Monday, January 6, 2014

Less is More: Capturing the Spirit of the Moment

I have a dear friend from my church, who shared something with me this Sunday that really resonated. She gave me permission to share her experience, as we both agreed that it was something many of my readers may relate to.

She and her husband have 5 children under the age of 11, including two sets of twins. Christmas morning is always exciting and a bit chaotic, as you can imagine! This year, something happened that affected the whole mood. My friend and her husband couldn't find the camera.

At first she was disappointed, thinking that she would miss out on all their excitement, but then as their children began to come down the stairs to see the magic under the tree an interesting thing happened. My friend, who in previous years had always been focused on capturing the moment on camera, realized that she had to capture the moment in her mind! Instead of seeing her children's emotions through the lens and worrying about framing the perfect shots, she was able to be present with them in a way that she was not free to do before. She experienced Christmas morning in a totally different, deeper and more meaningful way! Christmas for her this time, had a relaxed and pure innocence focused on the Current Moment, and not on preserving the Past for some Future Moment.

I have had this same revelation many times, as I sort through my photos, digital now topping 15,000 over 12 years or so. So many of them are buried in folders, never being looked at. About 5 years ago, I began to be a lot more careful of what I preserved. I no longer felt compelled to take thousands of pictures, nor keep ones that are "outtakes". I try to be thoughtful of what I take, and make sure that I at least get one desired shot, and not worry about documenting every step of the event, or that everyone is perfectly ready for the photo! For example, on my son's recent 19th birthday, it was important to me to have a photo of us together so I made a special point to ask my husband to take it!

Another thing I have noticed, is when we go to school concerts (and my husband and I go to them all- (orchestra, band, choral), I always see parents (and often now- younger siblings) with their video cameras and ipads (sometimes blissfully unaware they are blocking the view of those behind them), dutifully recording every song that their child is featured in. I mean, it is wonderful to record a special song or a sample of the playing, but recording each and every concert in it's entirety seems a bit excessive and I often wonder how many times those lengthy videos are viewed again. While I don't grudge those parents their pride in their child, I just feel that listening to the music in the present and enjoying their child's performance without the lens has its merits and rewards!

The funny thing is that my friend and her husband realized later that they had their camera all along, it was just in a coat pocket, tucked away. It turned out that they both were glad it had been missing after all, as it showed them the Joy of the Present.

So, to quote my pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst, who this past Sunday quoted Albert Einstein as saying "Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow".

And stayed tuned for my next post: Hope for Organizing 2014 photos!

For help with any organizing project,
simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.

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