Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Thoughts on Gratitude: Images of Appreciation

I have been thinking a lot about gratitude recently.

I have never found it hard to find things to be grateful for. I really enjoy expressing my appreciation for (and to) the people in my life. I count my many blessings every day (well, some of them ... I'd be there all day, if I counted them all!) And every day, I discover more.
That's the thing with gratitude. It's self-nurturing; it nurtures itself, in that being grateful makes us grateful, makes us notice things to be grateful for.
But it also nurtures our Self.

And recently, I have had cause to think even more about gratitude, to be even more grateful.

I am grateful to have started last week by reading Joanna Young's thought-provoking post, 12 Reasons to Enjoy Writing with Gratitude:

Gratitude adds an additional quality or dimension to your writing.

Setting gratitude as the purpose for my writing changes the way that I write,
the way that I work, and the way that I feel.

Joanna explains how thankfulness boosts serotonin, how gratitude shapes our language and our world, helps us learn and reflect and has value for others.
Although writing specifically about the concept of writing with gratitude, Joanna's words are filled with her beautiful, grateful spirit and spill over into thankfulness for life ... the wonderful Mahalo, expressed every day in word and action by Joanna and her friends, Rosa Say and Amy Palko.

Joanna explains how gratitude helps us to pay attention: "It's a mindset that gets you to notice things, to figure out the detail of what was so special, to identify the spectacular in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary. Working this into your writing helps to make your words vivid and real."

... to identify the spectacular in the everyday, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.

These words speak to me of Amy Palko, who truly lives her life less ordinary. She relishes each and every moment she experiences, embraces each and every person she meets and rejoices in sharing it all.

I am grateful to be a member of the Photography Less Ordinary group on Flickr, started (and lovingly nurtured) by Amy. The images shared are diverse and fascinating and truly inspiring. I have realised how creative photography is; I have learned that the pleasure of photography lies not simply in taking a photograph.
I am grateful to have discovered photography (and particularly Amy's fantastic group) for so many reasons:

The Joy of Discovery

Simply being out in the fresh air is an excellent benefit of photography. (I swear all the time I have spent enjoying fresh air and exercise recently has boosted my immune system, having survived a houseful of poorly people last week ... without even a sniffle!)

The more we look for beauty, for the spectacular or the extraordinary, the more we find; the more we find, the more we look.

The discovery of something beautiful or fascinating is an incredible high. But the journey of discovery is equally exciting.

Capturing a Moment

Taking photographs and seeing those taken by other people, makes me appreciate things I might usually pass by without a second thought.

Photography makes me look at things from different perspectives.

A permanent image gives us a chance to really appreciate something, to think about it in different ways.

Sharing Images and Thoughts

I love that uploading photographs onto the computer is yet another discovery.

And sharing images with other people is a further voyage of discovery as we all have different perspectives of an image, or different images of the same perspective, or images inspire different thoughts.

Photography is all about learning: learning about photography itself, about the things or people we photograph, about the world around us, our environment, ourselves ...

Endless learning. Awesome Beauty. Infinite Gratitude.

So much about photography makes me think of Rosa Say and her wonderfully infectious spirit of Mahalo, the Hawaiian value of Living in Thankfulness:

Mahalo means “thank you” and as a value Mahalo is appreciation and gratitude as a way of living. We live in thankfulness for the richness that makes life so precious at work and at home. Mahalo is the opposite of indifference and apathy, for it is the life perspective of giving thanks for what you have by using your gifts — and all of your gifts — in the best possible way.

Photography has encouraged me to be more aware of the beauty and richness around me. And to be more thankful for it. It allows me to revel in my sense of wonder and curiosity and to express my appreciation. It grounds me in the moment and fills me with gratitude.
Joanna's post was inspired by Rosa:

Rosa epitomises graceful, quiet, thoughtful and meaningful gratitude. You'll hear her saying, "mahalo" often. And you'll watch her living her values: appreciation and gratitude as a way of living.

And Joanna's lovely warm words of appreciation and gratitude have inspired me to think about my own thankfulness. Rosa, Joanna and Amy have all epitomised Aloha and Mahalo for me since I first met them.

They also inspire the values of ‘Ohana (those who are family, and those you choose to call your family ... a human circle of complete Aloha), Ha‘aha‘a (humility and open-mindedness) and ‘Ike loa (the value of learning and of continuous improvement, where life-long learning and the seeking of more knowledge is an on-going passion.)

This post has been written with gratitude and appreciation to Joanna, Amy and Rosa, because it was inspired by you and the values I see you living and sharing.


Well, I have had problems again uploading photos onto Blogger. The one at the top of this post uploaded without any problems but I have spent hours trying to upload some more, which is frustrating as they seemed to fit the words perfectly and I love mixing words and images.

Plus, I'm not sure what publishing will do to the spacing, having managed to upload one picture.

I'm really sorry if the spacing makes it difficult to read!

You can see the pictures on Flickr.

The Joy of Discovery

A Different View

Another Discovery

Another Perspective

Sharing Perspectives

A Moment of Reflection and Appreciation

Plus some gorgeous, inspirational images from Amy Palko, Joanna Young and Rosa Say.



Rosa Say said...

Dianne, what an extraordinary gift you have given Joanna, Amy and I with this posting! Mahalo nui loa.

I have totally enjoyed learning Flickr with you, for one thing Amy's fabulous group has done is put us on very similar timetables- not in regard to our time zones, but certainly with our learning curves and playful fascination with photography and the sharing capacity of Flickr. As one of my friends there, your updates automatically load to my home page, and it has been a daily treat to see your joy mirrored and amplified in mine. I have a deep sense of mahalo for you Dianne, and for your warm sunshine, beaming so radiantly to bless me with the aloha which is pure you.

Your photos get better each and every day, and when I combine them with the words you share in your encouraging comments, I just know I will thrill to another Sunbeam Daisy day!

Liss said...

What a beautiful post. I think photography allows you to see beauty other missed but everyday people how are in a hurry to get to their destination. This beauty is reflected in your photography.
Your fellow "Photography Less Ordinary" friend. I must say thank you to you and all other members of the group for making me feel so welcome form the moment of my first post.

Moondreamer said...

Rosa, mahalo, my friend!

Thank you so much for your lovely comment, your wonderful warm words have really made my day!

You've made me feel extra sunny this morning, even though it's raining hard and very dark outside ... makes for dramatic skies and beautiful flower shots though, will have to go for a walk later!

I'm really glad you liked my post, my gift to you and my gift to everyone who reads my blog ... an introduction to three very special people! I hope they will come and enjoy the awesome images in your photostreams and perhaps be inspired as I have, to join in the fun on Flickr.

I love Flickr! It has reminded me how much of a playground life is as well as how blessed I am to be surrounded by such constantly amazing beauty, and it has been such a pleasure to share it with you ...

A friend may well be considered the greatest masterpiece of Nature!

(Paraphrasing the very lovely Ralph Waldo Emerson.)


Moondreamer said...

Liss (A lovely Memory Forever), thank you!

I'm so glad you visited and we have a link to your blog ... I hope readers here will check it out and also have a look at your fab photostream:

Am totally smitten by some of the images in your People set ... you have such a wonderful talent for capturing beautiful moments between people and conveying an individual's essence:

Yes, the Photography Less Ordinary folk are lovely, I'm so glad Amy set the group up ... it reminds me a lot of the community here on Blogger, always so encouraging and supportive. I really hope some of my blogging friends will think about trying Flickr. There are some very talented and thoughtful, thought-provoking people who visit here!


Joanna said...

Dianne, what a wonderful post. I think you have captured the spirit of photography and the essence of gratitude here. And thank you for including the thanks to me, Rosa and Amy.

I had been out on Friday seeing some friends and family and travelling back I had been thinking about you. How encouraging you have been to me on Flickr, and how much I value the input, smiles, teaching and shared pleasure that you have given me there. I had been going to say thanks and here you are, you've beaten me to it!

Thanks for a wonderful post, and for your exuberant spirit. I'm glad it's pouring out now in your photographs


Gosh, I suppose I'd better be grateful to Twitter too for helping me to find you :-)

Moondreamer said...

Joanna, thank you!

I'm so glad you think I've captured the spirit of photography and the essence of gratitude here as you have been such a great part of me understanding (and revelling in) both ... how lovely that we were both thinking thankful thoughts of each other at the same time!

I really hope this post inspires people to try flickr, it has brought me so much joy and so many learning experiences!

And Twitter too, I agree!


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