Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the seventh 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.
I love the changing colors of autumn in Kentucky. The colors vary from fading green, burnt orange, bright yellow, to vivid red and gold. The season’s brisk, cool air makes walking or cycling outdoors a refreshing excursion. Dependent on the crisp, changing winds, the sky incessantly morphs between clear blue with sporadic, cottony white clouds to expansive layers of shadowy grayness that intermittently blocks the sun.
Gazing upwards, this particular sky was like a sci-fi effect from a movie. The rich red fall leaves of the trees against a vast, grey force of a sky that seemed to be descending upon earth portrayed an ominous and dramatic scene. Yet, the sun poked its way through a large oval from within the darkest clouds, emitting a brightness that contrasted everything with its light.
This fall image reflected the struggle within my own heart between succumbing to the stress of my challenges or looking for that gleam of light behind it all. The sun, piercing its way through these heavy clouds in the sky brought me a transcendental message.
Rather than giving in to the darkness within my life, this photo reminds me to keep moving forward with hope. Shifting my focus to find light within the picture of my life, and challenging what’s ahead of me with the strength of that cheerful mindset gives me the necessary momentum for achievement. More than this, I gain personal development of my character.
I know how easy it can be to give in to negative self-talk, or be swayed by the suffering of others or the world. The contrast of the sun’s light piercing through grey clouds in this picture represents hope. Hope means believing in my ability to accomplish my goals and manifest my full potential as a creative person.
Having hope also means I believe in my capability to handle any obstacle, including transforming difficult relationships, financial, health, business problems, and psychological tendencies. Hope doesn’t end with belief in the self, but extends to the belief that others have the same positive, vast potential, too.
The light and color of this photo refines my mindset to find the good in myself and others. This good eventually translates into the power to win over all forms of darkness, through revering the inherent dignity within every living being.
This is not a flimsy, fantasy-based optimism, but rather, firmly grasping reality’s challenges with a determined spirit to move things toward the positive with relentless hope. It’s looking for the best in the situation, others and myself no matter how dismal things may seem. Finding that positivity and taking action based on this reality-grounded, spiritual optimism creates the light we need to break through to a new level for creating value.
For me, this photo’s message is simple; Look to the light.
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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.