We hear it all the time- it's important to give back, donate your time, money, resources... Why is it important though? We're all crazy busy, right?
That would be one big reason! We're all so busy that our worlds go by in a blur with little time dedicated to actually enjoying ourselves. Giving back is a way to help others while getting back in ways we never imagined! Two of our basic spiritual needs are to be connected with one another and learn to give and receive love. Giving of our time and talents fulfills these needs so long as we remain open to experiences.
This Spring 2015 I decided I wanted to donate some time and take photographs for a non profit group that might need my services. I wanted to get some 'low stress' practice in (yes, we have to continually practice our art!) and I sought a group that I might enjoy. I reached out to organizations that cater to older people, since elder photography is an interest of mine, but the response was rather dull. I imagine having me offer my services out of the blue might be viewed with a bit of suspicion. I kept investigating other non-profit organizations who might like to have their events photographed. I stumbled across an event in EventBrite for Bliss Kid Yoga. I read a little bit about the group and thought it sounded fun. It was also something really out of my 'box' since I don't photograph children much. I took a chance and reached out to the founder who responded favorably. We made a date to meet up at the Austin Earth Day Festival. That was the start of something WONDERFUL! Instead of just one or two events, I'm getting to be a regular at many of their events. I'm known as the one with the big camera and the even bigger smile. I know I smile a lot because I can't help it. I'm really happy when I'm surrounded by the kids.
I'm really happy when I hang out with the Bliss Kid Yoga gang.
- I've gone to places I probably would never have had reason to visit otherwise.
- I'm reminded to be child like and curious. Watching the kids walk up to the strangers in the group and learn new things (along with the parents) is a real joy.
- Photographing children other than my own was rather new to me but OMG, I LOVE it! It's good to let go and be brave. I photographed my own son A LOT but he is 30 now, so that was a long time ago.
- I've had to be flexible. You never know what kids are going to do! The same intuitive knowing I have with adults comes through with the kids. This is how I capture those oh so special shots. I call those 'goose bump' moments. I truly have to be present in the moment. When you see an image and you think you can see right into their soul, just know that the photographer was totally present and tuned into the subject.
- The kids inspire me to be better- pure and loving and also to just be myself. I don't see them worrying about what others think the way so many of us adults do.
- Learning to do something different breeds interest and versatility. I don't get bored!
- Curiosity is a good thing! Who could be more curious than a photographer who sees life and tells stories by looking through a lens?
- I still love photographing the elderly, but in truth, people are people, aren't they? It's not about our age, our ethnicity or any other ways we separate ourselves. We're connected to nature and we're all connected to one another.
- I'm getting known and my business is growing which is a good thing. I'll just be sure and make time to spend some time with Bliss Kid Yoga.
Giving my time and talents has been one of the best things I've done for myself lately. Yes, it's time at the event and time afterwards editing and creating these cute videos, but it's so worth it. Katherine with Bliss Kid Yoga has been great about paying it forward and is always very grateful. See, we're all connected, and I'm experiencing new things.
Have you been thinking of giving of yourself and not sure what to do? Follow your intuition-your gut feeling. I went on EventBrite and looked at local events until I found one that felt right to me. Trade your talents with someone in need and open your heart to the experiences awaiting you. Try something new!
Bliss Kid Yoga has lots of interesting activities going on. They need our support, so please consider supporting this wonderful non profit. Their mission:
Bliss Kid Yoga is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing yoga programs for children, families and educators in order to help nurture physical and emotional health within the community.