a one year anniversary - HERE'S TO LONGING | 53

so here's my longing piece, number 53. that means i've been doing this for over a year now; i started on april 19, 2011. my friend rebecca pointed that out to me a couple of weeks ago - and it hit me. wow. a freakin' year!?!!? who knew that time went by so quickly or that i could create this many original pieces that directly soothe my pangs of overwhelming longing. it's funny: time. somedays i will look back on the last year and think of all the things that have totally changed, the things i've been challenged with, or the things i've achieved. and then other days, i look back at things like my manifesto for HTL [here's to longing] and i know that i could have written that same exact post today; it feels fresh, new, exciting, challenging, painful and appropriate. i suppose if i were to think about it, it is a good thing that my manifesto still applies to me today. my love for patrick sure hasn't gone anywhere, i feel even closer to him now; my love & understanding for photography has only increased, and i sure as hell hope that my understanding of longing has only increased. now, when i feel this overwhelming longing come up, i know it. like, i really know it - inside and out. sometimes i still don't know exactly where it's coming from, what it's rooted in, but now, when i feel it well up inside - i take a moment, stop what i'm doing and allow myself to feel it, like really FEEL it. let it overtake me, whisk me off to wherever it is, experience the place/time/smell/memory/feeling/place i've never been yet, and i honor it. and i honor that process. and then i come back, having honored myself and i acknowledge the longing and celebrate it.

in thinking about this past year, and the things that have happened, changed, grown, receded, progressed, died, given birth - i'm overwhelmed by the amazing people that i've had the bounty of connecting with on an extremely deep and elemental level, people who were strangers to me before, but that through this project, in some small or very large ways, they have been able to dig deeper within themselves and ask the big Questions, and face Themselves and challenge their beliefs, their pains and sadnesses, the victories and defeats; they have been able to share with me things that have struck me so profoundly, thereby affecting and changing me. if there is one thing i've learned through this process, its that on a very base level, we're the same. we have the same feelings, concerns, worries, joys and defeats. that is what has been so amazing for me - my work is that something that i feel is so subjective, so personal, but then someone else can take it for what it means to them, and how it speaks to their hearts.

for those of you that have been following along with me this past year on my longing journey - and your own - thank you, it means the world to me that this has moved in you in some very small or very large ways. i urge you to continue pushing yourselves, and to continue to challenge those around you and yourself to live the richest, fullest, most passionate life you possibly can. i would really like to hear from you [i know you're there] and hear what you're thinking about, what you've learned in your last year, what you would feel comfortable to share with others.

i will end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, by the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, Shoghi Effendi:

"Life is a constant struggle, not only against forces around us, but above all against our own ‘ego‘. We can never afford to rest on our oars, for if we do, we soon see ourselves carried down stream again."

and this one:

"The more we search for ourselves, the less likely we are to find ourselves; and the more we search for God, and to serve our fellow-men, the more profoundly will we become acquainted with ourselves, and the more inwardly assured. This is one of the great spiritual laws of life."

 if any of you have any thoughts, comments, reactions, etc. please feel free to email me at : laylisamimi [at] gmail.com - i would truly love to hear from you. 

| 53 |
photography by layli samimi and quotes by her & her loved ones; 
new piece up every friday, read my manifesto for this project heresee all of them here

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