Believing in the Impossible

It’s such a big leap isn’t it?  To really believe that anything is possible. For me it’s far easier to believe that anything I put my mind to is possible than to think that everything is hopeless. It’s a simple mindset and a way of life.

Think about it for a minute.  When you are convinced that you have the ability to make the impossible – possible – then you will put your dreams into action.  You will take that chance and by doing so you are creating your own reality instead of reacting to what others have created for you which may not be in your best interests.

I’ve never been a big fan of hearing “you can’t do that” or “it won’t work”.  Those are fighting words to me because no one can predict the future – so I find comments like that offensive to my very being. I’ve come up with my own theories about why there are so many naysayers in the world.  One theory is that misery loves company and because there are some people who stop themselves – they seem to take comfort in deterring others from their dreams.

Stay away from the naysayers and remind yourself that they don’t know the future – nobody does.  Hang around people who are crazy enough to brazenly go forward and pursue those thoughts and dreams that live deep inside themselves because they are listening to their inner spirit.

They say the spirit inside never ages.  I believe that and I know when I feel aligned with my spirit because I feel child like – filled with wonder, curiosity and belief in myself and my dreams. When I tell people about my wild notions, they get caught up in my passions and spur me on.  These days with social media we have the power to turn one person’s simple idea into a collective thought – into a possibility.  Imagine the power in that thought. That’s the power of the individual to create change and change starts with that one crazy thought that someone had who listened to their spirit inside.

Let’s hear some of your own crazy notions.  Who knows it just may spark something in someone and change their life.

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I Must Have Been Crazy to Think I Could Do It

….But I did.  Last night I shipped 3 hard drives with almost 5 terabytes of media to my editor. After 2 very long months of extremely long days – every day – I got through the “first edit” of my documentaryIt’s by no means finished, there’s a lot more editing needed to cut it down by half, there’s music to be composed and a narrative that has to be written, but I take great joy in the fact that I got through this part of the process – because it damn near killed me.

When shooting a documentary, you don’t work with a script or a storyboard – or at least I don’t.  I have a pretty solid idea of the “story” when I set out to shoot, but there’s always twists and turns with every situation and every interview.  But I love surprises and I make room for serendipity to happen.  What results is a lot of content that needs to be crafted and arced into a story.  And I’ve just finished defining that story and laying the foundation.

It hasn’t been easy.  In fact there have been times when I’ve wanted to walk away from this because it was so overwhelming.  Trying to tie 11 different stories into one, and looking through 150 hours of footage multiple times can be overwhelming for a team of editors, let alone one individual. I’ve also had my share of low moments these past few months with a grant application rejected and a broken promise by a friend, but somehow I got through it.  I got through it because I had desire.

Having a strong desire for whatever it is one wants to achieve is essential.  Many times we say we really want something, but that is far different than having a true desire to make something happen. In order to stick to something (anything) and follow through with it – no matter what – that desire must be strong and come from within.  It’s something that can’t be copied, taught or faked – you either have it or you don’t. It comes when you are true to yourself.

It’s hard to stay true to yourself.  Many times, well meaning friends or spouses try to distract you from your purpose.  I see this happen a lot when a significant other, who may not understand that in the creative world, the line between work and pleasure is quite blurred and sometimes may feel somewhat resentful of all the time their partner spends on “work”.  I’m lucky in that my husband is also my business partner and has a full understanding of those blurred lines between work and pleasure.  He also knows that when I have such a strong desire to do something, that he shouldn’t get in the way of me following that desire.  That is truly selfless and well meaning.

Since beginning this lofty project, I’ve gotten a lot of calls from people who are in a slump for one reason or another.  They look to me for some kind of guidance.  I don’t really know what to say, other than to tell them to listen to their true self – the one underneath the clutter of the ego – and to trust what it tells you. If I get one of those calls during one of those low moments in my life, I try really hard to stay positive even though I feel like a big fake, because I’ve temporarily succumbed to my own self doubts.  At those times, I try to be utterly honest, relaying the bitter with the sweet and say that bad times don’t last forever. But you have to let your spirit shine.

I wrote a blog once about the human spirit. I feel that the spirit inside me is ageless.  I know when people come up to me and say “you look good” – what they really see is my spirit – which never gets old because I keep it alive. When I’m true to myself, my spirit soars and I look back at my defeats and rejections with a different understanding and acceptance.

So today, with my spirit in tact and my desire ever so strong, I rejoice in the fact that I accomplished something – something that’s really meaningful.  That brings a big smile to my face and great joy in my heart.  What a feeling – it’s priceless.

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“Breaking The Spirit”

I was reminded recently of an experience that I had while shooting a story for Smithsonian Magazine on Arthur County, Nebraska. Truth be told, it was an assignment that I almost didn’t accept. I thought that a story about the least populated county in the United States was not a story for me – I shot city stories for the most part. But then I thought, why not? It ended up being one of the most gratifying magazine assignments that I ever did – on many levels.

Personally, it pushed me out of my cultural norm. “What am I going to do in a desolate part of the country where cows far out number the people?” Photographically speaking as a people shooter, it really pushed me to see and shoot differently. Because there were so few people, I lingered longer and got a closer glimpse into their lives than I normally would have on a 7 day city shoot with lots to cover.

One day stood out for me. I was photographing a cowboy “breaking” horses. cowboy_belt_buckle I watched as he worked with an incredibly spirited horse, trying at first to calm the animal. I remember asking a question about “breaking” the horse to which the handler replied that he never wanted to “break” an animal’s spirit, but rather to gain the animal’s trust. I thought to myself that this cowboy must be a wonderful father and husband and a part of me fell in love with that notion – his understanding of the difference between “managing” this stunning creature and “breaking” its spirit.

I realized that maybe that moment in time was in essence the story itself and the reason that I needed to take that assignment. I remind myself of that every time I’m hesitant to stray from my comfort zone. That almost always there’s a reward. I was fortunate that the assignment editor on that piece saw something in me that I didn’t.  So many times, for a variety of reasons “clients” feel the need to over dictate the visual message and the end piece reflects that, becoming an entity that is neither “here nor there”.  The “spirit” of the piece becomes broken.

These days because of tight budgets and fear of losing one’s job – things tend to become more predictible and safe – choosing shooters who’ve done that type of story before or re-doing the same stories that have proven to be “successful” in the past. But every once in awhile – someone (like the cowboy) comes along and recognizes something in my spirit and gives me the necessary “rope” to bring my vision to the project while still managing the “whole” – and marvelous things happen.

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