There’s a sticky note on my desk where I’ve written “shooting with a mindful eye”. I jotted it down while watching an online tutorial on black and white street photography. It wasn’t a new tidbit of wisdom for me. It was just a reminder. I wrote it down on a sticky note and slapped it to my desk as a reminder to be vigilant to look through my camera lens with intention and mindfulness. I like to think I practice this kind of mindfulness whenever I head out on a photo walk. I did have someone tell me this week just how much they enjoy seeing my posted images and that I take really great pictures. I am grateful for that bit of praise. It’s nice to hear those kinds of things on occasion, particularly when you feel like for the most part you take mediocre pictures.
Recently, I replaced the word “shooting” with “looking”. Look with a mindful eye. There are times when I can’t pause long enough to take a picture. Like, when we are driving down the road or Josephine’s taking me for a walk. I will notice something and instead of trying to get to my camera, I will simply hold my hands up and form a camera shaped box with my fingers. Then move my index finger as if to click a button and say “click”. It's my way of taking a mental photograph of something I want to remember, but it is also my way of remembering to notice my surroundings. When I walk outside, I remind myself to look up. There's so much more to see than the sidewalk under my feet. Some mornings, this means turning my face right into the sun and then immediately closing my eyes at the glaring rays. I want to look at the world as if I am going to photograph it, even if I am not. I am thankful for this mindfulness practice as well.
We all have that thing that keeps us sane. I know a woman who runs. She was still running on the treadmill as if bears were chasing her up to two weeks before giving birth. She did not run for physical health as much as she was running for her mental health. She would lose her mind if she couldn't run. Some of us knit. Some of us cook. Some of us shut off social media (something I should do more often). I suspect that many of us have a Mary Poppins sized bag filled with an arsenal of things that we keep for our sanity. Mine includes a yoga mat with all the yoga props, a hammock, a bowl of always hot potato soup and some cheese, good tunes and my cameras. I am thankful for all of those things but today I am particularly grateful for the mindfulness practice that I get from using my cameras.
What's something in your Mary Poppins bag that you are grateful for this week?
This week, I am honoring my gratitude by donating to Puerto Rico's recovery. Talaura posted a very useful link on her Facebook timeline this week for the Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort for Puerto Rico. They have information on ways you can help.