My friend Dee, who blogs at The Good Holiday, contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I wanted to work with her on a #365Days project in 2016.

I traveled with Dee during my recent trip to Reunion Island. She is a warm, passionate, hilarious person and she loves teaming up with other bloggers on projects like this.

08-Dee-on-MountainDee on a mountain in Reunion Island.

So of course I couldn’t say no to her. But I’m not gonna lie: I was nervous.

If you’re a regular on Instagram then you probably know what a #365Days project is. If not, let me explain. A #365Days project is basically a commitment to post an Instagram every single day, for an entire year, using one specific hashtag. I’ve seen people do 365 days of portraits, 365 days of jumpstagrams, 365 days of long-exposure shots, etc.

I’ve never tried to do a #365Days project before but I did participate in a “100 Happy Days” project once, in which I posted a photo of something that made me happy every day for 100 consecutive days. It was freaking hard. I don’t like to post bad pictures on Instagram and sometimes it’s hard to come up with one good photo of anything per day, let alone a good photo of something specific.

I said yes to Dee anyway, because I like her and I’m not one to back down from a challenge. (Read Dee’s #365Days project post.)

A few days later Dee sent me this suggestion: #365DaysofMakingSpace. Then she sent me a voice note:

“I once read this thing … well, not once … someone said to me that you won’t attract things into your life if you don’t make space for it. So … if you make space for empathy, if you make space for an alternative lifestyle, if you make space for understanding someone that is different from you, if you make space for goodness in your own life … you can’t bring new positive things into your life if there is no space for it. You have to create that space. So this is like making space for … whatever … so … ja ….”

The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

I have an amazing life. Why do I spend so much time worrying? Why — in between all the exciting, fun things that I get to do — do I fret and beat myself up about all of the other things I’m not doing? Why do I compare myself and feel inferior to others? Why do I waste precious time stressing out about things that I have no control over?

I’ll tell you why: Because I’m not making space.

Rather than fill every synapse of my brain with worries and criticisms and links and statuses and memes, I need to sit still and make some space. Space to think and be alone. Space to spend time with family and friends. Space to focus on projects that really mean something to me. Space to write. Space to be content, space just to be.

So that’s what this project will be for me. Every day in 2016 I’m going to give some thought to making space. And every day I will post a picture with that hashtag. Simple. Not easy, but simple.

Oh, and this year is a leap year. So the hashtag will be #366DaysofMakingSpace.

Here’s my first picture:

Ray-at-bird-parkRay and I have been talking about going to the Montecasino Bird Gardens together for at least a year. Yesterday, on the last day of 2015, we finally made space, and I had the privilege of photographing Ray exchanging bemused expressions with a group of raucous rainbow lorikeets. (I’ll write more about the Bird Gardens in a future post.) I have so much love for this man and I plan to make more space for him — and fun dates like this one — in 2016.

Follow Dee and me on Instagram for the daily progress of #366DaysOfMakingSpace. And feel free to join in if you want.

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