#lookforthelight: april 2014

  My favourite April   Instagram shots  .

My favourite April Instagram shots.

One of the things I talk a lot about (and indeed, will spend some time on during the upcoming LimeLight Sessions here in Houston in October) is gratitude.  Indeed, I am convinced that gratitude is the key to living a more joyful life:  the practice of being grateful makes it easy to see the moments of joy in your life; furthermore, I think it helps when things aren't going as well as they could to spend some time noticing the moments are do bring you light.  Gratitude just works.

Now, I realize that statements like these can seem incredibly Pollyanna when you hear them -- after all, it's all well and good, you might think, that your life is going so well, Karen, but I'm actually dealing with things over here -- and I get it, I really do.  And trust me, I'm not the type of person that faces hardship by going, "Oh, well, at least I have my health!"  Sometimes pain, and stress, and heartache are real, and they need to be experienced and worked through.  But even during those times, I occasionally need a break -- and that's where gratitude can come in.  More specifically, that's where my daily mobile photography practice comes in.

That's the thing about mobile photography, isn't it -- we tend to photograph when we're grateful for something.  And the best part about it is that not only is the moment we capture the image a gratitude break, but revisiting the photographs can elicit the same thankful feelings.  I love that when I look at the photograph of the daisies, above, I remember how grateful I was at the time that I shot it not just for the flowers, but that I also acquiesced to Marcus choosing a much darker paint colour for our entryway than I had originally opted for.  I remember feeling gratitude for the fresh greenness of the hike-and-bike trail, and the dawn of spring (arguably Houston's best season).  I remember being thankful that my daughter was having such a great time with her cousins in my parents' pool, and I remember one sunny morning that I was happy I'd made the effort the weekend before to make the granola.  None of those things might have anything to do with any current stressors in my life; nonetheless, just looking at each of them provides me with a bit of break.

That's why I do #lookforthelight.

And that's also why I love doing a roundup of your light-filled photographs each month:  because I love imagining your feelings of gratitude as you stood in that moment to take the shot.  Because gratitude is, ultimately, contagious.

To that end, here are my favourites of your light-filled (gratitude-filled?) shots that you took this month.  Please be sure to click on the names of the photographers below each diptych, so you can really enjoy all of their work!

   Left:   @staceyechin  Right:   @tcashsnaps     

Left:  @staceyechin
Right:  @tcashsnaps


   Left:   @songbird70  Right:   @traceelaine     

Left:  @songbird70
Right:  @traceelaine


   Left:   @xantheb  Right:   @imtboo     

Left:  @xantheb
Right:  @imtboo


   Left:   @instawalkbuc  Right:   @mycreative     

Left:  @instawalkbuc
Right:  @mycreative


Thanks so much for sharing your light-filled lives.


Song:  Lights, music, stars by Just a Band

And thanks again to all of you who participated this month in #lookforthelight -- keep 'em coming!  If you'd like to participate and you have an Instagram account (it's free), simply grab shots of the light in your life with your mobile device, and add the hashtag "#lookforthelight" to your shot, either in the caption or in the comments.  I'll feature my 10 favourite shots again at the end of May here on Chookooloonks, giving lots of link love, naturally.  And of course, click here to see all the submissions (and feel free to follow along my own progress at heychookooloonks on Instagram!).