perspective

Artistry

Capturing the beauty of a person, place or thing via a photo is amazing. I personally love looking at photos as well as taking them. Capturing true artistry in photos is another level of wow.

Recently I looked at some photos and noted the true artistry within the photos. The way an object was captured. The lighting. The magnification. The placement of surrounding items. The background. The fine details. They all collided.

I saw vision. I saw clarity. I saw depth. I understood the artistry of the photo. It didn’t happen just once. It involved multiple amazing shots. What I learned was how so many enjoy photography for not only its beauty but for its depth and artistry. For some a hobby. For others a professional career. For some it’s just capturing moments in time.

The ability to look through a lens and paint a picture for others who may not be able to live the moment. Through a camera lens one can allow others to share in the beauty of the person, place or thing. Sharing their artistry one photo at a time.

What I like to do is let my mind drift or wander through photos, through life, through experiences. How can I see the artistry of life through another lens. Maybe a picture. Maybe a painting. Maybe another’s eyes.

Oh the journeys we can take if we immerse ourselves in the beauty of the environment and allow artistry a chance. Look beyond the ordinary of today. The mundane of today.

Find the beauty of a fall leaf. The color in a butterfly’s wings. See if you can look at the beauty of your environment through a different lens. You may have looked at the same window view a thousand times and never see the glimmer of light that has hit a flower in a magical light at a certain hour each day. However the camera lens may have caught it. Another’s view of your ordinary.

There is a beauty in the lens of others. An artistry of life that can be observed by others when they are free in mind and spirit to enjoy. Soak in the beauty of today vs. the worries of tomorrow. 

We can all look at things in life and cast shadows or doubts. We can all look at the same things in life to see beauty. Choose wisely. Life doesn’t last forever.

healthy hacks

Same But Different

I was on a podcast kick for a while. Then, as it happens with many things, I got burnt out on it. Many of them started to get repetitive. Still, I do a lot of driving and sometimes music doesn’t cut it. If there isn’t anyone to talk to, a podcast is worth a try.

I thought I would try to freshen up my podcast listening library. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health lately…my own mental health as well as the mental health of my friends, my students, my family, even society at large. So Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast seemed worth a shot by name alone.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span is shorter these days than it used to be…or at least it feels that way. Maybe it’s covid fatigue. Who knows. So short little tips are much more useful to me than long drawn-out explanations.

The happiness tip / healthy hack she gave at the beginning of the podcast was to do something familiar in a new way. Novelty amuses the human brain. We like to do new things. So doing something we already enjoy and adding a twist can light up the happiness spots in our brain. The hosts mention doing familiar activities at different times of day or with different people (or alone.) So go on a hike in the afternoon instead of the morning. Or go to a restaurant by yourself instead of with family. Change it up.

This seems both more challenging and more necessary during the pandemic. So many of us are very closed in, even locked down, to routines and schedules. I feel the doldrums of routines at work and even at home to some extent. For me, it might be riding my bike outside in the afternoon instead of the stationary bike at the gym in the early morning. Maybe have a hot drink in the afternoon instead of just the morning. A different scent of candle of lotion? Extra walk in the evening? Breakfast for dinner? Who knows. Take a new trail. I’ve often heard that changing up our routines can keep our brains nimble. Maybe this is a related perk.

What are some things you can do that are the same but different? What happiness hacks do you use in these challenging times? Share in the comments.

dare to be different

Growth

This year I grew a lot. I physically grew a lot when I added that extra Corona cooped-up-all-day poundage. I grew emotionally when I battled the loss of many loved ones in isolation amidst a pandemic. I grew socially by deepening my connections with those around me. It was a growth year for me overall.

Growth doesn’t have to always do with money or wealth to define success. Growth happens in many stages of your life when you are most vulnerable. It’s the sweet spot of vulnerability that allows for the biggest growth to happen in my mind.

An area I challenged myself to grow this year was unlikely. Many shook their head in wonder, disbelief or just a bit of a why attitude. That’s okay. Let others wonder and watch while I grow. While I grow in many ways.

As my mindset shifts so do my priorities. As kids age, time frees up, and exploration begins. The mature adult in me gets to try to conquer new things that may have been out of reach with kids in tow or otherwise.

My future is bright for many reasons but one area I’m most excited about is growth. Look for future posts on growing from nothing to something. From something to big things. I am for sure a visionary. Hope you stay tuned for my growing tales.

It’s also a good sidebar note – when you grow others may notice. It may ignite a spark in them to level up. It could be your child. Your coworker. Your friend. Anyone observing from a distance. Growth can be infectious.

healthy hacks

The Extra Weight

It was Amazon Prime day. I had been thinking about purchasing a weighted blanket. The price was right. I took the plunge. Was it worth it?

First, the box was heavy. It was a weighted blanket inside the package. Why wouldn’t it be? Nothing fancy from the aesthetic side but functional and purposeful….we shall see.

Night one. It’s heavy! It’s heavy on my body. Maybe a bit of a smothering feeling. Almost seemed like it would be so much extra effort to get up and go to the restroom.

Night two. I knew what to expect now. Today it was hot. Come winter that will be good but today was a warmer fall day so it didn’t have me jumping for joy.

Day three: the real question was did I sleep better? I don’t know is the answer. I don’t have an issue sleeping so it was in/out just like normal.

Day four: I was sore from my workouts. Going to bed was an extra effort. Lifting that extra weight seemed daunting but I did it. That extra weight seemed to diminish the aches or soften it a bit. Off I went to lala land.

Day five: I had to travel. A hotel was in the mix. I noted I missed my weighted blanket. It could have been the newness of it but I missed it. Obviously I’m not going to travel with my weighted blanket so I’ll have to wait a few days to get back in the comfort flow with it.

The verdict is: I’d say give it a try if you have been considering a weighted blanket. Your results may be more spectacular than mine. I could see it being a benefit if you are stressed and need that weight to calm you or if you struggle winding down it could definitely help you get settled due to the weight alone.

My package said it’s like getting a giant hug. With so much physical distancing these days maybe you need one just for that hug option.  Just another weight post for you think on.

dare to be different

52 pickup

When I was a kid, I was one of those gullible types. (Ok, I still am, but that’s a different post). My older brothers enjoyed playing tricks on me. “Wanna play cards?” Of course, as the youngest, I always wanted to be invited to play by the older kids.

“Sure!” I replied.

“How about 52 pickup?”

“How do you play?”

Suddenly the whole deck of cards was thrown in the air. Jacks, deuces, aces all fluttering to the ground. “Thats 52 cards, now pick them up!” they’d say, laughing as they walked away.

And with a frown like a sad clown, I did.

Fast forward to adulting. Life is full of chores, duties, commitments. Most days are full of them.

For me, chores tend to become routines.

Grocery shopping Saturday. Meal prep Sunday morning. Cleaning Sunday afternoon.

Even little things have their routines. Every night when I get home I set up the coffee pot for the next day and either set out my gym / work clothes or pack my gym bag before I settle down.

Sometimes it’s almost like a challenge: Laundry goes in first thing when I get home from work on Friday. The challenge? I have to have all my clothes hung to dry by the time I leave for my gym class on Saturday morning. I have to stay alert to get this one done while I’m tired.

Edit the week’s blog posts on Sunday afternoon / evening so “publish” is all that’s left during a busy week.

At times, even my fitness routines become a part of it. 5:30 am CrossFit basically every day for a year. Before that it was working out after work. For a while it was run a 5k after work every Friday. 10 mile bike every Sunday morning.

For many parts of my life, I like routines. I like predictability. It keeps me on track. I get things done. When my meals for the week are packed and in the refrigerator Sunday afternoon, I feel calm and prepared.

Life isn’t stationary. Even in writing this I can see there are routines in my life that have come and gone. Commitments on Sunday afternoons shift cleaning to another slot on the weekly calendar. Waiting at sports practice provides opportunity for exercise of different times and types. Life keeps evolving and I shift and change and adapt. Small changes, small adjustments. What is important still usually gets done one way or another.

Once in a while life is more like a big brother and just asks you to play.

Next thing you know all your routines and commitments are tossed in the air and you get to pick them up, reassemble them into some sort of deck to play with. Chores to shuffle, meals to make, work to be done. But this time I was the one who tossed it all, and by choice.

Joys of weekend farm life shift Sunday’s chores further back. Editing blog posts later weekday evenings. Exercise as early in the morning as possible, sometimes at home. Laundry on Wednesdays and Sundays. Grocery shopping on Thursdays. Those cards are still the same, just shuffled differently.

Then there are the new cards. Furnishing a house. Farm chores. Helping run a new business. And don’t forget a couple of growing volunteer commitments, too. Some of these are wild cards, but they keep the game exciting.

I’m not usually one to gamble, but this new shuffle is keeping me on my toes. Learning, growing, creating a hand I’d bet on in spades.