I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in mid-coast Maine. A highlight of my trip was a visit to Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park. I’d been anticipating this moment for weeks, setting my sights on this special place to practice taking photos with my new digital SLR camera.
After checking out the scenery, I settled on a spot and unpacked my camera gear. Raising my camera to my eye, I scanned the horizon to capture the perfect shot. Snap, snap! I checked the viewfinder. Not bad, but you can do better! my judgmental-self commanded, as it often does when I’m attempting to master a new skill.
I wanted to let go of this nagging voice. I needed to do what I teach my clients to do. Pause. Breathe. Focus on the moment. Inhale one. Exhale one. Inhale two. Exhale two. By the time I counted to 10, practicing deep belly breaths, my body felt calmer and my mind was clearer, just like the water in this beautiful pond.
Move closer to the water’s edge, a quiet voice within said. No longer searching for the perfect shot, that’s when he magically appeared. Snap, snap!
This is the beauty of mindfulness practice. When we learn to still ourselves despite our many stressors, we open ourselves to see what’s ready to come into view. Clearer and calmer, we observe our world AND ourselves without judgment, and with intentional practice, we learn to let go of anxiety producing thoughts that muddy our mind.
Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it, wrote spiritualist, Ernest Holmes. So take a look. Pay attention. Pause. Breathe. And if you need a little extra help, try vacationing in Maine (and be sure to pack your camera). But it’d be easier and much more cost-effective to simply download a mindfulness app.