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Life’s Struggles ~ Rejoicing in the Darkness as in the Light

November 10, 2011
Sunset on Paradise Hill

iPhone panoramic ~ Sunset on Paradise Hill

I haven’t written a new blog post for over two weeks now. Yesterday, I was trying to figure out why I hadn’t, and realized it was because I haven’t felt like I had anything particularly positive to write about. Then, I remembered that I had promised myself I would write here no matter what….the good, the bad and the ugly. I read an article today written by Jeff Goins, a book review really of All Is Grace written by Brennan Manning, in which Jeff discusses the importance of writing not just about the good and the rosy parts of our lives but writing about more of the juicy, not so pretty parts. And how Brennan Manning’s writing inspired him even though it was not always a “pretty picture.” This gave me courage to write today even though right now things aren’t all sugar sweet. Our accomplishments or the things we feel successful about are usually fairly easy for most of us to write about or discuss. Although, at times, I do have a twinge of not wanting to blow my own horn or pat myself on the back because you just never know the next challenge you must face right around the corner. But in a roundabout way, discussing the parts of our lives we feel good about, our children, our attributes, our adorableness health, are fairly easy to be honest about in our writing. It’s so much harder to reveal and discuss, as Jeff Goins deems it, “the broken, ugly parts of your story.” One of the difficulties I experience when I think of sharing my struggles, is that I know others struggle with issues so much bigger and more serious than my own. Sharing some of my own “not so pretty parts,” certainly does not lessen my empathy for those who are experiencing much more serious problems and concerns than the ones I am about to share. It is only my own attempt to be honest and open about where life is taking me at the moment.

I have really been struggling lately with many things. Some of you may know my best canine buddy who I spend most of my days with was hit by a car the other night. He is doing ok but its been sad and scary. We also have our VT house under contract, which in this market is a wonderful thing but in near future reality, it means we will not have a “home” to spend Christmas in and may feel “homeless” for a while. We will have a place to be, just not a home of our own. In the past couple of weeks, I have had concerns over some health issues of loved ones that have been weighing on my mind. And then there is the struggle that rears its ugly head every now and then concerning my new baby business venture, and that is ” the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.” Some days, I feel like I really want to throw in the towel and say, “Who the hell did I think I was anyway to think I may be able to start a new photography business at this ripe old age? (I know, not really that old) And how the heck am I suppose to compete with these young, talented, inspirational, smart, technologically savvy, well-connected, Tweeters, Linkin-ers, beautiful, (you see where I am going here)…..” Is the learning curve in this business steep? Hell, yes! Everything from how to design a great website, to how to network and get your blog read by millions more than a few. To every time you send an image to your blog, Facebook, through email, post on a needs to be resized to a different size! Yikes! And I haven’t even started on the camera equipment itself? So, friends, these are a few little black clouds hanging over my head at the moment! And lately, there have been days where I just want to keep my fuzzy socks on, pull my pillow over my head and go back to dream world.

iPhone image, Shadows in the light

iPhone image ~ Rejoicing in the Darkness as in the Light

But then my caffeine buzz reality kicks in! THIS IS MY DREAM! I have worked so hard to get here, right here, where I am today. There will always be more to learn in every aspect of this business. I have a good long talk with a supportive girlfriend (or two), have a tearful session with my therapist, snuggle my doggie, eat some left-over chocolate birthday cake, and then….I take off my fuzzy socks, put on my LL Bean ragg socks and boots, grab my cameras, and take myself outdoors. I clear my head with a little exercise, a little of nature’s therapy, lots of photo taking therapy, and then come home and dig back in. In reality, I know there are benefits of not knowing everything in the book. Sometimes, it actually gives me the courage naive stupidity to do things like ask famous photographers how they deal with a particular photography business issue, because before I hit the button to ask, I had no idea she had like 47,000 followers on Facebook. And guess what, due to my naive stupidity, she actually answered my question and I learned something new that I had been dying to know. I also know, in reality, that my being an “older” woman/photographer in this business has its benefits. I have learned through years of experience how it feels to….have a career, love with all my heart, lose close loved ones, fail, struggle, rejoice, be disappointed, and disappoint, feel insecure, feel gorgeous, feel homely….the list goes on and on from there. I feel I bring these life experiences to the table whenever I photograph someone. My years on this earth have given me a little wisdom along the way and for this I am thankful. So today, I will do my best to keep that unsure, scared troll sitting on my shoulder at bay, and try to focus on what I do know, what I do have control over, and what I can do to help others and myself. I will try to take one little step toward the light while being ever aware of the importance of the darkness. Shyla Nelson, creator of The Good Earth Singers posted a quote by Walt Whitman the other day that really resonated with me.. “Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”

And THIS IS MY DREAM! So, when I am feeling so reluctant and overwhelmed, I try to think of the alternative, abandoning that dream. And today anyway, I will not do that!! A wise women told me a few weeks ago when I was struggling with a my shoulder injury, which made it difficult to shoot and took way to long to recover from a day of shooting, that I could not, and should not use this medical issue as an excuse to quit. She said, “I know you are struggling to get up and over this learning curve, and you know, everyone who loves you would understand if you said you couldn’t continue photographing because it was too painful. Don’t you dare to use that easy excuse to let go of your dream. If you are going to give this up, then do it honestly.” Wow! I immediately started to think about how I might continue shooting if I could not longer support the camera with that shoulder….

I am generally an upbeat, positive person but do I get stuck in the mud of the “broken, ugly parts” of my life?” You bet. It’s been a tough little stretch here but I am not about to give on my dream now. “I will rejoice in the darkness, as I rejoice in the light.”

As we change the clocks, and it’s getting darker earlier. I am going to try to rejoice in this darkness and know there is a time and place for everything, and everything comes in its own time.

Maine, photography, sunset, shadows, reflections

Reflections at Sunset

If you are still with me here after this very long rendition, thank you. I appreciate you listening and reading as I struggle to keep the light shining bright. I am thankful for those who dare to be honest and share the truth, especially when it’s not all sunshine and roses. I am thankful to those of you who listen and support me in this time, as well.

Love and thankfulness,

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Darla Dee permalink
    November 10, 2011 10:49 pm

    Nanette, this is a lovely, heartfelt, honest blog entry. Thank you for sharing both the light and the dark moments on your journey to achieve your dream. You are an inspiration not only by your amazing photographs, your view through the camera of your world, but also by your willingness to share your path and to let others know that they are not alone in their own ups and downs, lights and darks. So many people only share the light, but you were brave enough to shed light on your dark to help illuminate the way to work through that and into the light again! Thanks.

    • November 11, 2011 1:44 am

      Dear Darla, thank you for your beautiful comment…..your support and encouragement on this journey mean more than you will ever know. xoxo

  2. Paula permalink
    November 10, 2011 11:15 pm

    You are just amazing and I honestly find you an inspiration in my life! Just reading your blog made me realize that I need to find the light and the positive in these darker and shorter days of winter…there is comfort that comes from them…we can choose to have them bring us down or embrace the comfort they can give us and turn that darkness into light.
    Yes, I know from experience that you are a very positive woman but we all certainly have downs in our lives and we all almost need those downs to make us appreciate the ups and happy times in our lives…as long as those downs are not too drastic….
    As my very wise mom has said to me…”where one door closes another one opens” and she also said “this too will pass” and of course the good ole one “time heals all wounds”…love these inspirational sayings and I pass them onto you my dear friend. I am here for you always.

    • November 11, 2011 1:50 am

      Dear Paula, I do believe there is light to be found in these darker days…but also so important to see the worthiness of the darkness. As you mentioned, without the more difficult times, we really can’t appreciate the light! Your Mom is a very wise woman, and so are you! Love you and thank you for your constant love and encouragement. ❤

  3. November 10, 2011 11:39 pm

    Beautiful blog from your heart and soul! I don’t know where I’ve heard this saying but, “you can’t appreciate the light unless you know the darkness”. Or, “you must go through a rainstorm to get your rainbow”. Hang in there, Nanette!

    By the way, your photos for this post are GORGEOUS!!!

    • November 11, 2011 1:52 am

      Dear Anne, thank you for your comment and sharing your sayings…they are great ones! And these images are all from the iPhone! Go figure! I love our sharing of ideas and support for each others endeavors! You are a very bright light for me!! xoxo

  4. November 11, 2011 12:34 am

    Very nice job with this!! This must of taken a long time to compose. You have gotten some great comments on this. The photos are GORGEOUS!

    • November 11, 2011 1:55 am

      Chris, it did take a while to compose but longer to find the courage to write and publish it! It is so important to me that you read all my posts and leave me “some love.” You are such a dear, supportive brother and I love you!

  5. Paula permalink
    November 11, 2011 1:27 am

    Chris you have an amazing sister who has such a big heart and lots of love to give…we just love her!
    And yes Nanette…your pics are GORGEOUS! The one of the mountains is so perfect.

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