On a trip to Hawaii I took nearly 300 macro (super close-up) photos of plants and flowers and such. It seemed that every where I looked, my eyes beheld wonder and things I’d never seen before. I was tuned to the smallest detail and rejoiced in it, in awe of the infinite creativity of God. This nearly hyper-awareness seems to cause an unstoppable, organic response of gratitude. Little is taken for granted.
Years ago, I worked teaching students from Japan in the US for short-term home-stay programs. One of the things that I liked best about the job, is that by being with them as they experienced so many things for the first time, I saw my own world through new eyes. I vicariously participated in their wonder and surprise and new experiences. Things I saw every day and took for granted became new once again in my eyes.
What I’ve experienced is that if I will actually look for it, if I will open my perception, then I will see evidence of daily wonder all around me.
Springtime is an exceptional time to re-awaken your vision. Leaves and flowers are bursting into bloom all around us! There is nothing like the vibrant yellow of daffodils to wash away winter grey.
I walk by the flowers near my door every day, several times, whenever I go in and out, with varying degrees of perception. I took the time, recently, to really stop and look at them. I grabbed my camera, turned on the macro, and searched for the small portions of beauty to be found in their petals. Of course, it was there just waiting to be discovered.
Once, when spending a day shooting photographs, I came upon a huge area of somewhat unusual trash. It looked like someone had set up a large yard sale long ago and then walked away and abandoned it all. The elements had not been kind; everything was drooping and water damaged, aged, repulsive and abandoned. I walked through this dreary landscape of the castaway detritus of everyday life and snapped shots here and there. I was surprised to find, yes, beauty and poignancy, in the midst of what basically amounted to a pile of garbage. (Side note: I do not want to miss the people and experiences in my life that appear to have no beauty, that seem, at first glance, ugly, damaged and repulsive. If I am open to it, even these will have lessons for me, beauty of some kind, and meaning born through my perception and experience.)
Sometimes I am separated from events/people by my camera. I’m so busy snapping pictures that I don’t truly participate/experience the moment. For some reason, working with macro photography is producing the opposite effect. I am feeling more connected to the world around me. More open to seeing beauty in unusual places. And, somehow, this is trickling over into my thinking. I am more open to believing that despite all evidence to the contrary, there will be some benefit(s) to every experience, and if I look for it, I will see it, eventually.
Another aspect I’m finding curious about this place I’m in right now, about looking closely in order to see, is that I’ve typically thought about pulling back in order to gain perspective. I would visually illustrate it by holding my little finger up right in front of my nose, then explain how it looks huge if my focus is on it, but if all I do is shift my focus to everything beyond the finger, it becomes small in comparison. It is quite interesting to find that these two principles, looking closely to see beauty and pulling back to gain perspective, are not mutually exclusive, but can indeed co-exist, even simultaneously.
Recently I heard a quote that describes why both of these principles work: “Our perception gathers evidence to prove that what we believe is right.” ~Dr. Robert Holden
This is going to happen subconsciously if not intentionally. So why not choose my perception intentionally? I’m just beginning to grasp this and I love it!
How will you refresh your vision? Where do you want to look more closely? Where do you need to step back for fresh perspective?
Journey on, kind readers.
Retreat Coach Kelly Morrison | Retreat Coaches Network