Widen your horizon with new words

I love new words because often they reveal something that you are not aware of. The knowledge of a new word will widen you horizon and give you a better understanding of the world. Maybe you’ll notice something that you haven’t noticed as clearly before. Or it might be a concept that you know about but haven’t payed attention to yet.

Is it bokeh - photo copyright Hanna Andersson - www.ihanna.nu

I especially like when I find foreign words that I can use. Words that most of the time has no correct correlation to just one English or Swedish word, at least not a one-word translation that is easy to use. Saying words like these feels like having a secret, they can be magic as you whisper them to yourself. Like vipasanna and wabi-sabi for example.

And just recently, I found the word shoshin which I think sounds nice and has a beautiful meaning to it:

Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning Beginner’s Mind. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

Beginner’s Mind is something I like to cultivate as it also must mean that you have an open mind to new visions and ideas. Having shoshin will help you avoid being one of those terrible besserwissers and it will help you detect new roads and possibilities, ways of thinking other than the thought rout you normally fall into – and make you eager to study new subjects with the curiosity of a child. I think I have a rather developed shoshin if that’s not a contradiction in itself?

Apple blossom

I started writing about words tonight to try to find those lost words that escaped me, as I’ve had writers block for a couple of days. To be a writer, as is one of my life’s biggest dreams, you need to write almost every day. At least for 30 minutes I read somewhere last week. I don’t know if it needs to be time restraints, but I do believe in Good Habits and trying to grow New Habits is something I’m exploring a lot this year. With the Daily Art Cards I’m noticing how grand a Creative Habit is, but I also need to develop in other areas. On my priority list for the rest of the year is Mindfulness (as of the past weeks I’m working on this a lot), Writing Habit (just a little bit each day that is not diary writing), Happiness Habit (not deny myself it) and Exercise Habit. I think it is possible, and I read everything I find on these subjects right now, with a shoshin mind!

Oh, and the second reason I started to write this post
about new words because I found yet another one today! It’s bokeh (another Japanese word) that I found at one of my favorite sites right now, Shutter Sisters! If you haven’t visited it yet you will love it! Great photos, great prompts, great writing, great links, great comments! This Sunday Sarah wrote about that word and thinking about it opens a whole new world to me. I want to run out and take photos right now.

So what is it?

Bokeh (from the Japanese ボケ, “blur”) is a photographic term referring to the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens. Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject. [from wikipedia]


It seams like there is a lot of different opinions (as always) about the word though. A photo that has this bokeh should look like this or should look like that, and probably there is no real rule either. Some say out-of-focus highlights in the shape of those dots that look hexagonal, like dough nuts or spherical, with double lines or center dots. Others argue that it is just a blurry area that is ascetically pleasing. Others that the blurriness should reveal something that adds to the photo, like a background or foreground that says something extra about the image but still is not clear. I don’t care what it is, I just want to make me a heart lens and have me some fun.

And I think the above rather dark photo is one of the best I’ve ever taken. I just love the light in this bumble-bee photo that I took as the sun went down behind the tree. Yes, as the sun set at the horizon I was admiring the Apple blossoms. And it’s my favorite Apple Tree too, the one that has a hole in its trunk where the birds nest each spring.

14 Responses

  1. Wow you took some amazing pictures!!! I love to learn new words too. Although I don’t always use them but it’s fun to learn the definititions

  2. Hanna! The “blurred” photo above, of the bee is beautiful!! I hadn’t noticed the bee at first… I love how fat his little body is, with those thin little legs. You should frame this one.

  3. That Shoshin word is something to remember when ambitions and pride threatens to push away the fun in doing something.
    Thanks for letting me know about it!

    My goal is also to become a writer!
    And I want to combine my writing with illustrating, that’s my dream.

    The pisture really is wonderful!
    The eveninglight shining through the wings of the bumble-bee… Magical!

  4. Hi Hanna, I’m glad to see you discovering mindfulness and beginner’s mind. I may have mentioned Natalie Goldberg a while back; she talks a lot about mindfulness and writing. She has a new book out, too, that I’m hoping to read: Old Friends from Far Away. Check the related video on the page.

    My friend’s eight-year-old daughter writes wonderful little stories. I think she truly has “beginner’s mind”; she uses words in ways adults would not think about, but they work beautifully. She lately has been calling her new favorite words “juicy”; “oh, that’s such a juicy word!”

  5. what a great post, hanna. i love beautiful words like this too. the word antevasin (between worlds) was one of my recent favorites from the book “eat, pray, love”.

  6. Love this post so much – I will try and adopt a shoshin habit and your last photo if fabulous for sure whether it is bokeh or not

  7. Hi Hanna, I appreciate your discovering mindfulness and beginner’s mind. Beginner’s Mind is something, besides you have an open like to beautiful visions and ideas. I comprehend to extract new words too. Also the word Shoshin is something to remind when ambitions and arrogance threatens to persuade away the funniness in doing something.

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