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Sep 16 2011

Capturing the Magic

by Genevieve Samson

Keeping a Photo Journal to Reconnect with the Happiness of Being

How do you get back in touch with your self-presence and ability to love life just as it is, the way children do naturally?

There are two ways to approach life: you can wish it were different and always be dissatisfied, or you can appreciate it the way it is and feel a sense of curiosity, an awareness that you are where you are supposed to be, in a magical world—just like when you were a child. You can do this by cultivating a very simple habit: keep a photo journal.

Capture the Magic

Most of us have memories of magical summers when, as children, everything filled us with wonder and everything was meaningful. I remember long summer days when everything captivated me and I lived completely in the moment. Every stone was fascinating, every cloud had a story to tell. No one expected anything of me. I didn’t expect anything of myself.

I remember one summer when the days started early. I would go over to a neighbor’s house to meet up with Princesse, a little dog I roamed around with in nearby fields for entire mornings. I let him explore on his own, then I would sing and rewrite tunes I had heard in my dreams the night before. The fields ran alongside a big river, so I would turn over stones to look for fossils. Sometimes, to my great delight, I would find a shell; a fossilized plant was rarer. That made my day. What a treasure! I kept on exploring. I examined branches bent and twisted by the elements and if I had time, I would sit down and watch the clouds roll by, knowing that beyond the beautiful blue and white sky was dark space, immense galaxies, and a splendid universe brimming with mysteries. How do you recapture this feeling of fulfillment and wonder in your busy, active life? With a photo journal. Unlike collages and scrapbooks, photo journals are all about being in the moment and the pleasure of capturing moments of life that fill you with the joy of living.

All you need is a digital camera or cellphone you can take with you.

The first step to keeping a photo journal is to let go of the pointless and destructive inner voice that says: “I’ll be happy when... I’d be happy if...”. When you decide to take life as it comes, it opens the door to the magic of the present. Suddenly you notice the passerby dressed in bright yellow in the thunderstorm, the excited friends patiently waiting for the arrival of a traveler at the airport, and the smiling senior enjoying the sun. You become aware of how good life is and that you need much less than you think to remind you of how extraordinary it really is.

By taking photos on a regular basis, you come back to the present, you push aside life’s trivialities to make room for the beautiful, and most of all, you stop leaving it up to others to tell your life’s story. The tales of our lives are often embedded in news reports. Why not create your own news and share it with your loved ones? For example, “Today I saw a frog in my favorite pond” or “Today the tulips in my garden opened” or “Today I saw some teenagers all decked out for the prom.”

The Internet is also a great place to exchange life’s fine moments. The sharing of PowerPoint presentations in recent years is an eloquent example. But you can also create your own personal slide show of images that boost your spirits and most of all, help you see the bright side of things.

Lightening up your thoughts is possible. If you have trouble capturing magical moments, simply look up at the clouds. A constantly moving, eternal splendor of creativity, clouds remind you that nothing lasts forever and life is filled with tremendous beauty. I have a photo collection of clouds—thunderstorm clouds I saw on a road trip with a friend and clouds I saw floating over the China Sea while I was listening to opera on a plane
taking me to my mother in Bangkok.

Behind every dissatisfaction is a great hunger. A hunger for meaning and real contact with the self. A hunger for lasting happiness. Ironically it seems that you feel fulfilled only when you appreciate what you have, and the desire to search for the magic in everything brings back the lightness that allows you to find simple happiness.

© G.Samson 2011

About the author

Geneviève Samson teaches yoga, practices massage therapy, and competes in triathlons. She began writing articles on health to inform and motivate her students.

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