Today was the opening retreat of Term Student. Term Student is a thing that we do in my Zen Buddhism lineage in the Autumn to dig a little deeper into our practice. It begins with an all day meditation retreat and ends, a few months later with another retreat. Part of what we do is talk about our karmic, spiritual, or factual history. Kind of as a way of getting to know each other, but also as a way of making connections within ourselves.  I love this time of digging deeper because I always learn new things about myself.

As people were talking about their lives I realized something important about myself. And now that I am thinking about it it seems pretty obvious, but I will write about it anyway. 🙂

It has always been very important to me to have a community of friends in my life, and indeed, I’ve always figured out how to make this happen for myself. From the time I was a child, hanging out with my little gang from the neighborhood, to now, with my posse of film photography and pinhole photography buddies from around the world. And in my spiritual life, a lot of what has attracted me to various practices has been community. Community and connection with other humans is what drives me creatively. I believe that when one is expressing themselves creatively they do so for the benefit and to communicate with others as a kind of soul to soul communication. When I am in a state of depression, the lie that my brain pelts me with is, “People don’t like you. You are unloved.” Depression tells me this lie because connection is one of my highest values, if not the highest. I am crazy introverted, but I long to connect with community. My soul needs it like my body needs water.

I feel like this is an important insight. Like I said, it seems obvious now that I’ve noticed it, but for some reason I’ve never been able to really see it as something that is so important.

And on that note, this is my 100th post in my “100 days” project for 2017. I think this is a great way to end this project. I have enjoyed my daily ritual of posting here everyday, as always. But it is time for a little break. You know I will be back very soon though. 🙂 I can never stay away long.

Think Global, Act Local

Photography, Writing

“Think Global, act local.” Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.


My take on this is different from what is probably meant by the author of this prompt. Hopefully it won’t seem shallow. On the surface it might seem that way but I believe there is something very profound going on. It is hard for me to express exactly what that is at this point. I think the idea is still percolating inside of me.

Before I go on I need to say that I do believe in the classic sentiment of “Think global, act local.” I believe that it is important to do your part to make sure our world is livable for future generations. It can be an overwhelming endeavor and sometimes I don’t really even know where to start. Throwing that glass bottle in the recycling bin feels so empty when I look up at Mt. Hood and see the lack of snow on it in the summer (when 20 years ago there was so much more of it). It feels like my small act does nothing. I am told that it does, but it’s hard for me to see that. But I do believe very much in the spirit of this statement and I will continue to do my part.

Ok, with that out-of-the-way, here is what instantly bubbles to the surface of my gray matter when I read this statement:

The film photography community.

It took me awhile to realize there was a global community of film photographers. I kept seeing this “believeinfilm” tag on everything but didn’t really think anything of it. Eventually I figured it out and started connecting with people. These connections continue to grow everyday and it seems like it has taken on a life of it’s own. It’s amazing. I am meeting really incredible (and creative) people all over the planet. And they are good people! Good souls. I feel like I have found my tribe, if that makes any sense at all. For the first time in my life I feel like I fit in somewhere. I have never felt this before. I have always been the square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

I think about the fact that this is such a far reaching global community of people. I am kind of blown away by this when I think about it. Only in this day and age could this happen, thanks to the internet and social media. The internet has brought this group of people all over the world together. How incredible. I think about the fact that I can have a real time conversation with somebody on the other side of the globe and it blows my mind. I’m sure that this is because I am old enough to know what things were like before the internet, so I can appreciate the technology. I imagine this is how people felt when the telephone was invented :). But not only can I converse with one person I can converse with groups of people who live in far reaching corners of the world. This is the part that is really cool, I think. I often have dreams about Twitter and FB. In my dreams Twitter is this really cool house party and I am hanging out with all of my Twitter friends and having a great time.

I think this global community is a beautiful thing. We are people who are drawn together by an interest – film photography, and we support each other in our creative endeavors. Instead of tearing each other down we support each other. How awesome is that? Why can’t the rest of the world be like that?

When a group of people are supporting each other in a positive way globally it affects an individual on a local level. Because of my positive interactions with my film photography friends I go out into the “real world” and spread that positivity around to others around me. And maybe some of this positivity will help me feel less overwhelmed about my small part in taking care of the planet too.

Because love is a recursive function. When you give it it multiplies and spreads out in ways we don’t even see.

Note: The photo above is from my first film swap with Brendan from Aware of the Void. I think these film swaps play into these thoughts that I have on this global connection, but I will write more about that in a later post.  You can see more film swap photos here