No Participation Ribbons Required
Just the chance to participate in life is sufficient; no formal ribbons, awards, certificates or honors should be necessary to inspire you or acknowledge that you are participating in life and living. That does not mean there are no rewards in living life well; they present themselves daily.
I was talking to my oldest son about photography and how each person truly sees based on the influences of their life. He lives and breathes the bonfire organized by the students of Texas A&M, and therefore his images are profound, particularly for those to whom the bonfire has meaning. That is the way artistic expression works-it comes from our souls. He referenced how similarly I would photograph running, whether track or cross country. I added a bit, saying that I also see running through the eyes of someone who dearly loved the sport but never broke the ribbon on a race. There are more non-ribbon breakers in the world, than first-placers, but that does not diminish our love and passion for things. My vision is influenced by only having ribbons or medals for the places I earned (this was before "participation ribbon" days), and the work based on love of the sport. I coached for love of the sport for years, my coaching style influenced by the reality that most of the kids I coached would NOT be breaking the ribbon. The conversation continued regarding artistic expression coming through creative decisions influenced the soul and experiences of the art creator.
"But the ribbons don't matter, dad," he said. "There is something award winning in everything that happens."
Whether for our own enjoyment or in our perception of living, it serves us well to realize that each moment is award winning if we see in it the joy, heroics, sublime nature, breathtaking clarity, uniqueness...and all the other things that could be formally awarded, but aren't. The award is in seeing the moment, living the moment, expressing the moment. That is life; that is art.
Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2010 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.