Practice 18

A Walk in Town

Start paying attention
Stop listening to the noise
When people walk down the street, it seems everyone who isn’t staring into their screen or texting, is shouting on their phone. I am forced to listen to strangers’ intimate conversations, their ideas, plans, and screaming arguments. I get extremely distracted. It’s hard not to be overstimulated or irritated by the intrusions of other people’s phone conversations, not to mention traffic and speeding skate-boarders. Worse, there is all that noise going on in my own head, concerns about my family, my work, etc. So, when I catch myself in that crazy head space, to get out of it, it’s great to do this practice. It works for me, anywhere in the world, any time, day or night. I simply take 10 minutes and make photographs of whatever attracts me. I took these on my way to a meeting.
I took 3 deep breaths to move into my practice mode. No one noticed. Who’s looking up from their screens to notice anyone else? I photographed patterns and shapes, cool bike seats, a centuries old green door. There is always a lot to photograph if you look. When something came into my head or I was distracted by the street drama, I forced myself back to my focused shooting. I got so absorbed, I didn’t want to stop when the 10 minutes I allotted for myself were up. Best of all, afterwards I could feel my newly cleared head. I felt calmer and happier. That calm stayed with me, not all day, but for a few hours. OK, you do it. Take a short escape with your camera today. Take ten minutes to focus on what attracts you and enjoy that observant creative part of you that likely needs your attention.