Hello and welcome to this glorious Thursday, March 18, 2021. Today is a rare and precious day that will never come again.
As many of you know, I recently acquired a digital camera (thank you, DC!). For years, I wanted to photograph this incredibly diverse and interconnected world. Now that I have the ability, for whatever reason, I feel inspired to focus primarily on birds. I want to clarify here that I still love cats, cats are where it’s at. But the birds are calling, and I must go. (A little fun with a Muirism there 😊)
Learning how to use a sophisticated piece of equipment like a digital camera is an ongoing process. At this moment I would have to say that I’m a wet behind the ears, green, beginning novice. This slow process is exactly the way it should be and I’m not arguing with this reality. I’m actually enjoying the learning process. What I do find myself occasionally arguing with are the flighty birds. Whenever I have my camera in hand, the birds are like, “No Way! We are not sticking around for this guy.” Despite their skittishness, I sometimes get lucky. What I’m discovering is that it’s far more beneficial to let them fly to where you are as opposed to trying to chase them down. This philosophy seems to apply to many other aspects of life. In bird photography, I’m finding that it’s best to wait where you are and be patient.
Knowing that I need to be patient and having the ability to do so are two different things. I’m getting better at being patient in most situations. Nevertheless, when I’m out doing something as fulfilling and exciting as photographing these remarkable winged people, I experience feelings and thoughts demanding that something happen, meow! As I wait patiently, I notice corporeal tension and associated intrusive thoughts begging for some bird action. I was recently reminded that if I’m sitting somewhere, tapping my foot, feeling anxious, hoping that something will hurry up and happen, this is not being patient. This is impatience. Being patient means that you are happy, content, and peaceful - you are not waiting, for anything.
My mindfulness practice is helping me develop this nourishing virtue of patience. As it turns out, I don’t have to wait for anything. It’s ironic: we can be so stressed, filled with tension and anxiety and beg the universe for a respite – a short break to catch our breath. Yet, when we get stuck in a traffic jam (remember, you are traffic) or in a slow-moving grocery lin