I'm learning how pain does not always equal "bad".
So, I let myself feel it.
When it hurts, don't run from it.
I've been thinking about that. Rarely in life are we told to lean into pain, embrace it, like a good workout that burns. Those ones that make me moan out loud.
The pain and sadness will hit us. Like waves. When it comes, let it. When it goes, let it. I think that's why I love the water so much. It speaks so much without saying a word. I get it. When I watch the waves come and go, the tide ebb and flow.
So much like life.
And then you find treasures from the sea. Treasures you didn't ask for. I pick them up and hold them close and whisper thanks. I feel the wind on my face, smell the sea, that I love, but always remember it is a place from which so much good and harm comes from.
So much like life.
I get washed with an overwhelming wave every week or two:
so, SO amazed by life. (by God)
All the events that line up and lessons I learn and people I talk to- makes me so thankful, excited and amazed about life, I want to cry. And I do cry, like now. :)
It's so deep and reckless, good and painful.
Life is so good.
I hope I can always say that.
I flew to the West Coast last week to visit family, celebrate birthdays, my sister's 10th anniversary, work on my house, and do some rad photo jobs. Nothing like shooting a proposal under a waterfall, going sailing afterwards and jumping off the boat at sunset. If you want to know what living the dream looks like to me, this is it:
The events that stick out most to me are the ones where people were engaged (no pun intended) and connected, sharing our most real and vulnerable moments. No holding back, nothing polished, everything real and raw and beautifully accepted. That is where I feel most alive, in those moments- especially the one when sitting on top of the roof with my awesome brothers & sis and a few equally awesome friends. We passed around a guitar for everyone to take a turn playing while others laid on their backs, looking at the stars. Annie's strong voice sent chills up our spines... All phones were off, one guy even chucked his off the roof to keep the temptation to scroll out of reach.
We also went to family counseling that week, because let's be real, what family has it all together? The outcome was not solving or agreeing, but being real- sharing our perspectives, being heard, communicating, acknowledging hurts, asking and giving forgiveness.
I love that about love: fighting for each other, even in the times when you feel like foes. It hurts and I want to throw in the towel. But I'm learning not to. I know there are times you need to drop certain relationships. But for us, it was not that time. :)
This time, we didn't sweep pain under the rug. We owned it and moved on. We ran into the waves. This is why I wear a silver ring with a wave on it. Don't let me ever forget this.
As I flew home, I saw a lightening show from the sky. I had never seen anything like it. Made me realize how I can THINK I know what something is... like, "DUH, guys. I've seen lightning before, I know what it is."
But, not true. I only knew it from the ground. It's completely different from the sky. I didn't fully know it. It brought me back to realizing how much I will never know and how my perspective will be so different from another's if I haven't been through what they have been through.
How I must live in grace, empathy, love,
to be ok with not understanding.
I have disagreed with my mom on so many things, frustrated that we see things so, so opposite & both feeling hurt and misunderstood. But in that lightening moment somewhere in the sky between Seattle and Nashville, I felt peace. I knew I loved her, even if for the rest of our lives, we never ever saw things from the same plane (so full of puns today), and we blunder in our relationship over and over, I can rest, knowing that we are on different planes, and that's ok. Let it go and rest in knowing we're all so different.
WE NEED GRACE to live in peace together.
It's ok if I don't understand her, even though we try. No matter what, I can love anyway.
So thankful for that.
Love you, Mom. Happy Birthday in two days. :)
I came home and told Sonia (who I farm with) that they were the best days of my life. She laughed, shook her head and said "Oh but that's what you always say."
I was welcomed back to Nashville with a smile, as usual. This city just won't stop winning me with it's creativity , opportunity, and sunrises, dang it. My heart is definitely in both places.
Met with Cameron Powell for some of the best business mentorship I've had, right up there with my Dad's. So thankful for him and the way he understood where I'm at in the hustle, offering insight and encouragement, cutting away the drain of the industry and grind. He brought my focus back to the heart of things. He nailed it, honestly- why I do what I do. "You love hearing people's stories, getting to know them on a real level, being with them during their most vulnerable moments: supporting them on their wedding day. You want to build trust. You make the wedding day for them, because you know who runs the show on the wedding day, right? You do."
I walked away feeling grounded, reminded of the heart and soul of my brand...
The adventure of getting to someone's heart & journey, and capturing that.
His advice came to mind just today, when I was offered a media job that would bring me 2k a week, but clearly didn't fit into my brand. So I made the call, and turned it down. It was hard, but felt so right.
In the end, for me, it almost has nothing to do with the photography. It has to do with knowing their name, their favorite music, their fears, goals, dreams, and to enter that place with them.
That's what it's all about. Don't ever let me forget that.