Mindful Photography

An elderly Burmese man was dangling his parasol from one finger while he placed his hands on his back and swiveled his hips in a circle, stretching.  I felt myself smiling.  Another middle aged couple were barefoot in the grass performing some exercises together in the morning breeze.  Young boys on bicycles whizzed by and plenty of locals were relaxing by the water on shaded benches. 

Today I set out on a walk having no idea where I wanted to go.  It was early and I wanted to take advantage of some cool air before the sun burned through the haze and turned the sidewalk into a human frying pan. I set out around the lake, focused on my breath, and tried to let the thoughts that entered my mind just pass on through.  I smiled when the locals smiled at me.  I greeted the young boys giggling at my shorts sending them into even bigger fits of laughter. And I struggled to find my center.

Enjoying the Moment

I heard the heavy traffic moving slowly behind me, the smells of the gorgeous flowers and the lake.  I watched some birds fishing in the water, bobbing beneath the surface over and over again only occasionally coming up with something flopping in their beak. As I was examining the plants, a familiar one suddenly caught my eye, mimosa pudica.  Also called the sensitive plant because of how it closes up when it is touched.  I was attracted by the tiny purple flowers and I couldn’t resist touching it and taking a picture.

I remembered an article I saw recently about photography being used to practice mindfulness. It explained that photography is a “physical manifestation of mindfulness.”  And I continued my walk using this practice; looking up into the trees above and closely at the surface of the water and the ground beneath my feet. I practiced slowing down and being present in the moment as I appreciated everything I was feeling, hearing, and especially seeing around me. 

 

I saw these stunning water lilies, with a latex balloon floating next to them.  After the initial annoyance at the pollution of such a beautiful place, I thought of how many metaphors I could make from that image.

 As the heat increased I saw less and less people relaxing around the lake and I realized I had spent over an hour in this small area appreciating everything around me.  

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