“It requires no special talent or effort to look at our world and point out the things that numb us, or dumb us down, or depress us. In fact, it’s a no-brainer! But becoming keenly and consistently aware of what’s good, true, beautiful, and life-giving around us and within us demands a discipline: we must open our eyes, minds, and hearts. And we must keep them open.
The reward for that discipline is great: as we open up, we start to see beauty everywhere, not only in nature, but in human nature. There’s a lot of bad news out there, but there’s a lot of good news as well.”
– Parker Palmer
It has been an almost daily spiritual practice of mine to intentionally take photos of things that strike me as interesting, beautiful, funny, unusual or noteworthy. I have been doing this ever since the iPhone was released and that camera became so accessible. For someone like me, who tends to rush, this practice slows me down quite a bit and makes me more observant. I no longer run past the egret standing quietly in the marsh next to San Francisco Bay. I stop for bright orange California poppies growing near the edge of the road. Even when I cannot take photos while I’m driving, I notice the foggy, iconic skyline from the Bay Bridge as I return from Berkeley to the City. I observe the plantings and gargoyles in front of apartment buildings. The architecture of the City delights me. It feels good to send love and blessings to the people I see as well.
In my faith tradition, a Christ-follower named Paul wrote, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) Instead of worrying that ISIS is going to blow up my apartment building or take over the world today, I will follow my calling in life and focus on what is beautiful, true and life-giving. All I have is today.