a moment of peace

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Last week, when I was on the High Line with my friend Alice, as I was taking photographs of the scenery with my huge camera, she was capturing images with her camera phone.  She shared that when she's out and about, she takes quick shots with her camera phone for inspiration, so that she has them for the next time she has a moment's peace with her art journal.

After a while, we sat down on one of the park benches, and she actually pulled out her journal for me to see.  She 's been sketching all of her life, but it's only recently that she's returned to it as a practice, finding true joy in just the focused attention of drawing for drawing's sake.  As she spoke about this, her eyes sparkled:  it was so amazing to watch her talk about what she loved, and seeing the beautiful evidence of her work right in front of me.  I remember feeling so much happiness for her, for discovering what lights her up.

I must admit, however, I also felt a bit of wistfulness:  what she is experiencing is exactly how I used to feel about photography and blogging -- they were things I simply did for the joy of just doing them, and for no other reason.  When I reported to an office every day, I used the blog as my way of finding joy:  I wrote about things that made me happy because, well, it made me happy.  I photographed simply because I loved photography.  But lately, things have changed:  while I still love what I do, more and more photography and blogging are becoming things I have to do for my job, not things I love to do for my spirit.    And this is concerning.

The truth is, I need a break.  I've been going at breakneck speed for months now, boarding planes almost every week for the past 3 months or so, putting together talks and writing for other sites, all the while hardly skipping a beat when it comes to updating Chookooloonks.  I find myself forcing uplifting posts when I just don't feel it, and grabbing the camera out of duty, rather than out of joy.  And as I look ahead, my schedule isn't easing up much for a while:  I have a couple of out-of-state speaking engagements scheduled for August, and then, of course, a huge trip in October.  After my recent schedule, it feels rather overwhelming.

So I'm giving myself a moment of peace:  I'm committing to myself that I'm not going to update Chookooloonks for at least a week, and then at the end of the week, I'll see how I feel -- I might be ready to post then, or I might take a few more days.  And while I obviously could just disappear without saying a word, I know that some of you use Chookooloonks for your own moments of peace, so I figured I owed you fair warning.  It is, after all, the least I could do.

So, thanks for your indulgence, friends.  While I'm gone, here's a sampling of Alice's beautiful work.  Enjoy her lovely art while I get a firmer handle on my out-of-control schedule, and perhaps even squeeze in a little rest and restoration.

I'll see you when I return.

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