Inspired by The 100 Day Project I decided, 25 days ago, to start my own “100 Day” creative discipline. The goal is simple: choose a theme or focus area and for the next 100 days document/create/design something relevant to that theme.
I chose the theme of connection and decided to explore it through photography. That was my first impulse and my only guideline: connection explored visually. To enhance my accountability for the project I decided to share each day’s photo on both Facebook and Twitter. This helps me create both a track record and an expectation of continuation.
Connection has been a significant edge for me for as long as I can remember. Last month, as I was working on a section of my book – a collection of blog posts organized under the themes of “understanding,” “”exploration,” and “connection” – I found myself struggling to articulate what I wanted to say about that final category. I came up against feelings of inadequacy and immaturity relative to my ability and willingness to connect and to connect well. I felt a little silly as I attempted to “author” something about a subject long so difficult for me to understand.
The simplest way to explain it is that in connection I find comfort, strength, purpose, love and assurance. I also find a deep vulnerability that it will not last – that I will have to feel the pain of that loss – and I do what I can to make sure that I don’t.
I believed that a daily discipline that challenged me to look for connection, to think about it, notice it and document it might just be a way to continue to normalize some of those uncomfortable feelings and open me up to some new ways of experiencing one of, if not the greatest joys of life: being in meaningful relationship with other people.
Here at the 25 day mark, I’ll give you a brief description of one specific day to help explain how this experience is shifting my attention, and heightening my attunement to connection. On Day 16 – June 17 – I completely forgot to document or post a photo. When I realized this at 7:00 AM the next day I was angry at myself for breaking the chain so soon. My posting that day simply said “forgot.” When a few people started “liking” that post I was humbled by their recognition of my very human mistake and what I interpreted as their appreciation for my honesty about it. I was just so frustrated that I let connection – and my project – slip my mind until I remembered that June 17 had been a tough day for me. Creatively, I felt stymied, not getting the results in my writing that I was looking for. When that frustration mounts I tend to go “inside,” to lock up, disassociate and become critical. I tend to disconnect. No wonder that I missed a day. Connection was not present for me because I wasn’t available for it.
As this project unfolds I will document my learning at each 25 day interval. I look forward to the learning that comes from it and, along the way, for the opportunity to connect with you.
You can view the first 25 photos here.
DAVID BERRY is the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well. If you enjoyed this post someone else might, too. Please pass it along.