Blurry (BOS)

I went to take photos for the workout today…after the 6:30am bounce…after the newbie meeting…I grabbed the camera and took a couple shots to check out the lighting and resolution of the photos. They were blurry. I made adjustments to the settings that I know how to adjust, tried again, and…still blurry.

photos. just out of focus.

It didn’t take long for me to think about how relevant that is to life. Sometimes what we can see in life and how focused everything feels is precise and crystal clear. Like taking a photo with perfect lens acuity. You can see all the details and all the shadows and highlights. All the color and feeling expressed in that moment come to life in the photo. And when life feels like these in-focus photos, it’s pretty easy to see all that’s good. It’s easier to see opportunities in all the places they present themselves. And it’s easier to appreciate the whole story represented by the many photos. Life can feel pretty good.

But there are other times when shit is out of focus. When everything you look at in life feels blurry and wonky, and makes you feel like you want to just rub your eyes and look harder, squint a little to see if it gets clearer. Those are the moments when it’s so hard to see the whole picture, because what stands out most is everything you’re missing due to the focus being soft, smudged, and blurry. That’s when our fears and uncertainties seem to fill in the edges of the forms and shapes in those out-of-focus photos, telling us stories that feel so real, but are likely no more accurate than the details in a photo that we just can’t make out. It makes life feel weird, it produces lots of unknowns, and it usually makes us sad, afraid, or anxious.

Today, when I couldn’t get the camera to focus, I had a moment of “oh shit…” because there weren’t going to be any photos, or they’d all be bad and such poor quality. #NotDooster. And then I looked around at the sea of people sweeping up and down the stairs, working hard at completing #frogman. I knew that the story that really matters is not just the one captured on a literal camera, it’s in the experience of showing up and working out. It’s in those little moments shared when you looked right at someone else and declared, “YOU CAN DO THIS,” when you shared a small crimson step with someone going by, when you found a seat next to a fellow sweaty human for the group photo, and even in the cacophony of noise when everyone sang a different song to Drew for his birthday (at the 6:30 group). Those frames of the story were perfectly in focus, because we showed up to see them.

I think that’s what focus, in life, is really all about–it’s being fully present to see, feel, hear, and experience that snapshot of life. And NP workouts are some of the most vibrant, in-focus, brilliant, colorful, clear, present moments of life that I have. Maybe because they’re brief and to the point. Maybe because it’s difficult to think about anything else than those stairs when we’re climbing up and down. Maybe because I’ve invested so much time in NP as a community in Boston and also in the worldwide movement, that they just matter to me. But they serve as a constant reminder that all of life doesn’t have to be out of focus at the same time. Just because some stuff feels blurry as hell, doesn’t mean that blurriness has to take over everything.

So take a look at your own lens, your camera for seeing the world right now. If you’re feeling in focus, then keep looking around and capturing those amazing moments of living. And if what you see when you look out is a little blurry, have no fear. Together we put more things into focus, we clarify the perspective, and we help each other see the amazing images in the moments we share. Whether it’s on the stairs, in random places around the city on Monday mornings, cruising up and down Summit Ave. on Fridays, or simply connecting with each other over meals, runs, drinks, socials, or whatever else outside of formal workouts. This November Project community has a powerful way of reducing the haze and blurriness, even just enough, to appreciate what’s right in front of us. Keep showing up. Keep working on the focus, it won’t stay blurry forever. Keep your eyes open for the amazing images that life is offering, because they’re out there and they’re all around us.

Keep changing the world, my friends. And enjoy my photos today 😉 (which I ended up taking on an iPhone)



  • October 16th 6pm: Landry’s Bicycle Shop at 1048 Commonwealth Ave. Brighton, MA.
  • INFO SESSION about the upcoming volunteer opportunity. NP Boston is partnering with Playworks, a non-profit organization that provides coaching and support for children during recess times at their schools, in order to make those physical and social times more positive and more successful (sound like NP?!?)
  • NP community members (LIKE YOU!) are invited to help as volunteers in this partnership.
  • You can show up to learn more about what this volunteer opportunity would look like, how much time it would take, and all other information/questions will be provided & answered.
  • We will talk, PLAY, and generally have a good time, so come check it out even if you’re unsure how involved you might want to be!
  • October 16th (same night!!) 7:30pm (same spot)
  • Come for the hugs, come for the conversation, come for some leftover playtime from the info session…just show up.
  • We will either be hanging out right at Landry’s or we’ll move to somewhere very, very nearby for some good old-fashioned NP social time, where you get to talk to and connect with those other folks you tend to only see very early in the morning while you’re all sweating.
  • This is a good opportunity to bring some folks who you’ve been wanting to recruit to workouts, but who have all the reasons in the world for not showing up. Sometimes meeting real people is the best recruiting tactic in the book.

Any questions about the volunteer stuff or the social, please reach out to me (Emily).

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