Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mindful Photography

The mind is the most capricious of insects — flitting, fluttering. 
Virginia Woolf

The next couple months are going to be most interesting around here. We have a wedding in June and a baby coming in July. The baby part is easy. I'm not the one going through labor.  We readied the old cradle and stroller for baby visits and we wait for that child to appear. Already this grandparent gig is much easier than parenting.

But the wedding comes first. The wedding festivities six years ago for the baby-to-be kids was an incredible high and the one coming up holds all that promise as well. But, those who say the groom's mother has nothing to do? Phooey to you. Along side our wedding responsibilities like the rehearsal dinner and figuring out how to dress myself, we have family and friends coming from all over the country. Lots of work going on to get the homestead ready and plan for good times and good food while we gather.

For years you sit around scratching your belly saying, "Ya know, Pa. Someday we should fix that."

That someday has arrived. With all the details.  If I get everything on these lists done before everyone arrives, I can have great fun when they do. And I do like to have fun.

For sanity purposes, I decided to take a Mindful Photography class this past month. I completed the course last Friday and I have to say that along with my daily poetry/essay reading and journal writing, I have retained some sense of stability. My husband might argue with that long statement, but what does he know.

Mindful Photography.  Contemplative and Miksang Photography. Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates to "Good Eye." That means we declutter our brains and just shoot away -- or something like that. Pure perception and straight shooting. Not worrying about the light and the perfect setting and all that jazz. Instead focusing on what we are seeing when we open our minds and see.

Sounds like how I, not being a photographer and barely knowing how to use my camera, normally take my photos. One moment, one shot. Similar to writing a shitty first draft. (God bless you Anne Lamott for that most appropriate term.)

But this mindfulness also involved the contemplative part. As said by Christine Vatters Paintner in her book Eyes of the Heart, this is a receptive practice, where we allow grace to enter and open ourselves to hear and ponder.

Perfect escape for me.  The photography practice has offered a chance to breathe. I'm grateful.

Led by a very accomplished and organized teacher who assured me I wasn't the first intimidated by this venture, this Put It On Auto and Shoot person experienced great joy in the process. Here are a few things I found on my outings.

Just What Is

Color and Shapes

Miksang Pattern

The Ordinary

Love's Equivalent



From a Child's Point of View

I'm a rookie, but now I'm a more mindful rookie. Calmed. In the moment.

Back to my lists. Mindfully. And if anybody wants to clean toilets...


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