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In the momentOne way I can always tell if I’ve been “in-the-moment” is when I finally check the time I realize hours have passed when it seemed only minutes.

Relating this to my post of yesterday on the topic of play, I would often spend the entire day outside playing. Yes, this was long before video games and when my family finally got a television watching it was a family activity of perhaps an hour or so in the evenings.

I can remember these long days outside going by extremely fast. Perhaps time passed so quickly because I was having fun but I believe I was having fun because I was so “in-the-moment.”   Often fun begins when you totally loose yourself in something–now sometimes this fun may be called exhilaration or even a type of smug satisfaction.

There’s also been times when I was in-the-moment that were anything but fun. I was certainly in-the-moment sitting beside my mother’s hospice bed, holding her hand, waiting for her to draw her last raspy breath–certainly not fun, but very worthwhile in the sense of realness and connection it provided me.

Perhaps that’s the greatest gift of being in-the-moment is that sense of connection to ourselves, our surroundings and what we’re doing. There’s something very true about being in-the-moment.

I fairly often achieve this state of mind with photography. If I wasn’t able to do so, I don’t believe I’d continue pursuing making photos. How about you?
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9 Comments on In-the-moment

  1. An interesting post. I experience “in the moment” when special conditions develop when I’m trying to take pictures. Most shooting is perfunctory and going through the steps, but occasionally nature steps in and the moment takes on magical qualities – and exceptional pictures are made. Now, how to get more of that and less of the ordinary! :-)

  2. @don: Your right…the key is getting more of “the moment,” but I don’t have a magic formula for it. :-)

  3. Absolutely! Photography is a spiritual exercise or experience or both. We do get caught in the moment and find time passing quickly. Now, if I could just get my breathing, enlightenment would come.

  4. You definitely hit the spot with stressing the importance of “being in the moment”. Photography does that for me, at least when I am good, and in those moments I do not only forget all my theoretical knowledge – good to have it work from the subconscious, if it does, that is – sometimes I really do forget breathing. There are not many activities that allow (an adult) to immerse completely in reality, here and now, and I do definitely pursuit my photography because of that.

  5. Ah, this was really a though provoking post that left me thinking while I’m suppose to be working… Being in the moment is surely a gift that many has forgotten about. Children mostly lives in this state. What brings you outside it? Is it the urge of becoming someone you aren’t, a step that requires you to be more reflective, analytical and strategic to get there? Sort of giving up the ‘going with the flow’ and living someone else’s dream. I believe that all that listens to their inner voice, they are more likely to be able to be in the moment, being childish, if you want so. Just a few thoughts.

  6. @Monte: Is there ever a end…perhaps being in the moment is only the beginning…standing in the doorway? :-)

    @Markus: Perhaps it’s a case of the which came first, the chicken or the egg. When your photography is going well do you enter the moment or when you enter the moment does your photography go well. I’d have to say being in the moment is the driving force and that photography is one discipline that can help us obtain that state of mind.

    @Ove: It’s a shame that we most often equate growing up as leaving the child and child like things behind. There’s child like things which warrant being carried forward.

  7. Earl, you know that I’m in 100% agreement with you on this one! To be sure! As with what Don said, I’m usually in the perfunctory mode, but when I do get into that ‘moment’, time just flies right on by and soon hours have passed.

    I remember those times as a child when we’d be playing outside and then ‘suddenly’, it would be dark! We’d be so lost in play that time didn’t exist. I love those moments. Fortunately, when they do come, I can really appreciate them.

  8. @Paul: As a child, I’m not sure I ever stopped playing unless parents called for us or I was so hungry I had to go home and find something to eat. I agree, those moments are something to be appreciated. :-)

  9. That is exactly what photography does for me. Sometimes, just carrying the camera and looking through the viewfinder does it for me, even when I decide that their isn’t a photograph there. I hardly know how to go for a walk anymore without a camera on my shoulder.

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