I have to say, that I love photography. While I can totally geek-out on the nitty gritty of shutter speeds and f/stops, and, as much as I respect the DSLR photographers, I really find DSLR photography more complex than what I need. Still, I wanted to improve my own skills as a photographer and in the last year I decided to only shoot images and video with my iPhone. I mean it was always in my back pocket anyway, so why not?
I am your typical Type-A-stressed-out-to-the-max-overachiever type. Well at least I used to be. And when I would overload my to-do list, over-commit and then take on even more, there was no time in the day to photograph, let alone, to pause and notice moments. I didn't even give photography a second's thought. But until I decided to challenge myself to start taking more photographs, I didn't even understand what I was missing out on.
One of the wonderful and not so often talked about benefits of photography is that it gets me to live in the moment much more than I am used to. I have started to learn to pause, and look at my surroundings to find things to photograph. It may be a shadow, or light peeking through trees, or snails (yea, its become a thing) or an expression on my dog's face. But I have learned that I enjoy life so much more when I take the time to notice the moments. Now, when I go for walks, I find that I am the one pausing to capture moments, light, whatever and then running to catch up. It really has brought a lot of joy to my life.
Being mindful refers to our ability to be aware of what is going on both inside us and around us. It's the continuous awareness of our bodies, emotions and thoughts - as well as the awareness of what is going on in our immediate environment. There are many health benefits to mindfulness including stress reduction. And I find that practicing photography is a great door to being mindful to my environment, but it also gives me that pause to be mindful of my own body and mind. And in that respect, I know that photography has contributed to better health for me.
Am I a professional? Ha! no way. Are my photos perfect? Not even close. Is my photo roll full of blurred, muted, images? You bet! Oh and there are some black ones from photographing my pocket by accident - that happens regularly. But some days I get some gems, and they are delightful gifts when I get them.
To that end, I have signed up for a photography challenge in August. Its called the August Break run by Susannah Conway. She takes a break from writing on her blog and focuses on photography. The rules are really simple: take a photograph each day in August. She provides daily subject prompts... and those participating post to Instagram with the #AugustBreak2014 hashtag or the shared Flickr album. Of course you can always follow my Instagram feed if you want to see what I am up to photography wise. Or you can sign up for the challenge yourself! Totally free.
What do you do to be mindful throughout your day? Leave a comment below - I'd love to hear from you!