“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Suppose to Be and Embrace Who You Are
Rather than give a day-by-day account of my Shutter Sisters Oasis experience, I am going to focus my reflections on themes and stories within the story. With that said, the image above was taken on day 1 of Oasis as I and four other intrepid photographers destined for Palm Springs converged at gate 19 in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.
We'd figured out in advance that we were all on the same connecting flight to Palm Springs and after a flurry of text messages and scanning the crowded gate for tentative waves, a look, a familiar face, we all found eachother.
Within seconds of the last one arriving, one of the girls began coralling us into a huddle and we knew exactly what to do. The iphones came out and we started snapping pictures of our feet.
I don't know who started this thing about shooting photographs from "where we/I stand" but it has caught on and some of my Oasis friends have taken it to an absolute art form.
I'm sure our little circle of bowed heads must have looked odd to passers-by who probably assumed we were having a pre-flight prayer. Judging by so many comments made over the course of the week by my cohorts, there was a lot of fear in anticipation of this event but not on account of airplanes (or what can go wrong with them).
There was a reason Brene Brown's latest book Daring Greatly was a current favorite among the "sisters" - encouraging each of us to push beyond shyness, introversion, insecurity, etc... to play in what Brene refers to as "the arena."
If I heard someone mention how outside this event was from their "comfort zone" once, I heard it a thousand times. As much as we all wanted to be there together, there was something about it that also scared us to death. For those of us quaking in our Chuck Taylors (also a "thing" among the sisters) at the thought of putting ourselves, our photography, and our art out there among infinitely talented, cool, awesome people the phrase "daring greatly" had become something of a mantra.
And so I thought it was appropriate to include a quote from Brene in today's post.
In fact, the entire reason I found myself at Shutter Sisters Oasis in the first place can be traced back to my discovery of Brene's work. This blog evolved from a combined interest in photography and the desire to connect to a community of folks with the same interest.
Community and belongingness are key components in Brene's findings on what helps us live happy, whole-hearted lives. Here just slightly over a year later after discovering the Shutter Sisters, this idea of community for me has gone from the abstract to the tangible. That transition was only made possible by a willingness to take a risk, be vulnerable and show up in the arena as Brene suggests.
While I don't know who started the whole "from where I stand" thing, I do suspect I know why. It is a mindfulness thing - a way of saying, here I am in this place, at this time, with these people (or alone). It is a way of grounding oneself, if you will, in the moment - being ok with, and honoring what is as a way of combating feelings that arise from believing that things are not what they are supposed to be.
From where I stand, here in my jammies after noon on a Sunday and being perfectly fine with it, I'd say it works.