November 05, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Photography

This week's beauty is Terry Lee Cafferty who is a new friend of mine, but already a dear one. We met through The Revelation Project. Terry Lee is 53-years-old and is a fine art portrait photographer specializing in babies and children. She owns the photography studio Lovesome Images which creates family artwork with natural style images that have been described as intimate, heartwarming and timeless. Terry Lee is married to singer John Cafferty of The Beaver Brown Band.

Terry Lee has this to share about growing older:

I am a children's portrait artist and I love what I do. I am fascinated by human nature and consistently strive to capture and document the elements of life that connect each and every one of us. I photograph children because I so love their pure precious light, energy and the way they help us remember to see the world with a sense of awe while reminding us to live in the present moment.

As I grow (older) I've noticed an "ease" and freedom that feels natural to me. I believe that my human task here (on earth) is to learn, and stretch to be the best "me" I can be. With each passing year I get closer to understanding what really matters: family & friendships, faith, kindness, passion, puppies, honest work, saying “i'm sorry”, saying "i love you”, flowers, gratitude, imagination, home, charity, curiosity, the sounds of music & laughter, a good book, wisdom, memories, hope, courage, summer nights, family dinners & a good cup of coffee...just to name a few!

The more I learn and know myself the more I can embrace each aspect of myself (positive and negative) while realizing that those pesky things outside myself bothering me are my teachers -and I use these moments as opportunities to look within. Acceptance of myself and others has taught me that we are all connected in our human search for purpose and meaning. I've found that surrender, letting go & willingness to fail is a fine art - and each challenge teaches me and moves me toward fulfilling my life's divine purpose.

Life is magical- and each experience is so necessary. If we are open to learning and looking at life through the eyes of a student we can experience joy, heartache, milestones, struggles, birth & death all as deeply fulfilling experiences interwoven in the beautiful tapestry of life. I feel awake and alive now- which I have discovered are the gifts of age and wisdom.

The most difficult part of getting older is facing the mortality of ourselves and others.  Missing loved ones who have passed on and then learning how to live and adapt without them in the world has been most challenging for me. Secondarily, I've watched my body change, my facial lines soften but with each "stage" of life, I too, am experiencing a certain level of freedom with myself that was not available before. Focusing on my exterior has become less important and I find joy and peace with who I am inside instead. Don't get me wrong- I do care what I look like!  But, I am so much more at peace with who I am inside- and as the years pass.

Before I turned 50 I spent far too much time worrying about what other people thought. I took on pain and challenges that were not necessarily mine and would try to "fix" things, thinking that I was helping people. It was a huge relief when I finally learned that I can only control and change myself…and that sometimes loving someone and helping them means letting them figure it out for themselves. 
I've learned that I have the power to choose my thoughts and change my thoughts - and that this has provided a path that helps me to interpret and perceive life and it's happenings in more positive and fulfilling ways.  

When I envision myself as an older woman I see someone who is conscious, enlightened, graceful, and kind, and strives daily to love- unconditionally- toward myself and others. I am content to live up to my ideals without stretching to meet anyone else's standards now and this in itself is so freeing. 
I am not interested in growing "old" simply by living a certain quota of years. I feel that the most instantaneous threat of age is when we desert our dreams and ideals. I strive to trust, grow, believe, and flourish rather than to worry, doubt, and distrust…to me, this would be way worse than the years that wrinkle my skin. 

I don't ever want to lose my sense of joy & wonder.

And so it goes....I'm just getting started.

~Thank you Terry Lee for being this week's beauty. Louise