Forrest said it best: “Mama always said there’s a lot you can tell about a person from their shoes. Where they’re going. Where they’ve been.” In high school I had a pair of slipper thin Keds that became my grungey footwear of choice when our drama club would hold its tech sessions. By the time I was a junior, those sneakers had acquired splatters, streaks, and blobs of paint from every production I performed in. They were, inarguably, disgusting as most shoes tend to get when worn through by teens, but I hardly saw them that way. To me, they were like traveling scrapbooks, the kind of objects I imagined going up for auction at Christie’s one day when I was rich and famous. “Next item, number 743: THEATRE sneakers worn by a young…” I envisioned the snooty auctioneer intoning. You can imagine my high school heartbreak when they got mistakenly left behind backstage, and the chorus teacher trashed them, declaring my battered little Keds a biohazard. But up to that moment, those sneakers were more than shoes, they were artifacts of my young journey, part of memories and experiences that were important to me; they told the stories of my steps, of me.
Today there are a million and four ways to track our life journeys: blogs, journals, scrapbooks, tweets, photographs, videos, and even old fashioned collecting (shot glasses, spoons, or shells). In many cases, we use these methods to chronicle the milestones like weddings, job changes, births, and deaths. But how often do we take the time to pause and truly reflect on, to add to Forrest’s assessment, where we are, in addition to where we’re going and where we’ve been? Not often enough. This quick hit of reflection, inspiration, fun, and self-expression is what many of us could use to practice a little bit more mindfulness and gain a different perspective on the nature of our life paths. Caregivers especially can benefit from having outlets to share their experiences, and, most importantly, track their own personal journeys as more than just caregivers, but as unique individuals.
Consequently, I am excited to announce a new photo project as part of HerSelf First’s creative outreach called Pic Your Path. The premise is simple: Snap and post a photo of where your feet find you at any given moment in your day. That’s it! Whether you find yourself poolside, in the garden, at the mall, at the playground, in the home office, or at the base of the pyramids, take a second to record this part of your journey and share it with others. You can post photos through our Pic Your Path Facebook group (visit us there and ask to join) or on our Pic Your Path site; simply email your photo to Sheila@herselffirst.com. All photos must be original. I look forward to following your discoveries and learning the stories of your steps!