On Sustenance and Influence

Last night, I watched Hoover Street Revival (Sophie Fiennes’ 2002 documentary on Bishop Noel Jones) and didn’t get the “personal gift” (that light bulb moment that may not be intended as a message by the artist) until after the movie.

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In a Q&A after a screening, someone asked the bishop if he sees changes in the people who go to his church, and he spoke of sustenance —something that people can hold on to in their lives that keep them going. I realized: that’s all we can hope for when life seems to be so overwhelming.

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When I first got my iPhone, I made it my practice to make at least one picture a day. In that daily practice, I was always either wonderstruck by something I discovered, or by my own ability to come up with something to create. It was a practice that gave me sustenance. It gave me daily satisfaction.

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This was a gift — the process of taking, then processing photos right at my fingertips. It brought back that sense of satisfaction I used to have when working in the darkroom, having a sense of control over what I can create while playing with other elements that are not in my complete control.

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Lately, with the abundance of advertised content on social media, promoting ways to boost your number of “likes” and followers, the brainy part of me got interested in trying things out to proof to myself that some of these tricks being taught actually work.

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A part of me argues, while being fascinated by trickeries, that one does not need a large number to be influential. If you could only touch one person in a powerful, albeit quiet, way… you are an influence to someone. Even more importantly, for me, that one important person could just be myself, never mind anybody else.

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We get so sidetracked by the desire to be seen and acknowledged that we forgot that we have this one life to live, and we should live it well, for our own sake. Not for show and not for approval from others —which is what numbers are all about.

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If, and when, what you do for yourself touch others as well, let us praise the mysterious ways in which life —or what some refer to as God, universe, nature — works. You are not as in charge as you may think.

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So here’s to anti-hustle and the practice of self-sustenance. Look deeply inward and find the light within. Let that light influence our direction. If someone else catches a glimpse of our light, thank the source that started the spark, for we are not the maker of it.

#stayhumble