I love to take pictures and write, especially in nature. As I writer, I try to capture thoughts or feelings that strike me as powerful. As a photographer, I want to get the shot that no one else can get or zoom in and snap a photo of a bird that would otherwise be too far away. But, I’ve recently decided to change my focus (literally), and try to take life in through all five senses, mindfully.
Every year, for the past 4 years or so, I have taken my niece to Build-a-Bear workshop for Christmas. This year was no different, it’s our thing. We either get breakfast or dinner and then head to the place where dreams come true for many an un-stuffed animal. She’s allowed to pick whatever animal she wants and dress it however she likes (fashion tastes aside).
Until this year, I spent each visit diligently recording my niece picking out her new friend, selecting a sound for it, stuffing it, putting in a heart, and ‘bathing’ it so it’s ready to go home. The pictures are still great to go back and look at when I miss her. I’ve realized, though, when looking at them, that I wasn’t truly present for the experience — not as much as I could have been.
I spent more time concerned with how I’d capture the moment for posterity and memory than I did on witnessing it in the moment. So, this year, we did our thing but rather than watch the event through an iPhone screen, I was as in the moment as I could be. We had a great time, and whether or not she was able to pick up on the nuance of my presence, I did. Pictures can get lost or destroyed (unfortunately), but moments can’t truly be recaptured, they have to be lived when they are happening.
Changing my focus at Christmas and beyond has been extremely rewarding. There are many more flavors in each bite of food and something as simple as seeing a beam of sunlight on the bark of a tree is more pleasurable than you’d think.
How are you living more mindfully?
– Your Charmed Yogi