The Challenge to be Creative, and Going to the Dis-Comfort Zones!

Anyone who reads this blog knows that photography is where my creative urges soar. In the past month, I pushed myself to step out of my photography comfort zone and experiment with effects that go beyond my normal boundaries. Stepping into the dis-comfort zone has been fun, surprising and incredibly creative. . . so much so that now I must admit that photographically speaking, my comfort zone has expanded beyond all expectations! I love it.

Another area where I am creatively pushing the boundaries is in my writing. This month I have participated in the “A River of Stones Jan ’12” challenge. A simple challenge on the surface, but one which compels me to write in a different way. The results have tickled me and added a new dimension to my writing. I have to think a little harder, but playing with words has definitely added color to these blogs!

So, the creativity continues. But what about the NoCZ-2012 Challenge? I experience stepping out of my comfort zone every time I try something new artistically, whether it be writing or photography. But in other areas of my life, too, I find myself stepping across that line that says “comfort ends here.”

According to Myers-Briggs, I am an introvert. I don’t challenge that label because it fits and I’m ok with that. I love being around people and activity, however I need to withdraw from the buzz of interaction to regroup, clear my mind, think. Then when I’m ready, I’ll engage the larger world again. One area that is particularly uncomfortable for me is introducing myself to new people in new places or situations. As often as I have moved, I am often in “new” situations. In the past I was content to hold back because I knew that it was only a matter of time and we would move on and leave the present people and places behind.

This move is different, though. When Richard finishes with his present job he will retire. We are looking for a house here because we plan to stay and make this our community. I plan to get my license in this state and create a private practice here. There are no plans to move on. Merely waiting for things to happen or for people to find me does not work. I will have to step out of my comfort zone and be the one to reach out to others. And yesterday I took a small step in that direction. After the morning prayer service at the synagogue there was a large kiddush, or meal. This was our second visit to this particular synagogue so we did not know anyone. I turned to Richard and said “Let’s stay.” As we walked into the large banquet room I was a little overwhelmed with the activity and the number of strangers that milled about. But I forged ahead, got in line to get some food, but then where to sit? We didn’t know anyone to sit with. Once again I looked to Richard and asked if he was game to just introduce ourselves to some folks and sit at their table. He followed me. I found a table with some empty seats and asked if the seats were taken. “No, please sit down.” By now of course, my heart was racing a bit, but before you know it we had all joined in conversation. And it didn’t end there! As we were preparing to leave, I saw a woman standing a little distant from the crowd; I walked up to her, offered a greeting and explained that I was new to the community and wanted to get to know some folks. We had a delightful conversation and then Richard and I left.

Looking back on the day, even as I sit here typing, I amazed myself . . . did I really do that? Did I walk up to strangers and just start talking? It’s one thing to do something like that when you are in a particular roll and you approach someone from a professional stand point, but to approach strangers just to chat was a stretch for me.  Wow. What an expansive challenge!

Well, that was my week. We are still in the first month of challenges so we can look forward to a year of exciting growth if this keeps up! Hope your challenges are helping you to grow and expand your horizons, too. Have a great week. 🙂



The Latest Challenge!

Last week Len at The Daily Dose Photo Blog issued a challenge! This week I took him up on this challenge!

Go to an unfamiliar location, then have your companion blindfold you. Now take your pictures. Your friend should now move you around, so that you don’t know where you are and make sure you don’t hurt yourself.
It might be wise to use the automatic setting on your camera.

Well, no one was with me, but when I was out one day taking photos, I came to an open field and thought I would try Len’s suggestion. So I closed my eyes and turned around, then reversed my turning around until I had no idea which direction I was pointed in. I started shooting photographs, eyes still closed. I raised my camera over my head to shoot, and bent down low to do the same. I kept my eyes closed throughout the process.

Wow! Below are two of my photographs from that day, each with a before and after shot:


The next photograph was taken with my camera pointed more downward:


Each photo was easily tossable, good for the trash can. But with a little creative editing, I was able to get some interesting photos. Wow! What a concept. What did I learn from this challenge? That there is beauty in everything we see. We may have to tweek the view here and there, but beauty is everywhere we look.

Sort of like life, isn’t it. If we look only skin deep, we may fail to see the beauty of a person or an object or a scene. Dig a little deeper, and a beautiful work of art is revealed. This was a fun exercise in stepping out of my comfort zone, and the results are remarkable. As with every challenge thus far, this one is a paradigm for life.

I’m glad you stopped by. I am interested in what you think about this so please feel free to leave a comment. Have a great week and come back next Monday to see what NoCZ-2012 continues to teach me.