What’s in front of us…

Not paying attention keeps us in an endless cycle of wanting. We move on to the next thing because we aren’t really taking in what we already have…

Sharon Salzberg

When I made my first “Books and Blooms” image, I didn’t have any specific goal in mind. I didn’t even know it was going to be a series. I just intuitively put several things together that I love and value and started to take pictures of them. I began with the appearance of blooms in my garden and will continue as long as I have them.

Now that a few months have passed, I have been given a deeper appreciation of what I have gained from this series. It really has to do with making the time to pay attention to what I already have. The flowers, the books, the pitcher collection…it has been a way to tap into the  beauty and details of all of them. The lines, the shapes, the colours, the words, the feelings, the messages…I look, I look again, I look more deeply…I see something new and different. I am filled up and feel complete.

Sharon Salzberg, one of my favourite dharma teachers, has noted that “inattention creates an escalating need for stimulation.” And I find that so true for me. When I’m not really taking in what is right in front of me, I tend to search for something more, for something different.

And social media is right there to offer it up to me. It is so easy to be entranced and distracted by the amazing and inspiring images I see on a daily basis. And while I will always seek to have my eyes opened to the world around me and to new ways of seeing and knowing through different social media platforms, I also want to really live in and appreciate my own world.

So while I don’t plan to give up social media entirely, I have cut down the time I spend on it so that I can focus in on my here and now, where I have plenty to explore and much to learn.

Photography is still my vehicle for slowing down and paying attention, and I love being part of the large community of kindred spirits out there who feel the way I do about it.  My participation in that will not change.

But as for “not taking in what we already have,” Books and Blooms has proven to be a great antidote to that, and also a guide to a new way of going forward.














11 thoughts on “What’s in front of us…

  1. A beautiful combination and I love your thoughtful ideas about slowing down and paying attention. Something I think about a lot in our world of distractions. Thanks.

  2. Beautiful photo…gorgeous light, and a lovely blending of elements. I have similar feelings about social media and am trying to understand how to balance taking in the best of it while preserving the solitude I need. I don’t like the habit I’ve developed of checking my phone or iPad every time there’s a brief wait or a quiet moment. It’s like constantly inviting a crowd into my head. Everything elicits a response – happy, sad, indignation, whatever. I often just feel worn out.

  3. Hello Sherry, I haven’t visited for some time and have just spent a lovely moment looking through a lot of back posts! So lovely to see them all and take my time. I particularly enjoyed your shots of Spain and of course all the flower photographs! There are so many blogs closing down these days and that makes me sad. I have always enjoyed the connections and e-friends that are made by blogging. Many people seem to be rushing to Instagram and Facebook and neither of these platforms interest me. I still post on my blog regularly and on Flickr.
    It’s so lovely to see your blog still going strong. I’ll be back!
    Wishing you a wonderful autumn!

  4. This is so interesting. Another lovely friend and I were just talking about this same subject a few nights ago, and here you are doing it. I’m always struggling with the push and pull of social media. I’m also at a place now, in my life, where I really need to put more time into the doing of what I love, then the sharing of what I did. I to, love my peeps but I think seeing them in a different light has helped me to sort through my priorities.
    I love your books and blooms series and I think it’s wonderful that you got so much insight from the doing of it. When we are at our creative best, we never know where the path will lead us. I to, have enough to enjoy right here, so I will try to stay focused on that also.

    This blog post was enlightening and brings me a sense of hope, to buckle down. The photo is gorgeous also. So happy the creative Gods made sure our paths crossed.

    Happy Weekend Sherry. 🍷

  5. wow, we obviously have been of the identical mind with these thoughts. Initially I was so surprised that we both wrote about the same thoughts at the same time but then realized that really so many of us have likely been shifting to this reality. I’ve really enjoyed your books and blooms series — as with most of your images. All my life I’ve been an observer, and it feels so good to clear some of the social media clutter so I can observe unimpeded once again. I’m delighted you are focusing on your photography — we all enjoy the beauty you offer us through your images.

  6. I dumped social media for many reasons – time wasting being an important one – your photos have an in- depth aspect which comes from slowly seeing – this one is beautifully set up

  7. Wonderful image, lovely post, Sherry. Well said. I am with you on this, for sure – I have also cut way back on looking at or responding to social media. There’s an abundance (well, really an over-abundance!) to see and do, right here and now, without the distractions it brings. I have also been working on not feeling guilty for taking a longer and longer time to create any new blog posts. 🙂
    Love the Books and Blooms series.

  8. Lovely quote for the beautiful arrangement.
    I live in a small space – camper van – but my outer space regularly changes and never knowing if/when I will return to that place help keeps me open to seeing as fully as I can. However I have to suppress the inclination to shoot wildly but instead search for the essense.

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