Project Athena - Day 365!!!!!

Endings and Beginnings

I have been considering all year what I would say when it came to this final day of Project Athena. Now that it's here, I just find myself in a place of stillness and gratitude. I remember every single photograph that was taken, the details of what I experienced, who I met along the way, the technical lessons, and of course, how it felt to be there in that moment. This has been one of the most valuable gifts I have allowed into my life. It has changed me. I feel myself to be more confident, aware, determined, open, and focused. There were many "truths" revealed along the way and a few formidable "ah-has" that stand out:

First, to commit to an activity that requires showing up every single day for a year was a challenge in many ways for me. I hate being controlled, even if it is by my own commitments. But there was genuine fun, passion and joy for me in shooting and writing everyday and that was the moxie propelling me forward. My biggest temptation to quit came when I injured my back and the physical pain zapped my creativity. I considered using this life event as an excuse to withdraw from the whole project. I am so glad now that I didn't let that become a snag that kept me from achieving my aspiration. Instead, I let the pure enjoyment of shooting and writing be the remedial balm that kept me motivated to heal. And today, I am completely pain free.

Second, there is not one experience, choice, achievement, mistake or event in a life stream that can wholly define a person. We may choose to attach ourselves to certain stories that we think give meaning to our existence here, but life is too grande to let a moment in time decide our essence. This project was a moment in time. The achievement feels wonderful. The memories contribute to this life stream. And at the end of the day, who I am can't be put into a tidy little box of accomplishments. When I am 95, I will remember this year as the the one I decided to pick up a camera and open my eyes to the world in a new way. It was the beginning of some things and the ending of others. It was the year I decided that my value in the universe is innate, the year I finally let go of trying to prove I am worthy of love and belonging.

What comes next? For me, this is just the beginning of my photography calling. I plan to continue shooting everyday that I can, learning from books and mentors, and I am putting out the intention to photograph certain subjects in more depth. I foresee travel in my future. I foresee submitting photos and writing to various publications. And I foresee continuing to blog. So stay tuned. If you are a subscriber to this blog, I will send you an invitation to whatever comes next.

To everyone who made this project possible with your love, support, inspiration, encouragement and comments, THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART!!!! You let me into your year, your days, you lives and your hearts. This is an honor and a privilege I do not take lightly. I hope you enjoy this final photo of Project Athena!

Poudre River
Fujifilm X-E2 • Fuji XF18-135mm lens • 18mm • F/20 •  45s • ISO 200 • ND Filter