“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” ~ Pablo Picasso
I would like to give a warm welcome to all who visit, and to give thanks for your interest in this project. If this is your first time participating in an event like this, I will say that your soul is in for a special treat! I previously participated in several monthly photography prompts, and also participated in a wonderful project a few years ago by Carly Marie about capturing grief. My heart was so moved by what I experienced in those projects that I was inspired to create this one to share with you all! I hope you all enjoy it.
WHAT IS “CAPTURE YOUR HEART THROUGH ART” ABOUT?
How many of us have a routine that we follow daily? Most of us wake to blaring alarm clocks, consume massive amounts of caffeine just to get motivated, and then shift our thoughts to auto-pilot as we begin our duties. We hurry through the day focused on completing our scheduled tasks according the ticking hands adorning our watches and walls. By day’s end we are tired, stressed and preparing to repeat the same pattern again the following day. But when do we stop to appreciate the little things? When do we allow ourselves to just BE at peace for a moment in time? “Capture Your Heart Through Art” is a photography/art project about being present, capturing what moves you and enjoying the beauty in the mundane. There are 30 subjects, one for each day of the month of September, and a detailed description below to better explain what each subject represents. You are invited to share a photo that captures the essence of your heart’s energy as you stop to experience each of these precious moments along the journey. Please be mindful to read the details below, as they will assist in guiding you through the steps of this project. Remember to have fun, keep an open mind and be present in the moment.
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
HOW TO JOIN IN THE FUN:
First, let me reiterate that this project is meant to remind us to BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT, no matter when/where that moment may be. This is an interactive project designed to help each of us learn to fully appreciate our “normal day to day” and to find something to be grateful for in each day. With that said, you may be asked to do a little more than just take a photograph. You may also want to keep a journal or notebook to write down your thoughts and feelings as you experience each day. Please be aware that some of the prompts/subjects may require a bit of planning, such as sunrise, full moon, sunset, etc., so I advise you to read through all of the descriptions below carefully and plan accordingly. Please feel free to partake in this event as you so desire. Do not feel obligated to participate and/or share daily, as you may be drawn more toward some subjects and less to others, which is perfectly fine. Your creative interpretation of each prompt is strictly up to you, but I have provided some helpful details in the descriptions below to assist you with ideas pertaining to each. How you capture and share the special moments along your journey is also left to your discretion. You may choose to preserve your experiences with your phone, digital camera, or any other device. Additionally, you may choose to share your photos online (publicly or privately) through your favorite social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Blog, etc.), or any other web-based platform, or you may opt not to share them at all. Should you choose to share your photos online, please caption your post/photo with the project name, along with the chosen day/subject. For example: “Day 1: #Sunrise – #CaptureYourHeartThroughArt” (hashtags are optional). For those who decide to share their journey publicly, please note that the use of hashtags allows everyone participating in the event to easily access each other’s beautiful moments. I will be sharing photos from my journey publicly each day on my Facebook and Instagram pages. Facebook users, you are invited to share your photos in the comment section of each photo thread I share as well, should you choose to do so.
WHEN DOES THE FUN BEGIN?
September 1, 2017 marks the first day of the Capture Your Heart Through Art project. Remember that each numbered subject in the Photo Prompts photo above corresponds with that day of the month. Please understand that we are all in different parts of the world, therefore our time-zones and days may slightly differ. The purpose of this guide is merely to direct you to enjoy the moment you are capturing regardless of what time/day it is for others.
WHAT ABOUT THE RULES?
Rule #1 – THERE ARE NO RULES! This project is simply all about presence and enjoying the little things that this life has to offer…beauty in the mundane, so to speak. My only requests are that you: (A) RELAX and ENJOY each moment. Let your heart lead the way. If at any time you feel pressured to take and/or share a picture, you are not truly living in that moment. The photographs are simply meant to serve as mementos of our presence in each precious moment that we are alive. (B) Use your own photographs. Even if they are photos you may have taken previously, the purpose of this project is to fully enjoy and document your own personal journey, which will be different for each person. Appreciate that and be respectful to one another. We all have different lifestyles, interests, and paths. (C) Protect yourself and others. No nudity/lewd photographs. This should be common sense given that most of us will be sharing on public platforms, but I feel it necessary to specify out of an abundance of caution. Additionally, as one of the prompts is “Adolescence” be mindful that this involves children, and unfortunately, there are some predators who exist in this world. Be cautious of how and what you choose to share.
Sunrise – The sun’s energy brings all potential life from within the Earth. And just as each new day begins with a beautiful sunrise, so does our journey. No matter where you are in the world, make it a point to rise with the sun. Gaze upon its vibrant rays and bask in its energetic essence. Feel the warmth upon your skin. Breathe slowly and deeply, and enjoy the tranquil moments of silence as a new day begins. Silence the mind and appreciate the sound of nature around you, the scent of morning dew, and the vivid colors that chase away the darkened sky. To prepare for this, be sure to Google (in advance) the time of sunrise in your location. Even if bad weather interferes, do not let it prohibit you from enjoying this moment. Take a photo of your surroundings as the new dawn breaks the sky (visible sunrise or not) to mark the beginning of this project. Describe your energy today and what you felt as you watched the sunrise. If you share online, please be sure to post your location along with your photo.
Adolescence – There is something special about the innocence of adolescence…authentic souls untainted by the troubles of the world, carefree and pure at heart. Their spirits soar effortlessly, touching the lives of all who surround them with their beautiful glowing light. Many of our hearts have been changed forever by the birth of our children and the joy that they bring, while some of us have experienced the loss of our children and the toll that it takes on us. Take a moment to honor and appreciate the essence of those tiny beacons who selflessly share their love with the world. Enjoy their smiles and laughter and reflect on how special they truly are. Please be mindful that this photograph involves children, so sharing is left to your discretion.
Joy – Have you ever been walking somewhere, perhaps the grocery store, or through the park or other public place, and you spot something that instantly brings a smile to your face? Something that makes your heart flutter with joy and excitement. Pay attention to your surroundings today and when you spot something that brings you happiness, try to capture it and describe what you enjoyed about the moment. If you couldn’t capture it, no worries, feel free to use any other creative means to share your story instead. This also applies to any of the prompts below.
Gratitude – “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” ~ Eckhart Tolle | Blessings come to us in many different ways and take on many different forms. Incorporating gratitude into your daily life attracts even more blessings to be grateful for. Take a moment to reflect on everything your heart is grateful for and write those things down. Take a photograph of your list and, if you choose to, share it. You may choose to express the things you are grateful for in any other creative way you desire as well. (In addition to this project, you may even consider keeping a daily journal for this purpose. The abundance of happiness you will find in doing so may be life changing!)
Empowerment – We have all experienced something that made us feel completely alive in the moment, empowered and strong. Maybe it was an article or poem you read that moved you, or perhaps it was overcoming an obstacle or participating in an event for a great cause. Think about whatever it is that makes you feel a sense of strength, something that helps you face your fears. Take a picture of it, or use a previous photo you have to share with others and help to empower them as well.
Full Moon – The moon, being the closest astronomical body to Earth, has a profound effect on us. Unlike the masculine qualities of the sun, the moon represents the nurturing, feminine, emotional, and creative aspects of us. The Full Moon is powerful and intense, creating a perfect time for self-healing! This is the time to release anything is no longer needed in your life. It is also a wonderful time to release any aspect of yourself that you may have outgrown. It is important to let go of these things to make room for, and welcome the blessings that you attract. Center your heart and write down the things that no longer serve you. Take your list outside along with any special items you wish (i.e., crystals, sage, candles, etc.) and underneath the moonlit sky, repeat the things you have chosen to release back into the universe. [I, personally, like to do this every Full Moon cycle. I take my written intentions, along with a candle, abalone shell or fireproof dish and a bowl of water. I place my palms into the bowl of water as a symbol of self-cleansing, then read my intentions aloud and light the corner of the page with the candle. I then place the burning page into the fireproof dish, allowing it to continue burning to ash, thereby releasing that energy back into the universe.] Affirm your heart’s desires and allow yourself time to feel the weight lifting away from you. Take a photo of the moonlit sky. Should you decide to share your picture online, be sure to post your location along with it.
Spark Ignited – After cleansing and recharging under the moonlight, we should feel refreshed and revitalized. One of the metaphysical qualities of the moon is its ability to increase our creative flow. What do you enjoy creating? What ignites that spark of passion within your heart? Whether you draw, paint, write, make music, dance, or anything else, let your imagination run wild and share a photo of your masterpiece with the world.
Favorite Book(s) – It is important to remember that the entire universe is connected. We can feel that connection in many different ways, sometimes even just reading a book. We often find solace in the words of others because we can either relate to their characters, their journey, wisdom and/or beliefs. Think about a book that you read that you completely resonated with. Share a photo of the book and describe the ways that it moved you.
Perception – “One has not only an ability to perceive the world but an ability to alter one’s perception of it; more simply, one can change things by the manner in which one looks at them.” ~ Tom Robbins | Have you ever looked at something and thought it so profound, so amazing that you instantly felt a sense of excitement about what you are seeing? Perhaps others around you may not have had the same reaction because they perceived it differently. As your day progresses, pay attention to your surroundings. Look for the beauty in simplicity. When you see something that moves your heart, capture and share it with an explanation about the way you perceive it and what makes it special to you.
Sanctuary – Is there a place that you visit when you want to recharge and center your heart? A place that offers serenity and peacefulness that you can completely submerge your spirit into. Think about a sanctuary that you feel connected to, a place you go when you need balance and clarity. Perhaps it is a garden, park, lake, beach, forest, or some other type of sacred space that you hold near and dear. Share a photograph of that special place and explain how you feel when you are there.
Natural Beauty – Between magazines, television and social media, society is in a constant uproar about what defines beauty. We’re either too much or too little of something or another. Our outer shells are merely the vessels transporting our souls. It is what lies within our hearts that makes us beautiful! Each of us has a unique body with a special spirit. No matter your complexion, body shape/size, hairstyle, or any other feature, you ARE beautiful! Take a moment to appreciate the body you have been gifted in its natural state, no makeup, no filters, or any of the extras that society encourages us that we “need.” Take a selfie and write down all of the qualities that you appreciate about yourself.
Music Soothes the Soul – Science all but confirms that humans are hard-wired to respond to music. It is not a tangible thing, you cannot hold it in your hands or even see it in a physical sense. Yet we have spent majority of our existence creating beautiful instruments, melodies and sounds that have the power to soothe our souls. That moment you feel emotions coursing through your heart while listening to music that moves you, you are experiencing the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is a signaling molecule in the brain. Think about a form of music that caused you to experience goosebumps/chills upon your skin. Perhaps it is a song, an instrument being played, a singer’s voice, etc. For this prompt, I invite you to share a recording, link or video of your favorite tune and give a brief explanation of what you feel while listening to it.
Perfect Imperfection – The Japanese practice an outlook of the world centered on the acceptance and adoration of transience and imperfection. This practice is called “Wabi-Sabi.” |“Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect” ~ Richard Powell. | Characteristics of the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, roughness, simplicity, and appreciation of natural objects and processes. Take a photo of something you find to be perfect in its imperfections and explain what you see in it.
Healing Waters – Water, is a great necessity, for without it nothing can live. Along with Earth, it has the ability to bring forth life itself. It is a purifier, with wonderful healing and cleansing energy. When we swim, water supports us. When we are thirsty, water hydrates us, the same as rainstorms do for the Earth. It is a free spirit flowing and shape-shifting as it so desires. Such is the greatness of water that spiritual regeneration cannot be done without it. Think of an aquatic location that gives you peace and comfort. If you can visit there today, do so and submerge yourself or your hands into the healing waters allowing yourself to be fully present in that moment. If you cannot visit today but have already gone to a location like this, feel free to share that instead.
Perseverance – When I think of the word “perseverance” I visualize a flower growing through a crack in the cement. It is a reminder that where there is a will to do something, there is a way. We merely have to believe we can achieve it. What have you overcome despite hardships and struggle? I invite you to share your story, along with any photos or other items that correspond to it. Or should you happen to see something today that resembles perseverance to you, capture and share what you discover.
Love – Love is the most powerful emotion of all. It has the capacity to heal, to forgive, to encourage and to bring an abundance of joy to our lives. It is my hope that one day through love and acceptance we will change the world. Whether it is the love of your family, friend or romantic partner, take a picture with that special someone in your life and share with us why that person is so special to you. How have they captured your heart?
Light Up The Darkness – Much like everything in this world, we are subject to the law of duality. We each carry within us both light and darkness. It is merely our perception that causes us to see things as being positive or negative. But darkness can be beautiful too, for without it, there can be no light. For this exercise I invite you to be as creative as you wish. You may choose to draw/paint something, take a photo, write something, or anything else your heart desires, to represent the beauty found in the darkness. Share your art and give a short explanation of what you find beautiful about what you observed.
Current State of Soul – We are a little more than halfway through this project and I’d love to know where you are in your journey! Take a selfie to reflect your current state of soul. Explain how you feel, what you have learned, what you desire, anything that has moved your heart throughout this project. Even if today is a hard one to handle, share your story…you never know where a helping hand, or a light in the darkness may come from.
Giving Back – With tomorrow’s New Moon approaching, it is time to clear your personal space and make room for the many blessings coming your way. Let’s make this a time to give back to our community! There are so many positive ways to give back and share our hearts. Maybe it’s spending some time with family or friends, lending a hand to someone in need, or perhaps making a donation of some sort to a local organization. Whatever act of kindness you choose, do so with your whole heart, expecting nothing in return. Spend the day being kind to everyone you encounter. Remember that even smiles are contagious! How did you feel today? What did you notice about those you came in contact with? How was their energy affected by yours?
New Moon – Unlike the energy of the Full Moon, the energy of the New Moon reflects a birthing cycle. This is the perfect time for planning and seeding your intentions. The same way that a seed planted into the earth requires a gestation period before it breaches the ground and reaches for the sunlight, so do your desires and intentions. This is the manner in which our ideas are manifested into reality. As mentioned in the cleansing ritual I described in the Full Moon prompt above, intentions stated out loud or written down on paper, hold power, so be mindful about only stating those things that you truly want. With that said, just as the moon has its phases, so do we relating to our individual needs and desires. This is why I update my list of intentions each new moon cycle. Feel free to take the same steps as mentioned in the Full Moon description above, but now focusing your heart on your future wishes. As we are viewing the dark side of the moon, it will not be visible in the night sky. But, I still invite you to take a photo of your surroundings, and should you decide to share your picture online, be sure to post your location along with it.
Intentions Set – So now that we have set our intentions, pay close attention throughout the month as they start to manifest. You may want to keep a journal or notebook to keep track of the items on your list that have come to you. What does your path look like now? I invite you either to write something, take a photo, draw a picture, or use some other creative form, to symbolize your current path and what it holds for your future. Remember, not every prompt in this project is something that you have to share. This is strictly optional. The purpose is for YOU to be present in YOUR journey.
Colors of Life – Colors are often associated with the emotions that we experience in our daily lives. As such, emotions can be reflected in art through the use of color. When someone feels sad, we identify that emotion with the color blue, much in the same way we connect the color green to sickness and red to love, and so on. Today, I invite you take a look at all the colors that surround you during different parts of the day. Pay attention to the feelings you experience in conjunction with the hues around you. Observe how they may affect your mood, if at all. Choose 1-3 moments in the day and capture your surroundings. Note the colors that stand out to you and give a brief explanation of how you felt in those moments.
Seasons – Just as the Earth has seasons, so do our hearts. As I mentioned, we are all in different parts of the world, so some of us may be experiencing Summer, while others may be experiencing Winter. Take a photograph of your surroundings to reflect the current season in your area. Be sure to post the season and your location along with it. Give a brief explanation about how you feel during this time of year.
Explore – Today is Sunday in my part of the world, which gives me the perfect opportunity to go out and explore a little. I invite you to join me! Go out and explore your city’s off-beaten path. You may decide to check out some local favorites or even some quiet spots in nature. Observe your surroundings and how you feel when you are there. Take some photos of the things that capture your heart. Share with us what you love about it.
Spirit Animals – Animals that approach us and make their presence known to us carry with them a message from our ancestors and loved ones. Pay close attention when the raven calls to you, or when dragonflies land nearby. Observe the fluttering wings of the butterfly and the playful squirrels as they run by, for these creatures are trying to speak to you and are sharing their wisdom to guide you along your journey. The challenge today is to be open to seeing the world around you beyond the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take time to notice when an animal comes near. Do a little research by simply Googling “______ spirit animal,” depending on what animal makes their appearance to you. For example, if you cross paths with a monarch butterfly, simply search for “monarch butterfly spirit animal.” You will come up with several results. Read through and see what explanation is better understood by you. Some of the sites I personally enjoy are: http://www.universeofsymbolism.com/butterfly-symbolism.html and http://www.spiritanimal.info/butterfly-spirit-animal/. If you were able to capture a photo of your animal spirit guide, share it along with the message you received from them.
Graceful – Have you ever been to a ballet and noticed how gracefully the ballerinas move across the stage? Or perhaps you have seen a swan as it glides across the water so elegantly. When you see something graceful today, take a moment to capture and appreciate its beauty. What do you notice and feel about it? How does it inspire you?
Blooming – As we continue to grow along our journey, we begin to bloom from within. That inner beauty is outwardly reflected and often noticed by our friends and family. There is, perhaps, nothing more beautiful than a person falling in love with who they truly are! Take a photo of your favorite flower to symbolize the ways that you are blooming from withim and describe how its characteristics remind you of yourself.
Senescence – Senescence by definition means “the condition or process of deterioration with age.” Just as we age throughout our lives, so do our surroundings. As humans, we naturally fear the process, but there is much beauty to be found within it, depending on your perception, of course. I often find beauty in crumbling statues and buildings. I also find beauty in the elderly and the way that love causes them to act like silly teenagers for a moment. Take a moment today to appreciate the beauty that can be found in senescence. Share a photo of what you see and give a brief description about your perception.
Reflection – As we near the end of this project, I ask that you take a moment today to reflect on your journey this month. What have you learned along the way? Have you learned anything new by participating in this project? Pause for a moment, stand in front of a mirror and gaze upon your reflection. What do you see differently about yourself compared to a month ago? Take a photo of yourself and share with us how you feel. What are you most proud of yourself for? What would you like others to see in you that you see within yourself?
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” ~ Buddha
Sunset –The same way that the sinking sun brings closure to each day, it will also serve as the finale of this project. Make it a point to allow yourself a few moments to enjoy all that you have experienced along this journey. Reflect on the things you have learned, the things you have let go of, and the things you will take along with you from here on out. Make yourself a priority today. Let this day be one that you spend honoring your heart and doing whatever soothes your soul. If something is weighing heavily on your mind, make today the day you choose to bid it adieu and just enjoy the present. Find a quiet location, or one that is special to your heart. This may even be your sanctuary from Day 10. Wherever you decide to go, allow yourself to be fully submerged in that place and enjoy the peacefulness that encompasses you. Find a comfortable spot and try to let go of your thoughts completely. Take in all of the sights, sounds and scents that fill the air. If you wish to say a prayer or meditate, feel free to do so, but do not feel obligated. You may also wish to journal about how you are feeling, etc. When the sun begins to set and the sky begins to darken, take a picture of the evening sky. If you share, remember to post your location along with it. Share with us where you visited and how you felt when you were leaving. If there is a time in the future that you start to feel stressed, unbalanced, or overwhelmed, use this picture to remind you that sometimes all we need is a moment of peace to recenter our hearts and restore our strength.
Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully. ~ Kristen Butler
I hope that you all have enjoyed this project as much as I have enjoyed sharing this experience with you. It is my hope that through this exercise you have discovered an exhilarating appreciation for your life’s journey. Even though this project has now come to an end, the way you have learned to view the world doesn’t have to. Take a moment for yourself each day and continue to capture your heart through art!
With all my love and light,