Oh! And maybe something that a non-tech savvy person as myself can handle?  Do you have suggestions?

2. Do you have a personal portfolio that you would like to share that would inspire me? Something with unique design, layout, media etc.

3.  If you know me, have worked with me, or know my work in the past 10 years – could you share a program, story or project that you feel I should highlight? (post here or on Facebook)

Please share your ideas by posting here to the blog, on the LIving Chapters Facebook page or sending me a comment.

Thank you for your ideas!

Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about.

Visit the June Gallery for images and videos from the first chapter.