Matthew Johnstone asks this in his calming book “Capturing Mindfulness – a guide to becoming present through photography.”
“What grabs you visually that you can’t fully explain?”
This photo that I took on Saturday, from a high vantage point above the Pauatahanui Inlet has the potential I discovered for some observers to wonder aloud about what they are seeing in the image.
When I was allowing my eyes to wander on Saturday there was something about the kowhai tree that grabbed me. When I loaded the photo up on to the computer I thought I could easily explain what I had seen with my eyes and what the camera had recorded.
But another person offered a different explanation of the image and suddenly I saw a whole new utterly intriguing and evocative possibility.
Matthew Johnstone speaks of being “photopresent” and in the main, this is exactly how I approach going about with my camera. I allow my eye and sometimes my heart to notice and for the action of clicking the shutter to flow from that space. It is a restful, easy space that has that soothing quality of flow most of the time.
The end result is an image which can occasionally have an inexplicable quality to it offering further contemplation and I really like that.
As a postscript: Matthew Johnstone has written the “Black Dog” series and “Quiet the Mind, Capturing Mindfulness”. He has a website here:
Rivers are often used as metaphors for life or perhaps how we need to live life. Simply put -to go with the flow, avoid stagnation, ride out the white water, enjoy the journey.
I’ve been reflecting on what has been on my mind these past few days and find that there are a good many people who are important to me who find themselves in rough and uncharted waters right now. I hope I can offer them support through my words and attention as life moves them on in the care of health professionals and the possibility of different ways of living in the future.
Others are feeling in side streams, away from the flow that they would like in their lives. I wonder if time and encouragement will assist them?
Another is feeling the effects of deep currents from the past and is struggling to clear those. Perhaps forgiveness can help in these situations?
Then one or two are in whirlpools where the water and force spinning and sucking at them have left them feeling drained, bewildered and grief stricken. Love and a listening, attentive ear are often the best we can offer.
I have also been flowing through steady, calm and pleasant water when we celebrated two birthdays and a belated third one last week. I need times of refreshment like this to remind me that there are easy parts of the journey.
And later today I hit the high adventure section of the river when I care for my boisterous, agile, funny, delightful two year old grandson. There will be no stagnant pools or much in the way of gentle flow but there will be excitement, laughter, energy and new channels to explore together:-)
I have a curious and inquiring mind. I wrestle with the Big puzzles about God and life and purpose and existence and this puzzling seems to happen in a wide and expansive part of my brain.
I also wrestle on a daily basis with more minor puzzles, such as what to cook for dinner! Lots of these sorts of puzzles get worked on in the part of my brain that applies logic and consequential thinking.
However I also love crossword puzzles and my brain seems to work on these in a quiet, focused, “flow” part of my brain. One particular type of word puzzle I enjoy is called a Code Cracker
( go to www. codecrackerbooks.com for more details). Once I have cracked the initial code I can follow with little hesitation through the puzzle. I can become oblivious to time and other distractions. I feel a sense of satisfaction once the code is cracked, as well as a relaxed feeling that comes from giving my whole attention totally to one task.
Another trick I have learnt about my brain and how I function is to leave the clues I cannot solve initially in a crossword and go and do something completely different. I often return to find the answers pop instantly to mind. I find that I can use this trick to help solve other puzzles in my life that don’t always have a single, straightforward or easy answer. Time and focus on other tasks or activities can sometimes allow some other part of my brain to come up with an answer or a variety of answers to choose from.
I am interested in hearing about puzzles you enjoy and ways in which your brain works to help you solve puzzles.