Hello and welcome to week 47 of The 365 Day People Picture Project!
I want to first mention that I experienced something quite exciting this past week. I received an e-mail from someone, Hana, who stumbled upon this project. She complimented my efforts and said she had also been considering something similar, and wanted to reach out before starting her own project. Of course I encouraged her to go for it! Learning that I contributed some inspiration to another person, was pretty much a dream come true for me!
Hana didn't waste any time! After e-mailing back and forth for just a couple days, she started her own 365 Day project! If you've enjoyed this project, I encourage you to follow @artysci on Instagram and check out her blog at www.artysci.co.uk. Wishing you luck and success, Hana!
Day 322 - Marietta
This is Marietta. She had been delayed in her tear-down/pack-up efforts from having worked the Recycled Arts Festival all weekend, so it gave me the perfect opportunity to ask if I could take her picture. She quickly agreed, and I later learned that she may have been quick to let me take her picture because her son is a photographer. I love it when I happen to meet photographers or people who have a photographer in their family, because they get it. They don't think it's weird to have a complete stranger ask for their picture.
I asked Marietta the happiest thing happening in her life right now and she paused for a moment, then looked over to her adorable little schnauzer who was waiting patiently in his kennel, and she replied, "I'm happy that my dog is well." Her dog had experienced a medical scare but came out on the other side and is doing well.
When I asked Marietta if she had recently performed an act of kindness, she said, "I lost $50 and I'm sure someone must have found it." I was impressed with her positive outlook. She's certain someone found it and she hoped it had made their day or that it helped the person who found it. She genuinely hoped the finder of the lost money was happy and her sincerity was obvious.
"What I put out, I get back," summarized Marietta's personal mission statement. She explained that she tries to think about what would be good karma in everything that she does. This helped me to understand Marietta's sincere wish that the person who found her money was helped in some way.
I asked Marietta something about herself which she would consider to be a success and she replied, "that I raised three wonderful boys."
Day 324 - Jonathan
This is Jonathan. He was so patient with me as we tried to locate the best spot for us to take a picture. The sun was shining brightly and causing the trees to cast shadows everywhere. We finally had to wedge ourselves in a little alcove behind the bottle recycling machines at Whole Foods. Jonathan was such a great sport about the weird location of our quick little shoot.
"I'm about to have 6 English Mastiff puppies," Jonathan said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. I can't even imagine the cuteness overload!
Jonathan's recent act of kindness was that he had given someone food.
"To be 100% - mentally, physically and spiritually, all the time," Jonathan said, is his personal mission statement.
I asked Jonathan one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success and he replied, "I'm a drummer." Jonathan is a drummer in a reggae band and here's a video from a while back.
Day 325 - Alex
This is Alex. I went into Plaid Pantry (convenience store) the other day and Juan (from day 236) happily announced that Alex was new and I'd have another new subject for the project! Alex, before he even knew what he was agreeing to, confirmed that he LOVES having his picture taken! I laughed and told him I'd be back before the end of the week.
"My music," Alex said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. He debated between answering that it was his girlfriend who was the happiest thing happening in his life, but decided on music. Alex and his girlfriend are actually in a band together, so he sort of covered both with this answer.
I asked Alex if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he replied, "I work here!" His job gives him the opportunity to share kindness with his customers who are people from all walks of life. He then went on to say that most recently, he discovered a bees nest, so he "warned" other pedestrians to stay clear of the bees. (which was an act of kindness for both the people and the bees!)
I asked Alex if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot. Alex replied, "to make people feel again." Alex went on to explain that he's in 4 bands and he wants to move people with what he says, both on and off stage.
When I asked Alex something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I'm in 4 bands!"
Alex's 4 bands are:
- Alexander S. Hormann - Solo
- Lazy Finger - The band he's in with his Girlfriend
- Vince Yawn - Punk
- Soccer Moms - Alternative
Alex is full of personality and true to his mission statement, he definitely made me feel happier after meeting him!
Day 326 - Luis
This is Luis. Although I didn't see it, Luis had just taken a spill on his skateboard when I approached him to ask if I could take his picture. He agreed to let me take his picture, but he was wincing in pain. I thought I should just let him be, but I could also tell I was a bit of a healthy distraction for him so I decided to carry on. Luis was sitting on his skateboard so I decided to sit down on the grass with him in order to take his picture. Just then, it hit me... C-R-A-M-P!!! My foot/leg started to cramp, and poor Luis was still wincing and tending to the bruise forming on his shin. We would have been a funny sight were we not in so much pain! I had to hop back to my feet to make the charley-horse subside, but Luis couldn't do a thing about his injury.
I asked Luis the happiest thing happening in his life right now and through the pain, he replied, "having a child." Luis' face lit up when he responded, even though he was hurting.
Luis was having trouble remembering if he's performed an act of kindness, but pretty much the only thing he could think of was the pain he was feeling. I reminded him it was kind he had let me take his picture.
I asked Luis if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on-the-spot. Knowing he wasn't thinking of much at the moment, I rephrased the question and asked about his life's purpose. "To support my kid, is my first goal," Luis answered. I looked down at the bruise forming on his leg and asked curiously, "do you want your kid to be a skater?" He looked down at his hurting leg, rubbed around the bruise a bit, and answered that he wants his son to do what makes him happy. In a flicker, I could see in Luis that he wants both to protect his son from the bumps and bruises that skateboarding/life dishes out, but he wants him to enjoy the ride too.
"Being a father, " Luis answered, when I asked one thing about himself which he would consider to be a success. Wishing Luis and his family a lifetime of happiness!
Day 327 - Sir Charles Wiggins III
This is "Sir Charles Wiggins III." He looked like he had someplace to be, so our interaction was short and efficient.
"My 3 1/2 year old daughter," Sir Charles Wiggens III said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now.
I asked "S.C.W.III" if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he answered, "I would like to think so," but he couldn't recall a specific act. Again, I reminded him that he let me take his picture.
"Live, grow, and thrive," Sir Charles Wiggins III answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one.
I asked one thing about himself he would consider to be a success and Sir Charles responded, "being content." I love this answer!
Day 328 - Eric
This is Eric. I spotted him taking pictures in the park so I figured he would most likely let me take his picture for the project.
"Vacation," Eric said, is the happiest thing happening in his life right now. Eric is here vacationing from California.
I asked Eric if he had recently performed an act of kindness and his friend helped to remind him of the answer. "I bought Voodoo Doughnuts for the family this morning," Eric answered.
"Enjoy life to its fullest," Eric answered, when I asked if he had a personal mission statement or if he could think of one on the spot.
I asked Eric something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he answered, "my kindness."
Best wishes for a happy vacation, Eric!
Day 329 - Ben
This is Ben. Ben asked me for directions and it gave me the opportunity to ask him for his picture! I was struck with the realization that Ben was the first person in this project to approach me first. After meeting Ben, I was so glad that he had gotten turned around. I would have never met him had he found his destination.
I asked Ben the happiest thing happening in his life right now and he responded immediately, "growth!"
Knowing that people often experience an explosion of personal growth and development after having experienced something "bad," or at least not positive, I asked Ben if something bad had happened. Ben then went on to explain that there are two types of growth - growth away from something, or growth toward something. In Ben's case, the growth he's experiencing is a result of him being an incredibly driven person and his growth is toward building a really amazing future.
Talking with Ben feels like you're talking to a motivational speaker. I couldn't help but catch a little of his enthusiasm and it's just what I needed. I've been feeling a little blue about the project coming to an end and not knowing what I would do next, but then Ben happened.
Ben's words stuck with me and I wanted to learn more. I figured Ben's wisdom must have come from a source, - a psychological or philosophical theory, or perhaps a famous author on personal self-development. When I got home, I googled to see if I could find the source and learn more.
I had created a dilemma in my mind - for example, if a person who experienced a terribly sad break-up decides to pick up the pieces of their broken heart and trudge on, is their growth away from the pain, or is it toward happiness? Or is it both? When a person with an addiction breaks free from that addiction, is their change to grow away from the pain and devastation caused from their addiction, or is their growth toward living a healthy and productive life? I wanted to learn more, but my search didn't reveal the author, psychologist or philosopher behind this thought. Instead, I discovered a whole lot of information about plants and phototropism. You know how plants often grow toward the direction of the light? That's phototropism. I learned that when plants grow toward the light, it's called positive phototropism. When plants grow away from the light, it's called negative phototropism. In my little botany lesson, I better understood what Ben was explaining to me and I reached the conclusion that although positive or negative phototropism is meaningful for plants, for humans - it matters not if we're growing away from something (negative), or toward something (positive), it matters most that we're just continuing to grow.
I asked Ben if he had recently performed an act of kindness and he explained that he had offered to help a group of people who are looking to improve their lives.
"To develop myself so that I can offer others as much as possible," Ben said, is his personal mission statement.
I asked Ben something about himself which he would consider to be a success and he said that he's able to experience "where I am in the moment, and have peace."
I left Ben feeling a bit of a boost. Like the sun is for plants, Ben is like a light source for humans. You can't help but experience a little growth and renewal when you're around his enthusiasm. His genuine desire for self-improvement and to be of service to others is contagious. Ben told me his dream was to become a teacher. He realized his dream, and now he wants to improve it.
Dream it. Realize it. Improve it. Wow!
Ben filled me with inspiration and now the answer is right before me. I had a dream to take a picture of a person every day for a year. I'm now making that dream a reality. Next step - improve it!
See why I'm so glad Ben was lost and he asked me for directions? Seems we were both able to help each other to get where we needed to be. Thank you, Ben.
Here's a summary of the personal mission statements and life's purposes of the subjects from this week. I also added a little extra from Ben.
- What I put out, I get back.
- To be 100% - mentally, physically and spiritually, all the time.
- To make people feel again.
- Live, grow, and thrive.
- Enjoy life to its fullest.
- To develop myself so that I can offer others as much as possible.
- Dream it. Realize it. Improve it.
Thank you to each of you who have been subjects in this project. I'm grateful for your kindness and that you shared yourself with us. Thank you.
And thank you for following along for another week! These past few weeks have been bitter-sweet knowing the project is coming to an end. Meeting Ben made me realize - I can keep going! I can improve it! Knowing that I can always keep going helps me to not stress about the future of this project and this blog, and to focus on what's important. Today.