Why Community Matters in Westport: Find Out How MaryEllen Hendricks is Staying Connected and Inspired

Why Community Matters

Local creativity is overflowing in communities as moms, dads, small business owners, nonprofit leaders and volunteers are finding new ways to communicate in this new world of social isolation. Their coping strategies and ingenuity are beyond inspiring! 

We are proud to introduce you to these innovators in “Why CommunityMatters”, a series made possible by LIFEWTR.

Meet Westport resident and photographer, MaryEllen Hendricks

With the new norm of practicing social distancing, where are you finding joy and inspiration?

I’ve been a photographer for around 40 years.  Several years ago, I learned about an ancient Celtic concept called ‘thin places.’ The idea is that thin places are where the physical world and the spiritual world come close together. I’ve been working on a Thin Places Project for the last few years, it’s about finding places that evoke the spiritual and transcendent in individuals.

During this time of social distancing, I’ve been cut off from both my work with people sharing their thin place experiences and my ability to travel to the world’s sacred places.  What I’ve been doing instead is to start a related project on Instagram.

Every day I’ve been photographing a place near my home or in my neighborhood that awakens the spirit in me.  I’ve been posting them on my @thinplacesproject account along with a quote from one of history’s great mystics or spiritual writers. It started off as a challenge and something to occupy me while we go through this difficult time. But it quickly became something of a discipline or practice. 

Are you discovering creative ways to connect with family and friends?

I’m finding with all the people I talk to, we’re all being changed by this universal time away from our usual life.  And part of that is the way this [Thin Places] project is slowing me down and connecting me more to my world.

I also find that I’m not the only one.  People are creating fascinating ways to document their experiences of social distancing. They may be sharing a photograph that they took, but you can see that there’s a difference in the images that are shared. People have more time, so they’re using it to be more sensitive to lighting, framing, angle, and all the qualities that go into an image. I guess what I’m saying is that you can actually see the increased mindfulness that is going into what's being created during this time of isolation.

I hate that this disease is happening! It’s very hard that I’ve been cut off from my children and grandchild and I want this to be over as soon as it can be.  But I can’t deny that it feels like there is more depth to the world right now and maybe more meaning, and I hope we can keep that.

Community matters - now more than ever. We are thankful to LIFEWTR for helping us to connect and stay strong.

The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 



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