I’ve decided to share an excerpt from a dissertation I’m working on. This is not academically motivated, just a personal exploration of organizing our values. It all really began when I started to notice feelings of disconnect towards the current global economic infrastructure and the motivation behind it. It is one of the primary reasons I shifted gears as a photographer; I read book after book on marketing, tried to confidently follow industry “standards” that seemed to mimic that of the ‘maximize profit’ mentality, and had many conversations with friends and fellow artists on the issue. No matter how I priced my work or approached marketing, it simply didn’t feel like I was doing the right thing. Placing a number on my services always left me feeling that no matter how I priced my work, it simply didn’t allow me to service people of all social classes. And that didn’t feel right.
As I’ve now pulled away for nearly 3 years of marketing my photography, I’ve come to a resolve that will allow me to create photographs for paying clients again — (which I’ll write about soon) — completely free from the current economic infrastructure. That transition was rather abrupt and extreme, as I deleted all social profiles and came back to a place where I could revive the space in my heart from which I began a career in photography in the first place — love for the world, for people, and for life on this planet. This exploration has been more valuable than any other in my life (with the exception of motherhood, of course). I no longer feel ‘crazy’ for feeling this way anymore, as I’ve discovered an entire movement of people who feel the same way as I do… Three years ago, it became a question of not knowing how to feel about putting a price tag on creating art. I changed my pricing structure several times and still I felt something missing. It ended up being a question about what my specific life values really were, acknowledging them, understanding them—-as well as how I valued myself. What it really came down to is that I didn’t want a business that was based around MYSELF and “MY” work anymore. I started to crave a business that reflected my values, not one that left me feeling stressed, working long days and long nights, and feeling uncertain about my true direction and potential as an artist.
Would I ever have a studio again? Would I be able to participate in two career paths? Could I blend what I’ve learned as a wellness advisor into my passion for creating photographs? This all hit me two weeks ago during a weekend training with Maureen Pisani of Chopra Center, following a truly riveting discussion with Monica Inks — she is a holistic personal trainer. I’ve learned to listen from my gut — not my heart, and not my brain.
The gut (intuition) listens, the heart feels, the mind discerns. We must ask ourselves why we are doing what we do, and how what we do reflects on who we are.
So for now… an excerpt from a dissertation titled, “What Separates Us? A Modern Approach to Create an Organic, Empowered Society” (began drafting in 2013).
It would seem more realistic to properly address social issues if they were placed into value-based categories along a tier by and for the people from a positive perspective (not a fear-based perspective), and then and only then given the attention of elected officials. I will refer to this system as the ‘Tier of Values’ throughout this discussion.
With our concerns identified and organized in such a way, issues could be added and arranged along the Tier of Values as they come up, and dealt with according to appointed officials who have marked passion or expertise toward a specific category. This would eliminate the need for issues to be exploited by media in a way that distracts attention from other significant issues and give balance to the function of addressing issues altogether. Mental Well-Being is positioned at the top of the tier (self-esteem, self-awareness, spirituality encouragement), since mental well-being influences action; followed by Physical Health (food consumption, exercise, etc) — since self care is an extension of mental well-being; followed by Behavioral Patterns of the Self, since choice behavior determines the flow of humanity; followed by Interpersonal Communication, since this determines the function of society; followed by Social Concerns (hunger, environment, education, and so on)… and so forth until we get to the least-concerning values. I propose that the lesser concerns should include Economic matters and matters of Crime, which to some would seem absurd to place them at the bottom of the tier—but consider how dramatically our society would change if values were arranged and addressed in this way. The economy and crime rates would naturally transform, if we were clear about our personal and interpersonal values, and of maintaining a healthy mind and body. The type of people needed as elected officials would change. The flow of humanity as a whole would improve. Since we are competitive by nature, we would be competing to better the well-being of the whole, which could only work over time to continue improving conditions for everything spawned from the whole. The term “equal rights” might even vanish then, as we would be operating from a completely different set of motives. This is an idealistic tier that would seem impossible to arrange, yet would be no less possible to achieve than things thought of as “impossible” in the past that have come to exist today.”
As always, your thoughts are welcomed, and appreciated. Have a great week!