December 30, 2010
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2010 has been an amazing ride. With so many ups and downs in life, I felt like I was literally on a real life roller coaster. Everything that has happened these past few years I’ve tried to learn and grow from. No matter how bad things got, things always somehow worked itself out. 2010 just seemed to work itself out in all the right ways…

The loss of some important and amazing people in my life, geting laid off from an amazing job… it’s been a tough few years. I was in a downward spiral that seemed impossible to recover from. Getting back into photography made me appreciate all the subtle beauties of what life had to offer. Sure I still have some hang ups and there will always be bumps in the road but how can you truly appreciate what is good in life if you don’t have the bad to compare it to?

I think we all nurture issues that prevent us from being successful. Whether it’s self-doubt, fear, or embarrassment; whether it’s life, love, or work, we need to get over whatever it is that prevents us from moving on and being happy and successful. I use the word nurture because I think a lot of the issues we harbor are issues that we don’t want to let go or get over. So we nurture them and let them grow so that we will always have an excuse as to why we didn’t do something we should have done so long ago. Having these issues and problems will always enable us to say, “Well, I wasn’t able to accomplish this because of that” instead of facing the possibility of failing or being embarrassed. It’s a scapegoat for life that we need to eliminate for good!

I have two things to share with you:

A passage by Paulo Coelho (of The Alchemist fame) called Closing Cycles. If you’re stuck in a rut and hung up on particular issues that prevent you from advancing in life, love, or work (usually it’s all three at the same time), then I think it’s a great read for you.

Closing Cycles by Paulo Coelho

One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters – whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.

Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents’ house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won’t take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.

None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away.

That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts – and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.

Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the “ideal moment.” Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.

Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.

Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust.

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

There’s good reason every quote I’ve featured on my blog is by Paulo… he’s a genius. However, no matter how wise his words, they are useless if we don’t act on them. Hopefully his words resonate with you and you’re able to make changes that positively affect your life.

The second thing I want to share with you is a video of my homegirl Chauntal Lewis. I met Chauntal on a shoot earlier this year with Ja and was immediately in awe of her infectious positivity, energy, and beauty. If she doesn’t inspire you, then I have no idea who or what will.

She is an amazing spirit and her words and presence are always uplifting. And because no blog post is complete without a photo, here’s a shot of us at the LA Destroyers party.

nike 20101209 0028 Heres To 2011

I know EVERYBODY says that each new year is gonna be THE year for whatever it is they have planned. But on the real, let’s make it happen folks! Challenge yourself always, push the boundaries of what you’re capable of, set realistic/attainable/measurable goals and last, but not least, rid yourself of all things and people that prevent you from moving on and being successful! Here’s to 2011 everybody!

Much love!

Quoc

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