As a child I was instructed to practice. Practice penmanship. Practice mathematical timetables. Practice the conjugation of French verbs. And of course..and always - to practice the piano.
The purpose - was to perfect - my skill..my academic excellence..my ability. Practice had an end goal and destination all unto its own. Practice..and I would be rewarded. A pat on the head. A gold star. A good girl. Practice..and I would someday exceed and succeed. Never questioing the need to meet other's expectations..over my own.
And so it was...
Ironic - that here in middle life - I'm finding myself once again immersed in daily practice. Day after day..week after week..month after month..and now year after year. This time around - the practice is the end goal and destination. There is nowhere else to be. No need to exceed. No need to prove that I can. The prize - is in this pose...deeply embedded in the practice itself.
The concept was first introduced to me on my yoga mat. That simply showing up - no matter what..or where..or when - is enough. That the ultimate destination is in the right here and now. That the edge that we all seek - shifts and changes. That it's by returning and beginning each day new and once again - that we learn about ourselves. That we see. That we feel. That we trust. That we grow.
Although I've been passionate about photography since my teenage years - it wasn't until the busy-ness of raising kids and working loosened its grip - that I began to incorporate it into my daily life. As a personal challenge - I started my first blogger photoblog - posting a single image captured on that same day. Letting go of expectation..of the ideal weather...of the perfect moment - I picked up my camera anew and began observing and recording the world as I saw it thru my camera's lens.
That - was four years ago today. What became a 1-year (365-day) project..continued on into the second and then into the third after that. I moved my practice from the blogger platform to a pixelpost one..and then - more recently - to this.
Stretch and grow. The edge is continually changing. Writing has now become a part of my practice as well. My world has expanded..my vision. And now - to it - I've added words.
Practice is powerful. It is an art and a craft all unto itself. It commands a certain sense of discipline..conscious awareness..mindfulness. A meditation - of sorts. It - the practice itself - has been the ground from which I've grown..and from which I'll continue on from here.
Without any expectation..or direction..or known path - I just do. I roll out my mat. I pick up my camera. I fill the blank page with my words.
One thousand four hundred and sixty one images. The number both astounds and amazes me. That all this - grew and evolved out of nothing at all. Simply showing up. Simply doing it. No matter what..no matter where..no matter when. There are no rewards at the end..no promises made that need to be fulfilled. This - is all there is.
Where I'll go..where I'll grow from here - I don't know. I've now been lucky enough to exhibit in numerous local venues. I'm now represented by a renowned art gallery here in Boston. In the next year - I'm hoping to grow my online shoppe..offering my art - both in word and in image - to the world. And of course - I will continue to show up..to push and challenge. To expand and grow. To practice.
Thanks to all of you for your never-ending support and encouragement. Here's to another year..and maybe another after that.