I went to the NYC marathon this last weekend and the above pictures are the bulk of what I took away from it. That’s pretty amazing considering that I also took some pictures of people running at a pace of 5 minutes plus per mile. A plus 5 minute mile, however, pales in comparison to someone using only their hands and arms to go a distance of 26.2 miles. Where do they get the courage? From a place that I have never found, that’s for sure. It gets you thinking about how you can implement the positives in life into your every day actions to overcome obstacles. I have talked about my dog, Skylar, recently. She is my biggest project right now, and finding the positives in her has turned my friendship with her around 180 degrees. The last two weeks I have focused solely on her positive actions and what she has to offer, not what she lacks. I feel more at peace with her than I ever have. It is the perfect life lesson. Dogs (and even people) respond more to you giving them love and adoration than anything else. Why I ever thought that punishing or judging her was going to work is beyond me. You have to give everyone and everything their due respect, and everyone and everything is due respect just for their being. The mantra I have been focusing on lately is that everyone is doing the absolute best that they can, given their circumstances. Why should it be any different? How can I expect anything out of someone when I am comparing it to what I expect out of myself? Not possible. Deal with it. Which brings me full circle back to the people who I have photographed above. These are pure examples of people who just deal with it. They have been dealt a hand that most of us would deem “handicapped”, and they have thrown it back in our face. They have focused on the “what cans” instead of the “what cannots”. I am a better person since having been within 20 yards from these heroes. The tables have turned and I am thankful.
For the last few months I have been noticing numbers in a different way than usual. I have experienced this phenomenon twice in my life and want to do something creative with it this time around to try and understand it better. I will give you a few examples of what I’m talking about and what I have been experiencing. The most prominate number that I have been coming across is eleven. It seems like ten times out of eleven, when I look at a clock, the right half of the time is eleven. 2:11, 3:11, 4:11, etc…. If it is not eleven, then it is twenty-two; obviously eleven times 2. Another example is possibly looking at the clock and the time is 2:54; obviously adding up to eleven. Long story short, eleven is trying to get me to notice it. I have also been noticing a ton of palindromic numbers or numbers that are the same forward as they are backwards. 101, 353, 212, etc…. Also something that I’ve been noticing, although somewhat less frequently, are numbers that are in sequential order. 123, 345, 567, etc…. So I am going to be working on a project over the next couple of months of capturing these instances on camera in as creative a way as possible. I figure there has to be some reason that these numbers are presenting themselves to me, so I might as well try to do something fun and creative with it so it doesn’t drive me crazy. As a side project, and totally unrelated, I am going to be doing something fun with photographing lamp posts. I will obviously be posting pictures as I go and sharing those.
I figured focusing was a good word to use because it could be worked into photography lingo and life lingo. A few of the photos I have taken over the last couple weeks are good examples of focusing on something smaller when it isn’t necessarily what you would normally focus on in a given scene. I also just threw in some random pictures because I like them. I struggle sometimes with where to put my focus in life. I need to retrain myself to focus on the “smaller” things and let the “larger” things just unfold as they may. I tend to put everything into a macro perspective. “This is how this should work out in the end” is what I tell myself. Not focusing on the little details of how to get to that moment and enjoying them along the way. There is no larger disappointment for me than to have something not work out the way that I’ve told myself it should have happened, all while ignoring what took place in the interim. That goes for how I think other people should do things. “I can’t believe he/she did this that way” is a good one I use from time to time. My fiancée (Liz) tells me all the time that I get angry at situations when someone doesn’t do something the way that I think they should. And she’s right. Hell, I get angry at my dog when she doesn’t listen to me. She was an abandoned dog who probably was physically abused at one point in her life. Why would she listen to a human being who is yelling at her to do something she doesn’t understand? In this respect, I have been trying to focus more on the day-to-day successes that I have with her being obedient. I am supposed to be the smarter one between us, you would think I would consider that she isn’t going to listen to me until I teach her the language in order to do so. That is my responsibility. So I take it in small steps each and every day and I can already see the progress with her. Just by understanding, and focusing on her today, right in this very moment, I can be patient with her and teach her something. This is a stepping stone for me, I believe. This method, when used in every aspect of life, is powerful. If I just focus on showing Liz why I love her, today, right in this very moment, then I don’t need to worry or think about anything else in our relationship, because it will take care of itself as long as she knows she is loved today. That goes for my relationships with anyone. Friends, family, and even perceived enemies. That is powerful stuff. I think that we are trained in this world to get ahead of ourselves and forget about the smaller details that may be of more importance than their sum. Everything is a big bad ass rush and it needs to be done sooner, bigger, and better. Don’t we realize with that mentality, eventually we will reach the inevitable end, and then what? We will all be burnt out and pissed off. Not a good combination. I think that is why I see so much frustration in the world today. We are all just about at the ends of our ropes, and for good reason. So for me, it’s my dog, Liz, my family and friends that should take precedent in my life, and receive the most focus and attention. Everyday, in every interaction, I should show those people the utmost attention and understanding, and let them know why they are important to me. Some asshole salesman at work shouldn’t get 2 ounces of energy from me worrying about how he/she reacted to the bad news that I had to give them. In the past, those kinds of issues have drained me of most of my energy. Then what do I have left for the important things in my life? Nothing. Then I take out all my frustrations on the people and things that should be getting my utmost love, understanding and attention. How is that ever going to work out? It can’t possibly and never will. So that’s what I’ll consider when I wake up and look in the mirror. Where will my focus be today? On the great things in my life that deserve my attention? Or on the things that I thought were of the utmost importance but were really just draining me of my being? It seems like an easy decision when you look at it that way. Now it’s just a matter of focusing on that change, today.
With the sound advice from a great friend, I’ve decided to start blogging again after a long vacation from writing. Not sure why I was vacationing, but that does not seem to be of any importance. What is time, anyways? A measurement for keeping track of our overindulged lifestyles? The important point is that I am getting some thoughts out on virtual paper at this moment. Since my last utterance of words on paper, I have picked up photography as a favorite hobby. Since the first press of the shutter button, I have felt that the combination of photos and words might hold the key to my happiness, or at least some resemblance to what I picture (no pun here) happiness to be. The above photos were included in a facebook album entitled “distraction”. Distraction? From what, you might ask. My fiancée’s best friend, Mary, passed away a week ago today. These photos were taken Tuesday, as I wandered about the outdoors trying to rid my mind of the thoughts and visions of the night prior to, as we watched Mary slowly lose the fight that has made her the envy of everyone involved. Mary had a mixed connective tissue disorder, and I still have no idea what that means to this day. Mary was sick for 10 years of her life. She passed away at the age of 30. I’ll let you do the math as to how young she was when she was inflicted with this disease. Perhaps it’s her youth that causes me so much pain and angst. If she was 90, she would have led a great life and passed with the normal niceties that follow the death of a great person. But she was 30. She wasn’t supposed to pass at this age. The same age as I. Why? How? Why didn’t the doctors know how to save her this whole time? Do they even care? What was the purpose of her life if it was taken in this manner? What do we do now? Is this really how it is supposed to be? These are just a few of the questions that have been running through my head for the last week. I haven’t found any true answers to those questions. So as the title of the facebook album suggests, I looked for a distraction. Something to make me not ask myself those questions. I hid in my hobby. I started to think about how often I hide from the realities of life behind one facade or another. The fact is, I probably spend most of my life hiding behind a facade, just so I don’t have to contemplate the reality of any situation. Maybe I pick up my camera one day, maybe I pick up my pen another, and maybe I pick up a drink or ten on yet another occasion. All things to stop the mind. Perhaps Mary’s death has caused something deeper, though. Something Mary never planned on in her life. Something that is not an answer that will appease my useless mindscape. Maybe she touched my life in a way that I never saw coming or can rationalize. Perhaps I don’t need any more distractions. Maybe the problem all along is that I have been distracted. Not seeing the reality all along. Maybe Mary passing away has shown me that it is the distractions that keep me bound in a never-ending cycle of boredom and anger. Life is now and not thought out. It is unpredictable and unplannable. It is to be respected and enjoyed. Maybe my photos and words are just a way to record life along the way, but shouldn’t be considered distractions “from” life. I have to embrace it before it becomes too late. And then what? I guess all I can hope is that I lived my life half as well as Mary did, and that someone else can begin from my end. Love you always Mary!