A Daily Practice

While facilitating leadership training programs at GE’s Crotonville in 2013 and 14, I met an artist who gained serious accolades for his skull a day project. This became the foundation for his teaching curriculum designed to help people get “Unstuck.” After participating in his workshop, I decided to dip my toe into the pool of a daily commitment to something other than coffee and keeping my children alive.

I was on the road quite a bit between 2014 and…well…until Covid hit. A photo a day felt like it would be easy and would function like a diary, which, as someone who is mildly obsessed with understanding my own becoming, I’ve always felt guilty about not keeping. And like many artists before me, I decided the simplest subject was myself. I always have access to me, even while traveling.

For the better part of three years I took a daily portrait from wherever I was working. Trains, friend’s dining room tables, my kitchen floor with my back against the oven, coffee shops across the US. On the rare occasion that I look back at these photos, I’m struck by the sameness of my expression and find much more interest in them as a happy reminder of the many places I’ve gone and people I’ve shared my life with.

This daily practice overlapped for some time with another- making lists. Eventually, the lists eclipsed the photo project.

I wrote my first list on October 19, 2015 and shared it on Facebook. For almost five years, I shared one daily. A separate selection of them were published in a literary journal in 2016, an exciting acknowledgement of a creative endeavor I was particularly hungry for at the time. These too feel like a dairy, as they are a snapshot of the most mundane, anecdotal recordings of my day mixed in with sentimental musings on the past and dreams for the future.

A sampling from each year, dear reader:

In the last six months, I’ve only posted four lists. Nothing I’d been thinking about felt important enough to share while we’re collectively tackling so many systemic issues. The documentation of this very strange time in my life is absent.

I think it’s time for me to find a new daily ritual.

Any suggestions?

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Just trying to understand the tiny space I occupy in the cosmos without becoming too distracted by the laundry.

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Kristen Carbone

Just trying to understand the tiny space I occupy in the cosmos without becoming too distracted by the laundry.