The 2020 Gratitude Project

During past 365 projects, somewhere in the middle of the year, I found myself losing the purpose, getting overwhelmed by the scale of it and worrying about daily images “not being good enough.”   I’m hoping this year will be different as I work to change the the way I think about documenting my life.  Some amazing sermon series, several life experiences and a few books and people placed in my path at just the right time are starting to shift my photography brain.  As I complete this 365 (well, 366), I’m working to focus on the following:

 – There is no room for self doubt or insecurity.  This project isn’t about proving a talent or perfecting a skill.  This project focuses on noticing, on being aware of the blessings placed in front of me and capturing them, and on being grateful for the gift of seeing.  Comparing or measuring my technique places the focus on me, and the goal is to focus on the blessings.
Grant me daily the grace of gratitude, to be thankful for all my many gifts, and so be freed from artificial needs, that I might lead a joyful, simple life. -Henri Nouwen

– I will trust in the process, not chasing opportunities or panicking that the day will not produce an image.  This is simply a documentation of my life and the things for which I am grateful.  This project isn’t about searching for the best light or hunting down the most engaging lines or building more connected interactions – this project is about noticing those things and then gratefully documenting them.  I do hope that the project fine tunes my eye and polishes my story presentation, but that’s not the ultimate goal. 
If we really want to be full and generous in spirit, we have no choice but to trust at some level. – Rita Dove

These daily scenes and my gift of photography come from God.  I don’t have anyone to impress or compete with during this journey.  It’s an exercise in appreciation for this world and for the gift with which I was blessed.  Competition results in one of two outcomes – I am better than someone else or someone else is better than me, and neither of those conclusions are healthy or accurate.
Gratitude is not a passive response to something given to us, gratitude is being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. -David Whyte

–  This project will hopefully lead to learning new techniques and seeing in a new way, but I will be open to whatever is placed in my path.  I will not be completely passive in this journey.  I have ideas of techniques I want to learn and activities I hope to capture, but I will be flexible in my expectations.  If my life has taught me anything, it’s that the alternate ending can be way more beautiful than Plan A.
Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find. – Ann Patchett

So it begins – the 2020 Gratitude Project.  If you are creating your own gratitude project, please share a link so I can follow.   As much as I hope to stay true to my goals, I know how days can get busy or negative, and sharing in others’ gratitude fills my own gratitude tank!  
At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. – Albert Schweitzer 

Should I slip back into emotions that keep me from shooting, I am leaving this here as my reminder that there is only one way for me to successfully complete this project – focusing on gratitude.





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