A short while ago I opened an opportunity for people to send me stories of mindfulness that can show the rest of us how it has had a practical impact on a particular event or their lives. I’m calling this column of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, “Voices.”
A number of people continue to write in with stories. If you have a story, continue writing in and as long as there are good stories that teach the rest of us how mindfulness can work in our lives, I will choose from them from time to time to post on Mindfulness and Psychotherapy.
Of course those that get chosen can also send me a link that I’ll include in the post where people can learn more about them.
Here’s a wonderful story that teaches us the wisdom of being present in the transitory moments of life by Stuart Frazer:
My wife is an outdoor photographer and I recently began sometimes accompanying her on shoots. I carry equipment, help scout out shots and provide companionship. The sun was shining this past Sunday and we went for an early morning visit to a beautiful old neighborhood in our city. As we walked I found myself looking closely at buildings, boats, birds and other people. Most importantly, I focused on sun and light.
We turned down a street and my wife took a series of shots of a wonderful old home dating back to the 1800s. The house was in shade, but she noticed a small area unexpectedly bathed in natural light. The light could not be direct. Where was it coming from? I repositioned myself and saw it was sunlight reflecting off an upstairs window in the house across the street. The closed white draperies hanging behind the window glass intensified the reflection. The light we were trying to capture resulted from a complicated, fleeting set of conditions: the angle of the sun in fall, the time of day and the color of the window drapery. It would certainly be gone in a few minutes.
As we later walked I made a connection. Good photographs capture unique moments, transitory arrangements of the world. Finding those moments means filtering out noise and being attuned to the environment around us. You may not capture the moment with the camera, but that’s beside the point. This exercise reinforced how interesting it can be to take a break from past and future, and to just go with what the eye sees in a short, fragmentary moment.
As Frank said, we can take this as a metaphor for how we pay attention to life. What are the wondrous subtleties that we miss out on because we are living on auto-pilot constantly rehashing the past or rehearsing the future?
It’s through connecting to what’s here through our given lenses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound that we connect to the life we are given.
Find a time today to just stop, take a breath and attune to your environment. You may just find an entire life that you’ve been missing out on.
Thanks for the gift Stuart.
If you have a story of a mindful moment in your life, please email it to [email protected] and allow it to be a gift that we can all learn from.
Camera photo available from Shutterstock.