I have been revisiting photography as a mindful activity. I find that taking photos, especially macro photos, is an excellent way to slow down and appreciate the present moment. There is nothing like focusing the lens of a camera on a small detail, realllly close, to help me, well, focus! And the congruency of minimalism and mindfulness is one of the bedrock elements of my minimalist ethos.
There is a giant pine tree in our front yard that bears these interesting cones each autumn. The image, above, looks like a pine cone rose. I have walked by these cones over the years with, admittedly, only a cursory glance at them. It took the act of photographing these cones in various stages of development to get me to stop, breathe, notice and appreciate what was right before my eyes.
This next photograph shows the cone midway through its natural peeling process:
I did not realize that pine cones peel away, layer by layer, to release their pine nuts. (BTW, I tried eating these pine nuts. Big mistake. Very pine-y tasting and bitter, not at all like the delicious pignolia nuts found in groceries).
And here is a picture of the mighty pine tree itself. My macro lens could only capture the center portion of it. I am guessing it is over 60 feet tall:
I believe anything that gets us to stop and be mindful of the present moment is to be encouraged and embraced. I feel very fortunate to live in a time where technology (e.g., digital cameras) and creativity can be readily combined to facilitate moments of mindful presence. There is something about the immediacy of being able to see the finished product that only enhances the experience.
What about you? Do you have a creative, mindful activity that helps you become centered and focused? Or is there an activity you have tried in the past or would like to revisit as a means of getting grounded and centered? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share in a comment below.
images: © 2010. Christianna Pierce.