Saturday, December 10, 2022

Slowing Down // A 30 Day Challenge

The habit of rushing is my ultimate nemesis. It gets me every time. That hurry, hurry, out the door, back home, get supper on, quicker, quickly. I forget so often to slow down and enjoy the moments around me. To soak them in before they vanish. Because, suddenly, it's bedtime, suddenly, it's the next day, and it feels like I repeat this over and over again. And now the year is almost over.

When I put together my Falling into Autumn post, I realized the lack of photos that I had from June to September. Usually, there are far too many and I have to spend hours going through and selecting the right ones. This year, however, there was (what felt like) only a handful. Even when looking at the events of our summer, there aren't too many photos, and now I'm wondering what we even did this year. Not that photos are everything, but they do help 'reassure' me that we did have some kind of an adventure. 

I rushed and forgot to soak in the moments. I rushed to get into our new house and I rushed to visit my parents for our summer holiday. I rushed to get home again and to get the girls ready for school. And school is a whole other animal. Since I spent my energy trying to propel myself to the next thing, I forgot to notice and sit with the small moments of magic, stillness, and growth. I feel like I've missed out on all the blessings this year could have offered. 

When I took photos in November of our long weekend, a wave of remembrance hit me as I played about with my camera, taking shots of the daily going-ons. I love this. I love taking photos. I love being creative. I love expressing myself and sharing my daily life in this space. The camera is the tool I need to be present and to zoom in and zone in on the world around me. I definitely don't want to have it glued to me every single day, but I want to pick it up more often and use it as training, in hopes that natural habits will develop.

I decided that this was a perfect time for another photo challenge. These challenges are my favourite because I can see it all put together in one post and I'm amazed that every little photo built up towards something that means so much to me. Whether I was busy working on something (there is always a kid to pick up, a present to finish) I took a photo. I had days where I wandered the house, seeking its magic, and then there were days that I was so obsessed with all the beauty my plants were producing, that taking a photo was so easy. I took a photo for thirty days and this was so needed. By stopping and pulling out my camera, I was able to see things a different way. Closer up or further back, a different angle - it felt like I was way more in the moment, able to enjoy it fuller and play, rather than fight or hurry. 

What I Learned from this Project : 

- Slowing down and being still is so important to me and my day benefits from it. Even if it's just for the smallest of moments to be thankful for something, or to appreciate the warmth of my tea, or delight in the rainbows in my girls room. To have those moments of joy helps elevate the rest of my day. 

- When I discovered those little magical moments of my day, whether I was roaming the house "looking" or in a craft project seeing it anew, I found even more joy as I stepped back to take a photo. That felt huge and as the challenge went on, I began getting excited about "stepping back" and seeing it from a different view. 

- Blogging is actually a huge help in this regard! When I start thinking about what type of project I want to post, I feel like the photographer in me goes a little nuts. I also feel like I can slow down with the post I'm writing. For example, my Celebrating Years of Reading post took me almost two weeks to complete, and I really enjoyed working on it for that length of time. To collect words and photos, to build up a post, it needs the time and I'm realizing the value in that.  

Moving Forward : 

- All messes are beautiful, even if I don't think so in the moment. Take photos and put it away, even if the project seems wonky. I'll be thankful later.

- I need to take time to sort out my day better. Projects and household chores, and future dreams, all important, but so is taking care of myself. I need to figure out how to prioritize those slow moments without feeling guilty about them. 

- My girls get absolutely ticked when I stop what I am doing and join in on their "messes." Usually, I observe and encourage and praise them, but when I stop and join in on the fun (the art, the dance party, their imaginary worlds) they are delighted. I want more of this moving forward. 

Here are the photos. I hope you enjoy. Sincerely, Emily. 

The start of new blooms and finding joy in making something out of nothing.
This quote did not want to photograph well, but this is what it says : "This is the story of my love for winter, the scent of fir and spruce, ghost stories read with a glass of sloe gin, and beewax candles with shadows dancing on the ceiling. With recipes, fables, and quick fireside suppers from November to February, I take you through my essential preparations for Christmas and New Year and everything you need to enjoy the winter months." - Nigel Slater, The Christmas Chronicles. My Little Pony forever!
Christmas songs have begun and all my hearts in rainbow order. Thanks, Bug!
Rainbows in rooms and crazy plant growth. Look at all that hair!
This was one such moment, I jumped in and joined them on making their snow fort. I laughed so much and so did they. Such a special moment. Now, all we need is more snow - am I allowed to say that?
Getting bigger every day and a slow moment in the car. Starting a new book always gives me such a great feeling.
Our first time ever putting Christmas lights outside our house. I am so happy! A beautiful Christmas tree decorated by the loveliest lady.
More blooms and a little ghost keeping my books safe.
A surprising rainbow found in the library and a new moose to join our moose family.
A moment with my littlest one and a bloom at large.
A moment with my oldest, parked in the car, waiting for the younger, big books in tow. A morning of ponies and puzzles.
WOW! Beauty in one corner, a mess in another. Just kidding, I love this kind of 'mess' and think its so beautiful.
Got the lights up on the tree, finally! eeee I am being blessed by such blooms.
Twinkle lights in the girls room and snow in the garden.
Decorating ornaments. I got these lovely colouring ornaments years ago from my mom, and now, we colour a new side every year. There are even some little baby scribbles on some of them and I am telling the girls, who are now older, to go around those scribbles gently. 
Look at those blooms! And those tiny fingers!

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