What a blessing to be able to write this week about managing positive transitions.
Several milestones have occurred since my last post. I usually publish my weekly piece on Thursday or Friday, but last Thursday and Friday were the days that my old website content was migrating to my new website. If I had been organized I would have squeezed one in early, but too much is happening right now for “early” to be within the realm of imagination.
The new website went live on Sunday, just a few minutes before I headed out in my stuffed van to set up my debut photography exhibit. I wanted to leverage the event to advertise my website in preparation for book marketing later this year. But with so many balls in the air — book editing, photography exhibit creation, business start-up tasks, and new website development — I’ve avoided placing hard deadlines where they weren’t needed.
Thanks to my fantastic and far-flung website team (Tara DuBois of Unbound Website Creations in Oregon, graphic artist Doris Lican Milosovich in Singapore, and branding and WordPress consultant–just two of many hats she wears–Margaret Roach in upstate New York), we had my new baby cleaned up enough to go public in time for my coming out party.
My goal with the new site was to bring my written and photography work under one unified, mindful umbrella. I’ll be expanding my photo galleries over time. The events page, which currently lists scheduled photography shows, will evolve to include book promotion gigs later this year. And the mindfulness resources page will also grow along with my own research and practice. Click around and let me know what you think!
The photography show at Vienna’s Historic Freeman Store was a blast. Great turnout, enthusiastic response to my work, and so much support from my family and friends that it brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Thanks to all of you who visited (and even bought some things!). Special shout-out to my mother and niece, who helped set up my display not once, but twice, after a wind gust blew the whole thing down 15 minutes before the event started. The silver lining was that we moved onto the porch of the store — less wind, more shade.
Everyone keeps asking, “So was it a success? How did you do?” The feeling is identical to when I finished my first half marathon a few months ago and people asked, “Were you happy with your time?”
My only goal in both situations was getting to the starting line and the finish line. I was equally elated and equally spent after both events. Most importantly, I felt like I had succeeded in fulfilling something I was meant to do, by saying “Sure, I’ll give it a go,” when the universe presented an opportunity I hadn’t thought to seek out myself.
After reaching goals that required countless tiny steps to complete, it was all too fitting that my Headspace.com guided meditation this week had Andy Puddicombe recommending that we break our meditation session into very small fragments.
Rather than sitting down and thinking, “I’m going to be here for 20 minutes,” (or 5, 10, 30 or more minutes), Andy suggested bringing it down to one breath at a time.
Actually, even less than that. Break the task down to half a breath. One in-breath is a task completed. One out-breath is a task completed. I’ve been meditating for a few years now and this technique transformed the experience for me.
I love checking things off my to-do list every day. So much so that I often write “take a shower” on my list just for the satisfaction of checking off an easy one. And what could be easier than one in-breath? The pause between the in-breath and out-breath then comes into full focus, the essence of utter stillness, utter peace. The out-breath — a complete task in itself — is like the descent on a swing. In-breath (task complete!), pause for calming stillness, out breath (task complete!), pause for calming stillness. Twenty minutes flew by and I opened my eyes thoroughly refreshed.
It sums up how I’ve gotten through these past several weeks with my sanity in check (though fewer dinners cooked and weeds left to run rampant in the garden).
The technique of approaching daunting challenges one tiny task at a time applies regardless of the nature of life transitions. Positive, negative, so-called “good” or so-called “bad” (though these judgments usually prove to be malleable), we can get through all of it if we tackle just half a breath at a time.
I hope you like the new website! Some minor issues still require my attention (photo resizing in some cases and a few other tweaks), but I’m off to my first blogging conference later today, so it will have to wait. Please let me know if you come across any glitches as you explore the site.
And if you’re a local reader, my next gig is just a week away on Saturday, June 13th, at Vienna’s Garden Faire. I’ll have a vendor table from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on the Town Green (next to the Freeman Store at 131 Church Street NE, Vienna, VA, 22180) with my garden photography products. My notecards, matted images, and metal prints were a big hit last Sunday! My mom will be helping me again, and she’s way more entertaining than I am, so come say hi if you’re free. Apollo (the rascal who chewed through my wi-fi power cord this week) may also make an appearance.
Wish me luck at the blogging conference — it starts in a few hours in Baltimore and I haven’t even packed yet!! Half a breath at a time…
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