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Blog: Simplify Your Life
Photography As A Metaphor For Being In The Moment

For the past couple of years while we've been traveling, I have become a picture-taking fool (please check out my portfolio to see some of my work.) I carry my camera with me absolutely everywhere, and I am always stopping to snap a shot of a flower or bug, an interesting architectural detail or a child playing in the park. And what I love so much about photography is that it allows me to be even more in the moment as I go about my daily life.

Kairos Versus Chronos

Most of us spend our days "watching the clock," what the Greeks call "chronos" or "sequential time." We pay very close attention to how quickly the hours and minutes pass because we equate time with productivity -- and how fast you move is important when you're working toward a deadline, or trying to cross 16 items off of your list by the end of the day, or are late for an appointment that you can't afford to miss. It's no wonder that we end up spending so many of our days feeling as though we've fallen behind and will never get caught up.

But have you ever found yourself engaged in an activity where you completely lost track of time? When you looked up and were shocked to find that an hour had passed when you thought it was only 15 minutes? Where you were so focused on what you were doing that you were totally and utterly absorbed in the moment? No worries, no thoughts of all the tasks that you still needed to tackle -- just whatever was going on right at that second. That's "kairos," the kind of time in which something special happens. It's about experiencing the quality of a moment rather than its passage -- and that's what photography does for me.

I find that with a camera in hand, I'm much more attentive to the world around me. I don't just buzz through life at 90 miles an hour, everything around me a blur. I notice small and unusual details that I would have otherwise missed, because I want to preserve them. Photography takes an unbelievable amount of patience. You can't just whip out your camera, snap a quick picture, and rush off to the next subject. In order to capture the light or the color or the essence of the moment, you have to be still and wait. This is particularly true when photographing nature I love to take pictures of flowers and dew on the grass, animals and birds and clouds in the sky. But you can't make any of these things behave the way you want. If you're willing to invest the time, the shot will come to you but if you're in too much of a hurry, you'll miss it. I spent an hour one afternoon staked out in Rocky Mountain National Park waiting for a chipmunk to give me just the right look. And for that hour, I became the chipmunk. I let go of all my other daily stresses. I wasn't trying to accomplish 12 other things at the same time. I was sitting on a rock in the sunshine as deep into nature as you can get. I was completely at peace, and (pardon me for getting new-agey) one with the world around me.

Of course, photography doesn't do it for everyone but finding something that you can really focus on and lose yourself in is an amazing stress-reliever. I get the same experience from working on art projects, meditation, exercise (I recommend beating the crap out of a punching bag very cathartic), a walk outdoors, even a good long talk with a friend (the kind where you actually focus on the conversation and aren't checking email or making the bed during your conversation!) And when you get really good at it, you'll find that you can get the same kind of break from daily chores that you used to hate if you approach things with the right mind-set, even hand-washing the dishes, cutting the grass, or folding the laundry can be a zen moment!

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posted on: 6/1/2010 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Simplify Your Life

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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