What Will Your Resolution Be?

Been down so long that is seems like up,
I took it now I’ve had enough
Of the life that I’ve been livin’
It feels so cold this far away
So Today I will make a change
I will make a change today
Purge my mind of mud and mire
Cast all my gods away
I am brand new today, I make my resolution

– OC Supertones

Like most people who make New Year’s resolutions, I usually fail to keep them the whole year.  I think there is  part of me that struggles with the idea of an annual commitment when I know that most of us are not likely to succeed in keeping them.  To be honest, I don’t really like the concept of a New Year’s resolution. Why do we wait for one day of the year to commit to doing something to improve our lives or the lives of others?  How much better would the world be if we treated everyday like New Year’s Day?

Now to some the idea of a new resolution everyday may seem flawed.  What is the point of only keeping a resolution one day?  Does it become obsolete the following day when we make a new one?  Can I have the same resolution 2 days in a row?  Is it possible to work on more than one resolution at once?  Wow, this is complicated… or is it?  What if we all decided each day to do something out of the ordinary? Buy a co-worker lunch, send a handwritten note of thanks, send home flowers for no reason, or maybe do something nice for a friend anonymously.

Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid.    Author: Albert Schweitzer

What would happen if a group of people came together to work on a collective resolution?  What could a church, small group, community or a whole city accomplish? How much easier would it be to keep our resolution if we had someone to walk beside us and encourage us and we encourage them in return?

So what is my challenge?  There are many personal goals that are worthwhile and worthy of me pursuing.  For some people it is to quit smoking, eat healthier, or exercise more.  These are all important and I would encourage everyone to look at any lifestyle changes that are going to improve your health.  However, there is a longing inside of me to do something that is external and would mean more to those around me, maybe even in my own home.  This is the year that I hopefully take that giant step and move outside my comfort zone and follow through on my own resolution.

It's a New Day - Dear Island, NB

Like taking a photograph to help us remember a special moment or place, a resolution can be a way to help us remember to make the world better than we found it.


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Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.  –  Peter McWilliams

Several years ago I had the privilege of attending a two day personal development session on leadership.  The goals were simple; to help expand upon our strengths and to assist us with recognizing our weaknesses. One of the facilitators assisting with the training was a lady named Debbie.   Debbie shared some of the greatest wisdom I heard during those two days, and left me with a statement that has become a constant reminder for me when I face different challenges in my life.  Debbie’s insight was what she called her “Top Ten Lessons of Leadership”.  It was her second point “Be comfortable being uncomfortable” that impacted me the most and changed the way I deal with difficult circumstances.

Sometimes looking up is the only thing you can do

By nature I’m not one to embrace change or deal well with uncomfortable situations. While growing up and right into my 20’s there were definitely moments of terror and anxiety when faced with situations that took me out of my comfort zone.  For many years the fear was overwhelming especially when faced with crowds or in a situation where I was required to speak publicly.  I struggled many days with; “What if this happens”, “What if I’m not good enough” or “What will people think”.  Debbie’s speech was the pinnacle of a turning point in my life. Along with the support of a great family, wonderful friends and a lot of prayer, I reached the point of finally being able to say that I’m comfortable being uncomfortable.  Do I enjoy it? No, but I’m finding it much easier.

Well, here I am several years later sharing some of my innermost thoughts and experiences along with my artistic expression, my photography.   Why now? I’m not sure.  It might be for someone who reads this or possibly just for me.  Photography helped me escape from those “dark times”.  Getting away from pressures of life and into nature was my outlet at that moment.  Now I can look back and see that it was also teaching me that there was so much more to life than what I was dealing with.  Life became a lot bigger than just the here and now.   Photography also gave me something to get excited about and it was only for me.  If I wanted to share an image I could but if I failed no one had to know.  Prior to switching from film to digital there was also a period of anticipation waiting for the film or slide processing. That time in between allowed me to reflect on the moment I had captured and it taught me that the end result wasn’t the only goal but also what I had experienced or learned along the way.

Sometimes going with the flow is easier than fighting the tide

Do I worry about what people think? Of course; I think that it is human nature and most people do.  Artistic expression is very subjective and I feel like I still have so much to learn about photography but more than that, the questions I struggle the most with are “What is my purpose?” and “Why do I want to continue with photography?”,  “Who is my audience?” and “What is my message?”. Sometimes it is clear but quite often it is not.   Even though there are moments of insecurity with my photography there are also times of satisfaction.  On occasions it has been a satisfied client who received work that would build my confidence and other times it is self-satisfied, not in a arrogant way, but in a moment of thinking to myself I finally achieved what I envisioned before I began to create an image.  Sometimes just being there in a moment to see something amazing is also enough to make me continue.

Now as I approach middle age I realize more and more that being uncomfortable at different times in our life is normal.  I have been uncomfortable because I have done nothing and I have been uncomfortable because I have done something but in the end not really sure if I’ve done it well.   The conclusion that I’ve come to is that if I’m going to be uncomfortable it should be for doing something rather than nothing.  I’d rather fail at doing something than succeed at doing nothing.

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? – Robert H. Schuller