Contemplative Photography is taking me into a deeper adventure. All new adventures bring with it something a bit daunting. I open the door asking God, what is ahead of me. As I gaze upon a blooming flower, or see dark clouds cover the sky, is the message being shared reflecting the beauty of God’s creation alone , or is He motioning me to — Come further up, come further in!” ― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle.
Put the words “Nurture a reflective life” and ” Be contemplative in my photography” together. But how?
SLOW DOWN IN WHAT! SLOW DOWN TO WHAT?
- My mind?
Will this “slowing down” automatically happen if my body stops doing? Probably not. The mind can frantically race with yesterday’s events and tomorrow’s needs while the body is lying in bed.
Being reflective is making an active decision to engage in the surroundings. Going deeper than the top layer.
WHAT IS GOD SAYING?
CAN I FEEL HIS TOUCH, HIS LOVE IN THE GENTLE BREEZE AS IT PASSES BY MY FACE ?
HOW CAN I REFLECT THIS TOUCH IN A PHOTO AND SHARE HIS HEART?
Tammy Morton’s photo entitled:
” THEY TEACH US TO DREAM”1
Is it possible to slow down and reflect in the rush of daily activities? In the course of routine housework, am I willing to mentally or emotionally slow down, take God’s hand and reflect on His Words to me? The beauty of nature, color all around, waves of the lake lapping against the rocks, a walk through the woods,
have a greater intensity for intimate interaction with my Creator than cleaning the kitchen. I can imaging slowing down and reflecting in a sunrise.
How can I slow down and reflect, let alone create with a photo through daily chores? Mindless, thoughtless, repetitive cleaning do not compose a creative story.
The first question might be: 1.Do I want to take the mental energy to engage to create space for God to enter into the chores? —- 2. Does God really care to enter into my time of cleaning? I know He is with me always, but really, intimate chats while doing housework?
- Slow Down
- Be Present in the Moment
- Take a Long Loving Look at the Real.
- What is God Saying Now?
Reflection Through a Veggie Drawer.
I needed to put the groceries away. The veggie drawer was covered with yellow onion skins so I decided to dump these out. Then I would give the drawer a quick swipe. Thinking about my photography assignment, I ask God, “Is there something You want to show me?
I used these tools from The Reflective Life by Ken Gire.2
- Read the moment—Using my eyes to see what’s on the surface.
- Reflecting on the moment -Engaging my mind to see what’s beneath the surface.
- Responding to the moment – Giving what I saw and received a place to live in my heart, allowing it to grow there, upward to God and outward to other people.
An interesting cleaning experience took place.
I needed to scrub extra hard in cleaning the icky sticky goo I found close to the ridges. These ridges took longer to clean than I wanted to give my attention to the whole drawer cleaning business. In fact, the cleaning was getting boring. Thoughts began to race “Did I really want to make sure the drawer was thoroughly clean? All sticky goo gone? (Remember, at first, I was only going to dump the loose skins into the garbage . )
What was God’s response to the sticky goo hiding next to the ridges no one sees inside of me, the gunk hard to get at? The outside is nice and clean, but there are areas where some stuff needs more time to (re)move.
God will never leave a job half done.
God started with the outer layer and cleaned away the onion skins. God then looks deeper and says “I will stay with you and clean the icky sticky goo hidden inside. I will gently clean til the job is completed.
Years ago I said YES to Him and I desire His beauty to reflect through me.
(6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6 NIV)
Who knew the simple non creative job of cleaning a veggie drawer could bring me into the throne room to interact with my Savior and Friend?
As a result the connection of slowing down I created two photos from my cleaning.
Be willing to enter into the moment. Slow your brain down. All you have is the reality right in front of you. The Creator of the Universe is at hand at all times to engage in the moment with you.
Slowing down is not easy in the fast paced world. Feel free to share your victories and your battles. We are on this road together.
1Thank you Tammy Morton for saying Yes and allowing me to us this picture.
2THE REFLECTIVE LIFE (Becoming More Spiritually Sensitive to the Everyday Moments of Life) by Ken Gire 1998 p.88.