In the last several years, I’ve slowly shifted away from making resolutions for New Year’s Eve. Instead, I’ve turned my heart and attention to seeking a word. A mantra.
I’ve let it come to me slowly and on its own terms. Some years I’ve anxiously worried it wouldn’t land at all. Inevitably, it arrives as a whisper in the quiet spaces of my day. It takes root and I can’t shake it from my mind.
I’ve experienced and witnessed such tremendous loss in the last eighteen months. I’ve felt shaken to the core and hollowed out. Also, there’s been incredible joy and love. I’ve been surrounded by the kindest souls and I’m grateful for the sunrise. My word for 2018 is Gentle.
Although I’m good at extending great kindness and patience with others, I’m relentlessly critical of myself in all things. This extends to my photography. For many years, I believed the self criticism made me a better photographer, but I know better now. Practice makes me a better photographer. Paying attention makes me a better photographer…and cook, mother, friend, wife, daughter, etc. When I catch the harsh voice rising now, I whisper: gentle, gentle, gentle.
Somewhere recently I read the following: Be unspeakably kind. Be kinder than you need to be. Begin with yourself.
I’ve been shooting a lot of film in the last few years and I’ve been making a lot of mistakes. (gentle) I’ve been failing wonderfully and learning as I go. (gentle) My film scans arrive and I rush to upload. (gentle)
I’m carrying myself into 2018 with a gentle spirit. Be unspeakably kind, friends. Be kinder than you need to be. Begin with yourself.
Do you choose a word each year? I’d love to hear about it!