Hello, friends! I'm hoping that you guys had an amazing end of year, and welcomed 2012 in grand style. In our house, it was a quiet, low-key holiday, spending lazy days and fun evenings with friends and family, topped off with a spontaneous staycation for the 3 of us at a local hotel for New Year's Eve, with a spectacular view of fireworks. It was an awesome, family-and-friend-focused week, and I was so grateful for it.
Speaking of which...
If you've been around here for a while (or read The Beauty of Different), you know that I'm a huge proponent of practicing gratitude -- especially on a daily basis. For many years now, I've made sure to take some time at the end of every day, before falling asleep, to think about something that has made me happy during the day -- sometimes it's just that I wore my favourite pair of jeans; other times it might be something big, like celebrating a birthday or an anniversary. In 16 years, I've never failed to come up with something, and to be honest, this habit has changed my life -- not only has it made more more aware and present in my day-to-day life, it has made me more proactive: sometimes I create happy moments (like making the perfect cup of tea) especially during tough times, so that I know that at night I'll have something certain for which to be grateful. And over time, by creating this dedicated practice, I've become a far happier person.
So during my week off, as I was brainstorming the sorts of things that I wanted to do with Chookooloonks for the coming year, I decided that the beginning of the year would be a great time to launch a community gratitude practice, one I decided to call gratitude.2012. gratitude.2012 is a monthly, subscription-based newsletter, designed to do three equally-awesome things:
1. gratitude.2012 will help you initiate and maintain a gratitude practice through photography, by taking the time to capture simple moments that make you happy with your camera. Each month you'll receive a prompt based on a theme to meditate on and photograph.
2. gratitude.2012 will help you learn more about photography. So many of you gave me feedback about wanting to learn how to improve your photography, so this newsletter will contain monthly tips and tricks and technical advice on how to take better pictures; and
3. gratitude.2012 will help change the world. Because I believe in trying to make the world a better place any way we can, so 40% of the subscription fee will be donated to help support Kiva, an organization designed to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty around the globe. You can learn more about Kiva here, and how your money will be used here.
(And incidentally, if you're not convinced that a gratitude practice can change your life, this past week I quite serendipitously and coincidentally stumbled across the following video by Australian photographer Hailey Bartholomew, about her own gratitude practice and upcoming documentary, called 365grateful. Her thoughts echo everything I've experienced, and I totally cosign her words.)
Please join me, friends. I'd love to have you.