“Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Being able to lighten up is the key to feeling at home with your body, mind, and emotions, to feeling worthy to live on this planet.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Clarity and decisiveness come from the willingness to slow down, to listen and look at what’s happening.” ― Pema Chödrön
“…The truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ― Pema Chödrön
“Precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go … are not something that we have to gain, but something that we could bring out, cultivate, rediscover in ourselves.” ― Pema Chödrön
“We sow the seeds of our future hell or happiness by the way we open or close our minds right now.” ― Pema Chödrön
I have been on a journey of mindfulness for more than a decade now as a way to metabolize the trauma of my husband’s death. One of the first books that I turned to was When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice For Difficult Times by Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön. The path to a peaceful life in my skin, in my mind, in my situation began with opening my eyes and seeing things exactly as they are…without telling a story or making a judgment about them. Photography is a beautiful art for exploring ways of seeing. While looking for a subject, framing a shot, and editing a shot, you can realize how perception and reality converge and depart. This exploration is about curiosity and courage, the same qualities that help you on your journey toward mindfulness and serenity. I’ve chosen quotes from Pema Chödrön and photographs I took a few days ago -while walking down my driveway to get the mail – to illustrate SERENE for this week’s challenge. I was compelled to take along my camera because the sun was penetrating the fog in a way that made me think how unique and particular and impermanent that moment of elemental juxtaposition was. The environment around me changes visibly quite quickly here in the temporal rainforest of Oregon. Rain, vegetation, animals – everything is living and dynamic. As am I. Breathing deeply as I walked, step by step, through this reality, I became mindful of the serenity of simply being with things as they are. This is what I want to share, with a smile. Thank you, Patti, for choosing a very worthy theme for this week! Click HERE to view her post and her invitation to participate.
“The ability to have a choice in what you do is a privilege.” ― Anton Yelchin
This week the Lens-Artists photo challenge theme is “You Choose”. What a marvelous thing, to be able to make choices, little choices and big choices. Around this season, I am mindful of the choices I have: not just “paper or plastic?” when I choose to shop, but also how and what I choose to celebrate. Expanding that mindfulness, I am grateful that my family and I have been able to exercise our choices in who to love, whether to marry and whether to stay married.
“We are our choices.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre
I am also grateful that I’ve had a choice in where to live and where to raise my children. My husband and I made a choice to leave Southern California and raise our four kids in the Midwest.
And then I was able to make the choice to leave the Midwest and follow my grown-up children to Oregon…in my chosen hybrid vehicle.
Choices always have consequences, so they can be very difficult to make. They can often be very tricky to undo. Do you really want that tattoo? (My daughters definitely did want matching SisterCats tattoos.)
Sometimes being able to make a choice to do something can feel very empowering, especially when it feels like your cause is hopeless. Choosing to fund research on a currently incurable disease or plant a tree, for example, is a step in a good direction.
Choosing to help others, or to help animals, live happy, healthy lives is a choice that can bring joy and spread love.
I have much to be grateful for in the freedom to make my own choices. I am grateful that my children have been able to make their own, different choices as well. That is certainly something to celebrate!
Thanks to Tina, our challenge host this week. Visit her blog to see her photo choices and learn how to participate with the Lens-Artists.
“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life.” – Albert Einstein
My favorite way to celebrate life is to party with my family. I am an introvert; I don’t like big crowds of strangers. I relax and enjoy myself the most when I’m with people who make me feel safe and happy. I love family celebrations: birthdays, weddings, dinner parties, and holidays at home. My mother’s birthday was New Year’s Eve. We always had a sumptuous and elegant dinner at home, plenty of music and bubbly, and fireworks and crowds only on the TV (which was usually locked in a closet). When I got old enough to have my own home, I enjoyed preparing for a family party: shopping for food, cooking, setting a pretty table, and anticipating that wonderful moment when my favorite people would walk in the door. An added benefit to family parties is that fewer people have to drive home afterwards! I really love living in a state that makes outdoor partying possible for much of the year, especially during this pandemic. Here’s a gallery of some of my favorite family celebrations:
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” – Mother Teresa
As we enter a season of celebration, I wish you all the joy of family love, through blood or affiliation, and the time and place to be with each other safely and happily. Thanks to Amy for hosting our challenge this week and posting an international selection of celebrations. Click HERE to see her fun post and instructions for participation.