I was feeling pretty rattled. I had been attending an all weekend writer’s conference, and would be presenting in the morning. Meantime, a dozen people were coming to our house for a dinner party in 30 minutes. A big thunderstorm was coming… and I had promised everyone that before eating we’d be outside for some contemplative photography.
When everyone arrived, as my husband and I were juggling ovens and a chi-poo we were dog sitting, I hurriedly explained the photography instructions. Get outside, see what draws you and take a really close up photograph. As I pushed everyone out the door, I added, oh yeah, and slow down…
“As if,” I thought, running out the door with my smart phone in hand for taking some photos.
As everyone bobbed around taking photos, I quickly strode into the neighborhood. As I walked, I began noticing the reflections in the puddles from an earlier storm. The thickness of the air broke with a slight curl of cool breeze. My step slowed as I began looking more deeply.
Miksang contemplative photography is about the art of clear seeing. Turning down the overactive mind so we can get fresh perceptions.
As I walked, I spotted a waxy, exotic-looking leaf, upon which two pea-sized white blossoms had fallen and nestled. A red leaf dotted with raindrops caught my eye. The more my curiosity took over to see what had been invisible — and what might disappear only moments later — the more my thinking slowed and I came into the moment.
By the time I got back to the house 15 minutes later, I felt fully energized and refreshed, as if I’d had a nap, a bath and tea – only better! One woman had become so immersed in the assignment we had to go out and find her. She was beaming with that look of someone who had just gotten a really good massage. As we all sat around the table sharing our photos during dinner, we had glimpses into unseen worlds. A snail sipping from a drop of water. A rust patina on scrap metal. Wavy images in a gazing ball.
Whole universes blossomed under our noses.
As photographer Helen Vink says,
“One thing at a time with full attention directly from the heart + a creative expression = the universal experience of joy.”
What creative practices take you from stressed to relaxed or even joyful? What do you notice happens when you slow down? Please comment here.
Aging: A Journey of Hope
9:30 a.m. -12 noon on Saturday, June 25, 2016
As we age, new fears arise. Using a variety of creative exercises, we will explore what it means to free ourselves to thrive and come fully alive in the second half of life. For more information, go here: http://eremos.org/workshops/