Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen!
As I'm writing this, it's a beautiful day here in Syracuse! The sun is shining! Now, you *do* remember that as long as you can see across the street, the sun is shining *somewhere*, right? However, in this particular case the clouds have generously arranged themselves so that we can see the sunlight without obstruction :-D . AND.. the weather has been pretty nice for the past few days -- the snow was melting, snow banks receding, and my driveway was clear -- and I obviously thought we needed some more precipitation, so I helped everyone out by washing my car and .. .Voila! Salt truck and snow plow drivers got yet another night when they didn't have to sit home -- bored -- and watch reality TV and drink light beer -- or tea, or coffee or whatever those folks drink ;-) So, if you're in this area and you were out shoveling snow last night or this morning, and getting some cardio-vascular exercise to keep you in shape... You're WELCOME ! -- no charge :-D
Warning: This issue is kinda long, babbly and entertaining :-)
If you're not in the mood now, then print it out
and read it when you go to the bathroom or something.
As most of you know... (I've told you before, I'm sure) I am membership chair for the Professional Photograpers' Society of New York State. And I gotta tell you, creative people can be pretty persnickety, and sometimes the goings on in our meetings can get pretty tense. People seem to "like" my attitude and mind set, so they figured if I was the membership chair I would get people in a better mood, and get them enjoying each other and having fun and in so doing make them feel better about the organization, get more done, increase membership aaaaaaaaand... have enough people for one heck of a party when *I* become PRESIDENT of that organization in 2009! Can you believe it? Made me secretary and gave me 4 years! to plan a party for me :-P Go figure.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was having a conversation with my good friend Jim P. and talking about how we need more positivity in the place, because we want people to come up with ideas that will work to get new members, instead of dwelling on all the reasons why we *couldn't'* attract new members! and we came up the idea of Intensely Positive Photographers! We're going to get people to "sign on" to this program and agree to be intensely positive, and we're hoping to start a movement -- not to be confused with starting a religion, mind you. Soooo we got together this past Sunday to plan a button, and some new membership brochures and posters for which he's doing the creative design.
The FIRST thing that happened... I was supposed to meet Jim at 10:30 a.m. at the Denny's in Cortland. We planned this, verified time and place several times, synchronized watches and we were on. Last thing Jim did Saturday night was email me and say, "we're on for 10:30 in the morning, right? To wit I responded... "Yup!"
Now, for those of you that know me, you *know* that when I say 10:30, I *mean* 10:30 ! I am ANAL about being on time when you say you're meeting me. 10:35 would have been okay, if he'd gotten caught in a time warp or something, but at 10:45... you graduate to my "Worthless Person" list... until I get over it. I hate for people to waste my time :-) and being as Jim verified this time with me no less than 4 times that week, I KNEW that he was of like mind.
SO... at 9:40 I make a quick phone call, because I had a few minutes. Cortland is 30 minutes away for me, so if I leave my house by 10:00 I'll get there exactly on time -- I like to pull up 60 seconds or so before the appointed time and walk in "on time" :-) So you can imagine the panic that went through my mind ... when I looked up at my kitchen clock and it said... 10:10 !!!! Oh my gosh!
My life flashed before me! I had become my worst (2nd worst) peeve; a man who would arrive LATE for a meeting (with people I like anyway). I saw myself standing before a firing squad, falling prey and VICTIM to the consequences of my own rules! Visions of being flogged publicly, and ridiculed in front of my friends and peers, and being subjected to the irksome stares of my friend, Jim... when I finally arrived... late... Whew! Not a pretty picture. SO...
I dashed out to my car, took my planner, cell phone and my Palm Pilot, and headed out. I'm in the car, now. I'll call Jim as soon as I'm actually "moving" and let him know I'm on my way and that I'll be a few minutes late. And, I'll drive... uh... *really fast* to make up as much time as I can, although 10 minutes is really difficult to make up in a distance that short, without the aid of an Army helicopter or a police escort with a good sense of humor. So I pick up my cell phone -- I have Jim's number programmed in, and yup... it *says* it's his cell phone. Whew. I dial. Oops. It's his studio number and...well... Jim is driving from further away than *I* am and since I'm now about to be 15 minutes late, I know that Jim is already on the road. SO, I whip out my Palm Pilot -- my life saving electronics -- and while driving down the road.... (and paying strict attention, honest) I get to his name, hit the button and..."Crap; it's his home number" and I have no cell number to call him on (note: Jim had given me all of his phone numbers the previous week, but I hadn't gotten around to putting them in the Palm yet --- sigh !) Now I'm *really* annoyed, because I'm late and I can't contact him to tell him I'm late and... it's just getting worse.
I'm driving down the road... FAST. I've got to make up time... pushing the envelope , because I *hate* to be late, and a WEIRD thing happened. It was metaphysical ! I'm driving to Cortland and I'm watching the road signs and mileage indicators and I'm struck with a terrible realization. THEY MOVED THE EXIT! I swear, the last time I went to Cortland, the exit was at LEAST 5 miles closer than where that sign just said it was, and NOW... it's 10:46 and... my cell phone rang (gulp). It's Jim.
I don't know if you've heard any of Bill Cosby's old stand up routines, but waaaaay back he did a bit about Noah's Ark, and how frustrated Noah got with all those animals and stuff and he was upset and cussing and moaning and God started talking to him in this booming, deep voice that shook the room. When Cosby did it, his voice got like 2 octaves lower and he put the mike IN his mouth and turned up the bass on the speakers and kicked up the reverb a notch, and then God said, "No-ah!" Well, when I answered the phone, I *knew* it was Jim, and I said, "Jim.... I *so* glad to hear from you; I lost your cell number." And Jim -- in that Bill Cosby / God voice -- said... "Kel-vin...where *are* you...?" Man... that was rough. However, I got there shortly thereafter, Jim/Bill/God held off the rain while I finished building the ark and GOT to Denny's. Of course, I turned the wrong way off the exit and blew another five minutes before I got there but at 11:05 I walked into Denny's and... among other things... PAID FOR BREAKFAST ! :-D LOL.
Well, Jim forgave me and we talked, then ate. The waitress was warm and friendly. She didn't know that Jim was God, so she took us at face value and just treated us like regular folks. Jim and I planned out the brochures and the Intensely Positive buttons, and even planned who would get one -- because...not *everyone* qualifies for an Intensely Positive button, you know. But we talked about it, and since Jim is now my VPP ( Vice President of Positive -- see? there's perks to me being late for a meeting...) we discussed who we thought would want a button and who wouldn't -- at least on the initial batch -- and we'd see what kind of response we got. AND... the button is NOT a gift, you see. One must continue to qualify for the button -- especially since I'm paying for them out of my pocket, on purpose ! So when people who have a button decide to go negative on us, we'll simply walk up to them and say.. "Gimme back the button." I said, "yah.. that works."
So we finished up our other business and planning, and we were just sitting there, chatting about this and that. I talked about things that have been going on in my life, how much I'm working at my own organization and the like, how difficult it is to get people to help out and...well, frankly, how tired I was. I said, "Sorry, Jim; this qualifies as whining; I'm whining right now..." And Jim said, "Okay... gimme back the button".
I have GOT to tell you . . . that was *the* most effective thing he could possibly have done for me at that moment. I looked up, and he was smiling. I smiled back... shook his hand, and said, "Good job, buddy."
So, the next time you go to work and the guy standing next to you is crabbing about the boss or the rent or the landlord or the weather or the crappy weekend he just had, just walk up to him and say, "Gimme back the button !" He won't know what you're talking about, and he'll look at you funny, but you'll feel good about it. TRUST me.
Share this concept with a few of your friends and family members. Tell them that when *you* start to get negative or down and start complaining about stuff, to just walk up to you and say, "Hey, Fred... gimme back the button." When they do, just smile at them and say, "thank you." Because if you STAY in that negative world, life will suck all around you. You will train your brain to see nasty, negative stuff all the time, and you'll miss all the beauty that's around you.
I was at a photography workshop a few years back taking a week with an awesome photographer named Lori Rose. She was WONDERFUL -- bright, romantic about life -- and produced some of the most BEAUTIFUL photographs I have even seen in my life. She showed us image, after image, after image of beautiful people in lavish settings, flowers, greenery, beautiful light. And after she showed us the beautiful images... she showed us pictures of where she photographed many of those portraits. Lori photographed on the corners of busy parking lots, cute fields behind nasty DUMPSTERS; she found beautiful light in side streets, and alleys between dilapidated buildings. She had a tremendous GIFT of looking for the beauty in the scene and looking right past the garbage that was all around it, and focused her camera strictly on the beauty. And we -- the viewer -- didn't see the trash bags off to the side, and didn't smell the *aroma* of that dumpster nearby; and we didn't KNOW that this $500 image was taken in what was a creepy alley, or a railroad yard, or the flowered corner of an ugly parking lot or... wherever else she made her photographs. And we know she was real because for a solid week, Lori walked our class around the nastiest places in Geneva, NY that she could find... strictly for the purpose of showing us that.. there is beauty everywhere, even amidst the garbage.
You know what, folks? Lori Rose has got a button. It might not be a physical one; it might not say Intensely Positive, but she has definitely got a button, and I don't think anyone is going to take it back from her ( http://www.signature-images.com )
So, the POWER of Positive... is that it allows you to see the good and the beauty in the world EVEN in the middle of chaos and disturbance, and all the junk in our every day lives. But, if you're not using the Power of Positive, your brain doesn't even know to look for it... and you'll miss it.
GET A BUTTON! Develop the ability to look at life through the photographer's lens. FOCUS IN on the good and the beauty that's around, right past the "junk." KNOW that there is sunshine behind the clouds even if you can't see it directly. KNOW that the patch of flowers behind the dumpster will make a beautiful portrait. KNOW that while you're looking at the nasty crunched fender on the car you just ran into that building, that since you're standing there looking at the dent.. that there's beauty in that crunch.
Hey Jim ! You can't have my button. And, as long as *you* are breathing and moving around on your own power.... don't let anyone -- or anything -- in life... take away your button.
Go forth, now... and be intentionally... Intensely Positive !
Have an AWESOME day.
"The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave
is to profess courage and act accordingly. (Corra May White Harris)
RESOLUTION for 2005:
REFUSING to be Average
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