Archive for November, 2011

re-picturing STRETCHING

Do you stretch yourself? I mean stretch in all senses of the word – physically and psychologically.

I typically do not stretch.

For example…

The words exchanged between my physical therapist and me on my first visit.

Me: So, I’m having these knee problems and it just seems to be getting worse the more I run.

Her: Do you do Yoga or Pilates or anything to stretch your muscles or strengthen your core?

Me: Are you f*cking kidding me? I don’t have time to stretch because I’m too busy running!

I hold a somewhat superstitious belief that if I stop running to stretch that I won’t be able to start running again.  Furthermore, if I stretch at the beginning of a run before I am completely warmed up, I might actually injure myself by pulling a muscle. Sometimes I stretch when I’m all done. Sometimes. Maybe this sheds some light into how some of my running issues developed.

I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that at the same time I’ve been running into these running issues, I have been reading Twyla Tharp’s creative lessons and journey in her book, The Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life.

She also talks about stretching in our creative lives, specifically, the importance of knowing yourself and then finding ways to stretch.

The better you know yourself, the more you will know when you are playing to your strengths and when you are sticking your neck out. Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable….another thing about knowing who you are is that you know what you should not be doing, which can save you a lot of heartaches and false starts if you catch it early on.                                                                                       Tharp (2006, p. 27)

And, in my very limited experience with stretching, it actually seems to work.

I’ve been stretching and cross-training instead of running. And, guess what? My knee feels better. Because I’m maintaining my cardiovascular stamina, my physical therapist thinks I might actually be able to run the Honolulu marathon on December 11 (fingers crossed).

With my photography, I was trying to do it all – portraits, landscapes, black and whites, even though I’m naturally drawn to colorful macros. There’s something to be said about being well-rounded, but there’s also something to be said about knowing your strengths, your voice, the way you see the world, and then stretching a bit beyond your comfort zone rather than trying something entirely new.

Stretching even impacts my scholarly research. Guess what? I see the world through a gendered, embodied, social psychological lens. However, when I started my job, I dove into all sorts of new research areas. Many of them are dead in the water (lab). The only areas that are still really active are those that are related to how I naturally see the world, what I’m naturally passionate about, but have pushed into interesting new directions.

I’m starting to see that stretching isn’t so bad after all.

What are your strengths? Can you stretch them in creative new directions? Do you need to call it quits on a false start?

 

re-picturing PAIRS

Lately, the shadows have seemed awfully big. It has been hard to turn toward the light and fight the darkness. Marathon training has been tough. I’m not sure if the Honolulu Marathon is going to happen for me. The tenure treadmill has been tough. I’m not sure if I’m going to do enough in this short period of time. Even taking pictures has been tough. I feel uninspired. However, I have felt incredibly grateful to have the right people come into my life at the right time. The right collaborators, the right running partners, the right partners in creative crime (you know who you are). When we are in pairs, the shadows don’t seem so big afterall.

What shadows have you been fighting? Who can you pair up with?

re-picturing HIGH EXPECTATIONS

I have high expectations (like really high expectations) for myself and others. I take pride in these high expectations and I suspect that you might too.

I’m what psychologists call a maximizer. A maximizer is like a perfectionist, someone who needs to be assured that they are making the best decision or reaching the best outcome possible at all times.

However, sometimes high expectations make us miserable.

Case in point. I’m training for a marathon. I went from not running, like not jogging, not running down the block, not really exercising at all (besides the running to the fridge for a yummy treat)… to trying to run 26.2 miles. Last weekend, I was supposed to run 18 miles, but at 15.5. miles my knee pain (recurring injury) became unbearable and I had to walk the last 2.5 miles. The entire time, I was thinking about the 2.5 miles I wasn’t running, instead of the 15.5 miles I had already run. What the heck? What’s going on here? By all standards, I had a run a long distance, like a very long distance. And, it made me frustrated, disappointed, angry, bitter, and generally ungrateful.

This week, I’m trying to feel a bit more grateful. I’m trying to focus on the positive instead of the negative. The negatives and positives both represent truths. Just tonight, I ran 8 miles and my knee is aching, but I just ran 8 miles.

Have you been focusing on the miles not run, rather than the miles run?

re-picturing ART

Thank you friends, family, fellow photographers, creative sisters, and readers for all of your support as I prepared for my second photography show with the talented Meghan Davidson last week! I am grateful to report that we had a wonderful turnout, the work was well-received, and we even sold some notecards, prints, and framed and matted work (thank you to all of you who supported our work and the Playhouse!). I’m still processing the entire night — it truly was amazing to see all of the photos enlarged, matted, and framed under the spotlight. I was reminded, however, that I am just playing a part in a larger creative process that is continuing to unfold all around us (even if we fail to notice it most of the time). By sharing our own voices and experiences through our art (whether that be a blog, music, visual arts, books, research, or just living a more wholehearted life), we help others to recognize their own unique voice and a deeper voice that we all share. And, your fears, your struggles, and your “not enoughs,” as well as, your triumphs, your joys, and your “I am enoughs” are beautiful. You are beautiful. I am beautiful. We are beautiful.