Celebrate the Normal: A spotlight on Habit

Hello, lovelies!! Back am I from a bit of a blog glitch that kept me away on Thursday. Pars Caeli is back to normal, and it's time to celebrate once again! While I've been away on my NYC adventures, we suspended Celebrate the Normal but many of you have kept it going in your own way. And that I can say nothing but a huge WAY TO GO! It delights me so to know that celebrating - seeing the beauty - around you has become a regular habit in your lives.

And that brings us right to where I want us to land today! While at AltNYC, I had the chance to chat with Molly Balint. Molly does a whole bunch of wonderful, and today we're focusing just on a piece. Molly, along with friends Emily and Tara, post and inspire over at the community site Habit. It's a bit of calm, a bit of presence, and a bit of contemplation rolled into one. When I heard about Habit, I knew I wanted to connect it up with our Celebrate the Normal posts!! Here's a bit more from Molly about Habit. Thanks so much for the interview, Mol!!

 

What inspired the idea of Habit? Tell us the story.

Habit is part journal, part photography project, part community center.  Emily and I were inspired to start Habit in 2008 at a time when we were both feeling the urge to document our daily lives - beyond blog posts and creative projects and big milestones.  We were both capturing bits of our daily lives regularly with photography, but we saw the value of words as an accompaniment to those photographs.  We had both struggled with journaling over the years, and really just wanted a regular practice - a habit - something we could sustain in the midst of our busy lives.

At the same time, we were aware of the need for community.  We knew that our busy lives can be isolating - whether we're raising children or starting careers or moving or facing family challenges, and we felt that this practice - this habit - might have broad appeal.

 

 

How often do you post? Can anyone submit material?

We publish new posts at habit just about every single day.  There is only one post each day, but each day's post includes photos and words from a variety of people.  Emily, Tara, and I are posting all year round, and each month we have anywhere between three and twenty guests posting with us.  Most months, it's a small curated group of guests, and some months (like December) we have large groups of guests.  Our guests are specially invited and our groups carefully curated each month. Once or twice each year we open the Habit Blog up to any and all contributors by way of our flickr pool, where we invite everyone to participate.

 

In your work with this experience of gratitude, what 's struck you most?

Habit is very much about awareness as much as it's about gratitude.  It is our hope that, through this practice of mindfulness, of noticing, of recording, that we cultivate within ourselves and within our community, an awareness of the beauty and goodness that surrounds us all everyday, even in the midst of trials and tribulations.  We often hear from our guests and our readers that this practice of noticing the small details, of recording these bits of our days, does lead to a shift in perspective, to an increased ability to find gratitude in the midst of what are sometimes our messy daily lives.

 

How do you change your lens of busy to one of attentiveness in your everyday?

Part of the idea behind habit is our desire and determination to pay attention to the everyday - without making it a chore - and this is part of the beauty of the habit blog. Even the act of picking up our cameras, sitting down to wrap a few words around our day, causes you to slow down, catch your breath and reflect. Even if its just for a fleeting moment.

For our guest posters, it's a manageable task to record a single photo and 30 words.  For our readers, it's a meaningful reminder that capturing our daily life doesn't have to be limited to lengthy journal entries and elaborate scrapbooks. For all of us, it's about being part of something larger than ourselves and finding the connection and community that emerges among these varied voices which draws us all together.

 

I've found myself clicking through the pages and pages of Habit and soaking in the imagery. It's a great spot to land when you want a clear head. Big thanks to the uber-talented Molly for hopping over to Pars Caeli today.

So, let's strike up Celebrate the Normal once again. Invite some friends to tag along, too! Remember to post your photos on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #celebratethenormal. One photo from every artist is featured here on Tuesdays. In honor of the good work done over at Habit, our theme this week will be:

And let me share some of the great work that was happening while we've been apart. Big thanks to Jen, Meagan, Julia, and Brittani for these gifts.

Chalky goodness ~ Meagan

 

Sometimes you just have to run in the rain ~ Meagan

Just some summer solstice and clothespins ~ Jen

 

Thankful for this view today ~ Julia

Artistic week ~ Brittani

Spiderweb and morning dew ~ Jen

Off we go to capture and celebrate!!

Have a bright week, my friends. If you're up for a little sketching this month, join in the Sketching Project over at Life I Design. I'll be joining in along with Kim. Follow along with the hashtag #30daysketchbookchallenge

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