Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the sixth of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration. See more of my nature-inspired
These delicate pink and white swaying petals seem to drip emotion as they hang like fragile hearts from their thin branch. The softness of these sweet flowers seems to magically open the hearts of viewers.
The dangling pastel gems are a poignant reminder of how vulnerable we are as humans. How everyone, no matter what background or history, has their own inner struggle. Each story is equal because human suffering is relative to the individual’s perception.
These gentle, bleeding hearts point to the importance of suspending judgment from anyone, because we cannot see their past journey or the battle they may still be waging within. We can’t see what’s inside someone else’s heart unless they share their story with us.
These bleeding hearts herald us to be sensitive to the perspective of others, especially when they seem shadowed by misery. If we all wore our emotions on the outside like these pink and white delicacies, perhaps we’d be more open to listening, less quick to react with negativity, more willing to join together in compassionate solidarity.
Whatever’s in our hearts, whether our intent is sincere or clouded by negativity, the effect can be felt by others. What’s in our hearts decides our joy or misery. The heart is where success and happiness begin. Neglecting this, our lives easily become shrouded in the lower worlds of greed, anger and stupidity, causing us and those around us to suffer.
The power of the heart is extraordinary. The vast potentials existing in our lives, or all the phenomena of possible outcomes, are determined by what kind of intent or prayer we hold within our heart.
Polishing the heart is the first step toward being able to become happy and empowered. This is the way we get stronger and more able to help others tap their potential. This is the persuasive influence of the human heart.
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Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the first of my photo essay series featuring images from my newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
I enjoy taking nature photos because each captured image represents my excitement, joy and appreciation for the wondrous beauty available within an ordinary moment. My pictures are symbolic of my personal dreams and inner prayers for experiencing life to its maximum potential.
It helps that I live in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky, surrounded by agricultural and horse farms, near enough to the Kentucky Horse Park that I can ride my bike there. I also lived in sunny Florida for half my life, enjoying the gorgeous beaches of Venice, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Clearwater and Dunedin.
I snapped the photo above at Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota, during a sunset walk with a friend, determined to capture the serenity of the sun’s gentle departure beyond the horizon. This memory reminds me of my sincere friend, who graciously spent the weekend with me there to literally force me to enjoy some relaxation in between my whirlwind of events surrounding that time period.
The kindness of my friend’s compassionate gesture, the therapeutic nature of the deep, pulsing waves of the water, the setting of the sun as it sprayed its pastel wash of colors across the sky, and my deep love for Sarasota, as the place my Buddhist practice began (the starting point of hope in my life), exist within this momentary pause. Just as an entire lifetime of memories, personality, knowledge and emotion are represented within a person’s name, a single photo is full of kaleidoscopic meaning.
My photos are about slowing down enough to take one, solitary second out of a busy life to celebrate myself, my progress, this chapter, and the hope of the next one. It’s about letting my creative heart lead in my daily life, not my head.
I don’t compare my nature photography to other great photographers. Though I admire and deeply respect the works of others who’ve dedicated their lives to mastering technique and skill, that is not what inspires me.
I began taking photos because I was deeply moved by Daisaku Ikeda’s photography and underlying philosophy. He doesn’t claim to be a professional photographer. He began taking photos to commemorate experiences with others and leave something behind to encourage them.
I bring my photos to YourCreativeChord with a similar hope and intent; to inspire us to continually expand our lives by letting our true authenticity be the ultimate authority of our creative process. My photos are about seeing the world through the lens of my Greater Self (not my lesser self, ego).
I share my nature photography as a way of recognizing and celebrating our universal yet vulnerable point of human connection, and to experience the rejuvenating power of nature’s beauty within my images.
My photography is meant as an example of courageous creative exploration, as that is a prime point for me as a creator. I blog and podcast about the importance of allowing creative adventures, setting aside the theoretical mind, to allow one’s heart to express itself, unhindered by any limitation.
I’m a writer, poet and composer, but I venture into photography without my thinking hat. Instead, I bring childlike wonder and profound appreciation for nature’s astonishing allure.
I want to share this with you as a way of encouraging you to see your world as the artist within you knows it to be. When you see my photos, my hope is that it sparks your belief in your own creative vision. Enjoy the view.
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In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.