“Instead of looking up and out, we often look down and in” – The Dad Lift
Shutter speed is a setting on a camera which can control the amount of light let in. The longer the shutter is held open the more light is allowed to enter and etch an image onto “film”. Of course, film has been long replaced, yet the light is still etched to form an image. Now, if you are using a slower shutter speed, you must keep the camera very still. Any amount of movement can warp said image. The combination of shutter speed and stillness can capture amazing landscapes. Even when light seems to be non-existent, the camera lense can pick up the most subtle forms of light and delivers an image worth capturing.
The value of an image
As I get older, I value the capturing of images. I value looking at a landscape or an event and logging its occurrence in my mind. Unlike a photograph, which only logs an image, the mind can capture sounds and smells. Our brains can capture a photograph with added senses. Our mind is unlike any camera on the market. Our eyes are the sharpest of lenses. Our eyes can capture dozens of images in seconds, they can scan our environment. We have the best software and hardware to seek images worth capturing. But, we often don’t.
In life, we often run around with lighting fast shutter speeds. We do not give even the brightest experiences the amount of exposure needed to capture an image or a moment. We do not often keep still, as we move through the day attempting to make the “most” of each second. It’s understandable, things need to get done. However, we are also constantly bombarded with information that draws our lense away from those moments which matter most.
In our current age of technology, everything we need to know or need to see is at our fingertips. Or, at least at the tip of our thumb as we scroll through endless feeds seeking stimulation. We look down and into a device instead of looking up and out into our world. We are nanoseconds from information. Everything is within view, yet we see so little. Our lense is often not pointed at the right direction, let alone set on an image worth capturing.
A battle for stillness
The device in our hands can draw our attentions, but often the duties of parenting can prevent us from keeping still. Stillness is a battle for the new parent, there is always much to get done. It can be a scramble day in and day out. Many of our daily tasks are important and essential to parenting success. Jobs must be worked to put food on the table and someone has to clean that table, which is now covered in crayons and peanut butter. But, when the chaos subsides for just a moment, we need to leave the dishes in the sink and seek some stillness.
Our world is designed to take our attention. Every brand, social media outlet and news station ultimately seeks to draw our attention. It’s a tough business with the thousands of outlets trying to have us “look over here”. Mix the constant movement of the “daily grind” and we have our work cut out for us. We can’t be expected to cut out all of the media around us. What we need is to find balance. Find time to be still and slow down. That is not always easy.
Log out and log in
It’s not a bad idea to log out from all social media and email accounts in order to slow things down. This is actually what inspired me to write this piece. While on vacation in the northern woods of Wisconsin, I chose to log out of all social media. I still picked up my phone from time to time out of habit, only to see a blank screen not holding any new “notifications. I sit here wondering what it is I am missing; however, missing the movements of this trip are far more catastrophic than what my buddy ate for dinner.
The light in the dark
The rates of depression and anxiety are sky rocketing all around us. Many find trouble in finding the light in the lives they lead. Things don’t seem as rich in their lives as they feel they should be. But, like the photo above that sparked the thought for this post, even in darkness there is a tiny hint of light. Light can be found if you look in the right direction. It can be hidden or distant. But, if we sit still long enough and we slow down, that light will be seen. That light will be etched into our minds and it can remind us of how damn lucky we are to be here. So, sit still, slow down, and capture that moment.