365 More People Pictures - Week 49

Hello! This is week 49 of my second personal challenge to take a picture of a person, every day, for a year.

This blog is actually a few weeks behind real-time.  I'm sorry I'm behind here, but you can follow along in real-time on Instagram, where I post daily.  My Instagram username is @missellanea.

 

Day 336 - Claire

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This is Claire.  We met in the park where I spotted her sitting on a bench, reading a book, and looking like she was just enjoying the day.  We ended up visiting for quite a while.  She told me a little about her life, and I told her a little about mine.  We discovered that we share many similarities and in some aspects, we're living (or about to live) parallel lives.   I love that this project has introduced me to so many great people. Visiting with Claire felt like I was talking with my mom or aunts.

The happiest thing happening in Claire's life is she's recovering from skin cancer, and she's also going to visit Spain and stay with family.

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Claire's recent act of kindness is that she gave bus fare to a girl who appeared to be in a bad situation and needing to get out.  Claire also gave a sandwich to a homeless person, along with a reusable bag for the person to carry their belongings.

"Being aware of life and understanding cultures," Claire said, is her life's purpose.

When I asked Claire something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I think I'm a little clairvoyant, or I read people."  Perhaps she's both...the interaction we shared was one in which I really needed this day and I felt better having met her.  Hopefully she felt the same.

Thank you, Claire.

 

Day 337 - Sher

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This is Sher.  I love it when I ask people the happiest thing happening in their lives, and they're so positive and so many great things are happening, that they can't choose just one. (The only thing that makes me happier than this, is when someone is temporarily in a bad spot, but still manages to find happiness, or gratitude, in something...even if it is simply just being alive.)  Sher decided to give the answer that she's happy to be close to her daughter, and her relationship.

Sher was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness, twice over, in one situation. She scored a great used washer from FreeCycle and her friend drove over 30 miles to help her pick it up!  (That's a great friend!)

"To bring more joy into the world," Sher answered, when I asked her life's purpose.

When I asked Sher something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "I have a great kid!"

Thank you, Sher.

 

Day 338 - Nate

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This is Nate.  The happiest thing happening in his life right now is his marriage.  One surprising observation I've had during these past two years, is that men are entirely more sentimental and sensitive than what I've ever realized.  I haven't gone back to do an actual count of how many guys have answered that their relationship is the happiest thing happening in their life, but the number is surprisingly high, and actually quite touching.

Nate's recent act of kindness is that before we met, he had just held the door open for a large family.

"Life's just to enjoy it," Nate answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Again, Nate is another person who grounds us and reminds us that while we're in pursuit of our dreams and  fulfilling our mission in life, we must remember to also enjoy it!

"I'm pretty successful in my career," Nate answered, when I asked something about himself that he considers to be a success.  Nate has managed to find it all.  Happy marriage, successful career, and he's enjoying life too!   Thank you, Nate!

Day 339 - Parrish

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This is Parrish.  The happiest thing happening in his life is that he's been clean and sober for a while, he's getting back in the gym, and he's going to school for engineering.

"To do something to change the world for the better," Parrish answered, when I asked his life's purpose. I was happy for Parrish, and reminded him that simply by keeping clean, he's already changed his little corner of the world for the better.

"Being a father...the father I never had, and having a good relationship with my kids," Parrish answered, when I asked something about himself he considers to be a success.

Wishing you continued happiness and success, Parrish.

Day 340 - Becki

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This is Becki. You've met her before.  She's one of my oldest and dearest friends.  Although I didn't look up her comments from her first appearance in this project, we laughed because we're pretty sure she had given very similar answers.

The happiest thing happening in her life at the time of this picture, is that she had just returned from a great vacation with her family.

Becki is one of those people who pretty much performs an act of kindness at least a half-dozen times a day.  She's just that nice, thoughtful and caring.  She's also trying to instill in her kids to be of service to the community and to those in need, so her service-work is a family affair.  They volunteer with several different programs, events and organizations.  While on vacation, they saw a girl crying on the side of the road so they stopped to offer help. "I just need to get home," the girl cried.  Becki gave the girl all of the food they had left, water, and money for a bus ticket.

"Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow," Becki answered, when I asked her life's purpose.  Becki embraces this and truly lives it each day.  She survived a near-fatal accident just after high school, and because of it, she packs in about 3 days worth of living into each day.

When I asked Becki something about herself which she considers to be a success, she answered, "my family...my kids." Her kids are smart, kind and loving and they're growing into exceptional young adults.

Becki, thank you for being the beautiful mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend that you are.  I love you.

 

Day 341 - Amber

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This is Amber.  We met outside of Hollywood Theatre.  I seriously did a double check, and then a triple check, to make sure she wasn't Cameron Diaz.  Amber is as nice and fun, as she is beautiful.  She was on a date and I just wanted to steal her away so that we could go make more pictures!  She's just so much fun in front of the camera!

When I asked Amber the happiest thing happening in her life right now, she answered, "this man right behind me," as she looked over her shoulder to her date who was patiently waiting for us to finish doing our thing.

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Amber feels like she's on both the receiving and giving end of kindness every day!  Recently, she lost her wallet and a stranger returned it to her!

"To meet and interact with people," Amber said, is her life's purpose.  She's living this purpose - I don't think you could walk past Amber without stopping to visit with her.  She radiates fun and friendliness, and she's someone you just have to talk to!

When  I asked Amber something about herself she considers a success, she answered, "my babies."

Thank you for being your bright and sunshiny self, Amber!

 

Day 342 - David

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This is David.  When I met David, he and his photographer/videographer friends were in a hurry, chasing light, on their way to go shoot one of the bridges.   We only had time for one question, but we exchanged numbers and we did the rest of the "interview" via text messages.

"To make other people happy," David answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

Below are the rest of David's answers from our text interview.  (I want to try this more often!)

Question:  What is the happiest thing happening in your life right now?

David's Answer:  I have been doing a lot of reflection and practicing self awareness recently in my life, and I'm finally finding my own way here in Portland.  I moved here a year and a half ago, for a job, and finally finding my way.

Question:  Have you recently performed an act of kindness or have you been on the receiving end of an act of kindness?

David's Answer:  I work for Willamette University's professional MBA program. On Wednesday, my coworker and I drove down to Eugene and back to Portland, delivering over 200 sugar cookies to a dozen of our students at their work. It was surprising for so many of our students who work full time, have families and lives and also take MBA classes. I am amazed by all of them. They're the reason it's easy to come to work everyday, so we do what we can to make them feel happy.

Question:  What's something about yourself you consider to be a success?

David's Answer:  My biggest success has been my personal growth since I moved here. I'm becoming the man I always wanted to be.  I used to cry at sleepovers, (in my own backyard) worrying about my family.  And [now] I find myself 2800 miles from home, away from family, starting and building a life for myself.  I even surprise myself sometimes!

I loved meeting David.  He's the type of person with whom you feel an instant connection.  We said we would do coffee some day, and so much time has passed, I worry he wouldn't remember me.  But, he's been on my mind and I definitely want to be in touch with him again soon.  Thank you, David.  I hope we can make that coffee date happen.

I loved our text interview.   Regretfully, I haven't used a voice recorder for this project.   I just jot notes in my journal as quickly as I can.  Some people are short and concise in their answers and I can easily write what they've said, but other people's answers are long, beautiful, interactions but I miss so much of their valuable significance and wisdom because I'm simply unable to note everything they've said.   I have to rely on my memory to fill in the gaps left by the hastily written notes in my journal.  And, I had no idea my poor little memory was going to get so spotted after 40-ish-something.  If I were to ever continue doing this, I think it's time to get serious and record the interviews. I've now even considered broadcasting the interviews live on Periscope.  (But I'm just way too bashful for that, and I think potential subjects would also shy away from an interview if they knew it would be a live broadcast to the world - or at least the few people watching live on Periscope.)   At the very least, I think it's time to dig deeper and learn even more about people's personal stories.

Here's the summary of the life's purpose of the subjects from this week:

  • Being aware of life and understanding cultures.
  • To bring more joy into the world.
  • Life's just to enjoy it.
  • To do something to change the world for the better.
  • Live each day to the fullest because you don't know if you'll be here tomorrow.
  • To meet and interact with people.
  • To make other people happy.

Thank you to every subject in this project. If you would like your picture, please don't hesitate to email me.

And, thank you for continuing to follow along. I'm striving to get back on track and will keep working at it until I do.

Have a great week!

 

 

365 More People Pictures - Week 35

Hi! These are the subjects from week 35 of the 365 More People Pictures project.

Day 238 - Sandy

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This is Sandy.   We met at the park, where he was out walking his dog, Henry.  Actually, I sort of approached Sandy and Henry at the very moment Henry was doing his doggy business, and for that reason, I don't think Henry was all that pleased with me.

"Henry went outside today," Sandy answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.  I gathered from Sandy's statement that Henry is in training.

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Sandy's recent act of kindness is that he purchased shaving cream so that his daughter could swirl-color Easter eggs. (I'm running behind. This was Easter.)

"I'm really devoted to my wife and daughter," Sandy answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Sandy something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "I taught Henry how to go outside."

Thank you, Sandy & Henry.

 

Day 239 - Erik.

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This is Erik.  We met at a restaurant where my friends had taken me for my birthday dinner. Erik was our server.

The happiest thing happening in his life right now is spending time with his 9 year old daughter.

When I asked Erik if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness, he answered, "my whole life I've been on the giving end."  Erik then explained that he was on the receiving end of an act of kindness when he got this new job.

"To be a good example for my kids," Erik answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Erik something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered that he played in the NFL for 9 years. If he looked familiar to you, you were right!  This is Erik Wilhelm, quarterback.   Erik played for OSU and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.  He then went on to play for the Phoenix Cardinals and NY Jets!  You can learn more about Erik's football career here.  But, he's so nice, you could probably just ask him about it in person at The Top Shelf in Vancouver!

I thought it was pretty cool that a former NFL player was just an awesome, humble man who just wants to be a good influence for his kids.

I just never know who I'm going to meet in this project!

Thank you, Erik!

 

Day 240 - Alan

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This is Alan.  We met at the bus stop. Unfortunately, our interaction was quite brief because the bus arrived just as we got started.

"My job," Alan answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

It turned out that Alan is an acquaintance of one of my co-workers!  I love it when that happens!

Thank you, Alan.

 

Day 241 - Brenden

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This is Brenden.  We met on the street.  Does this picture make you think of the "Ponyboy" movie picture too? (The brunette Ponyboy.)

The happiest thing happening in Brenden's life right now was that he and his girlfriend just moved into their first place.  For Brenden, it's actually the first time that he's had a residence to call his own.  He's been living on his own since High School, but he's been staying on friend's couches and now he's happy to have his very own place.

I asked Brenden if he's recently performed an act of kindness or if he's been on the receiving end of an act of kindness and he explained that he was recently on the receiving end of an act of kindness  when his boss gave him sort of a gift/bonus of $100 so that he could go to Seattle.  Brenden had never been to Seattle and his boss knew that Brenden really couldn't afford to go, so he gave him an extra $100.  Brenden loved seeing Seattle for the first time!

"To make people laugh," Brenden answered, when I asked his life's purpose.  Brenden has aspirations to be a comedian.  It was tough choosing a picture to show you.  Given Brenden's aspirations in comedy, I thought I should share one of the more light-hearted, laughing pictures, but I chose this one because he did a great squinch and I just felt there was a lot more to Brenden.  This picture shows his depth.  And, I think it does remind me of Ponyboy.

"The fact that I'm still laughing," Brenden answered, when I asked something about himself which he would consider to be a success.  Life hasn't been easy for Brenden, but not only is he still standing and laughing, but his life's purpose is to give laughter to others as well.

Thank you, Brenden.  Wishing you luck and success!

 

Day 242 - Tucker

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This is Tucker.  This was another short, too short, interaction as his bus arrived after the very first question I asked.

"I just got accepted into college," Tucker answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Thank you, Tucker!

 

Day 243 - Travis

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This is Travis. We met on the street.

"I have a girlfriend," Travis answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Travis had just been on the receiving end of an act of kindness just moments before we met.  He was riding his bike and accidentally dropped his seat cover which he had removed and placed in his pack.  Another cyclist picked it up, chased after Travis,  and returned the seat cover.

"Be kind," Travis answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Travis something about himself which he would consider to be a success, I read a look of complete satisfaction come across his face.  He reached up his hands, petted his beard and answered with a grin, "this beard."  Yes, that is a successful beard, even by Portland standards.

Thank you, Travis!

 

Day 244 -  Chris

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This is Chris.  We met at the convenience store where he was working. Chris saved the project which was 8 minutes away from failure!

This was not a good day.  An earlier trip to the dentist left me in so much pain that I didn't feel like going out in search of a subject. I decided that my husband would be the person of the day.  We only had a few minutes minutes for me to take his picture before he had to leave for work. Already pressed for time, my camera started doing some weird stuff I had never seen it do!  I've still only scratched the surface on how to operate my new camera and because it's several steps up from my first camera, it's much easier to really screw things up, especially because I'm still learning!  I wasted several of our few short minutes together, trying to figure out what I had done wrong with the camera settings.  I finally managed to get a picture.

I didn't sit down to process the picture and post it on instagram until after 11:00 pm.  When I saw the condition of the picture, I was pretty upset that I couldn't even take a decent picture of my own husband.  It was awful...probably the most unflattering photo of him ever! I've seriously taken better pictures of him when he's been sound asleep with the dog, and the dog is practically sleeping on my husband's head and smooshing his face into the pillow. (Any picture where a dog is asleep on another person's head is a good picture.)   I knew my husband would eventually get over me posting such a horrible picture, but I just couldn't do that to him. It would have been embarrassing for us both.

Still in terrible pain, I got dressed and headed for the convenience store nearest my house in search of a new subject.   It seemed like the only people there were under-age kids and with a few exceptions, everyone in the project has been an adult.  I asked the cashier if I could take his picture for the project, but he was beyond camera shy.  No amount of encouragement on my part, could convince him to let me take his picture. He would have made for a great subject, but he wasn't having any of it. I totally understand that some people don't want to be on the internet and I completely respect that and I don't push it when I sense that Ive met someone who is opposed to social media/internet. I just got the sense this guy was lacking confidence and that with enough encouragement, he would let me take his picture. Ultimately, I was hoping I'd take a great picture of him and it would help to boost his self-esteem.  I even explained that the fate of the entire project was resting on his portrait, but he declined.

I was hurting so much, I felt like I only had two options. End the project, or post the awful picture of my husband.  I decided to suck it up and consider a 3rd option...I could race to the other nearest convenience store and hope there would be someone there.  So, I did it!  I made it to the other store with less than 10 minutes before midnight.  I rushed through the door of the store, in pain and probably looking desperate. I quickly explained to the cashier that I only had a few minutes to take a picture of a person before midnight, for my 365 Day project. I asked Chris he would let me take his picture and he agreed, and he did so with a smile and kindness! I was so happy to have met Chris!

"Spending time with my son," Chris answered, when I asked the happiest thing happening in his life right now.

Chris' recent act of kindness is that he babysat 7 kids!  A friend of his was going into the hospital to deliver a baby and Chris watched her other children and the children of those close to her so that they could also go and support her during her delivery.  See, he is a great guy!

"To try to uphold my values and morals," Chris answered, when I asked his life's purpose.

When I asked Chris something about himself which he would consider to be a success, he answered, "my time working here."

Thank you, Chris!  Thank you for your kindness and for saving the project.  You are awesome!

 

Here's a summary of the life's purposes of the subjects from this week:

  • I'm really devoted to my wife and daughter.
  • To be a good example for my kids.
  • To make people laugh.
  • Be kind.
  • To try to uphold my values and morals.

Thank you!

365 Day People Picture Project - Week 47

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

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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

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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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG0w4jr_Dpc

 

Day 325 - Alex

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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:

  1. Alexander S. Hormann - Solo
  2. Lazy Finger - The band he's in with his Girlfriend
  3. Vince Yawn - Punk
  4. 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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Thank you!