A friend spent this past New Year’s Eve in Paris. There he and his family, along with thousands of Parisians, celebrated the arrival of the new year at the Arc de Triomphe. He remarked how, as midnight approached, the images that lit the arch were counterpoint to the darkened buildings that surrounded the plaza. The contrast of darkness and light is fitting for this occasion.
New Year’s Eve concludes the yearly holiday celebration of the return of the sun and light. The stroke of midnight is an intangible portal–a time portal–where we cross a threshold into the new year. Like birthdays, anniversaries, and other days we memorialize, it demarcates past experience and future potential. New Years is fraught with the pitfalls of resolutions; but, it can be an inflection point where with reflection, we can commit to new concepts and strategies.
As 2016 began, I was contemplating a new commitment–The Thousand Portal Project. I found the concept highly energizing but extraordinarily daunting. At the rate of 10 portals per year, the math doesn’t work, even if I was a young dude. And, as an artisan, establishing and managing a project of that magnitude was not appealing. Here I was standing before a threshold and I was quite hesitant to step across.
I continued to consider the idea and spoke with friends about it. A portal exists to remind us of a threshold. By definition a threshold is: “the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.” and it is also “a point of entry or beginning.” Helpful, yet neither definition specifies the degree of required intensity. Discerning large thresholds like a commitment to this Thousand Portal project is straightforward. But recognizing the numerous subtle ones that fill our lives requires more attention.
Conversing with my friend about my hesitancy to commence such a sizeable project, he suggested that I visually document the many portals I pass through in my daily life; and capture with a sentence or two, the changes in my state of mind or feelings. This interested me because it heightens my awareness of myself in my surroundings. I am aware of the dynamic relationship between who I am and where I am. Chronicling prompts me to be consciously aware of the subtle changes I experience when I cross a threshold.
In the intervening weeks since the year began, I decided to start this thousand portal project. I will document my passage through some of the many portals I encounter with Instagram. I’ve already captured a few and I’m surprising myself on the shifts I experience as I cross these small and large thresholds. Feel free to join me on my journey. You can find my project on Instagram at elven_gates.