Mindfulness comes in many forms these days. “Short times, many times,” more extended sittings, mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful seeing, online mindful programs, mindful webinars, mindful retreats and so on. All have their place, but I often see us, as adults, missing the point or having inhuman expectations in our mindfulness practices. Wanting to control our thoughts, or when we sit quietly not feeling quiet in the least and thinking we’ve failed, or forgetting to practice at all!
Several years ago I was sea kayaking with a photographer friend of mine in the brackish waters of South Carolina. All of a sudden she exclaimed, “Oh my gosh look at that!” “What?” I yelled back. Ahead, next to the shore, there were little fountains of water shooting up a foot in the air seemingly all on their own. “What is that?” I asked. “Those are spitting oysters!” she cried out in wonder. After enjoying the moment, all I could think is that I wanted to ‘see’ as my friend sees. She gave me an assignment: take one photo a day for a year. It can be of anything, and it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. A light switch, a fence post, a blade of grass, the sky, the floor. Anything. I took it on.
I’d like to say I produced a beautiful documentary of my “work,” but alas, what I have is the memory of the experience of that year and the beginning of my own mindful awareness practice. So attached below is a lovely short video called “The Magic of a Second” by the videographer Deb Achak. (www.debachak.com) It is a window into what taking a picture a day is like or seeing a picture every moment of every day. Being aware of the moment is what mindfulness is. Not controlling it.
Children do this naturally, open, curious, playful. They are our best teachers. The second link is a short video produced by the same videographer of a preschool in Washington where mindfulness is practiced throughout the day with the little students that attend there. It’s beautiful and inspiring and reminds me of why I do this work. Enjoy!