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…
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.