Pray and Go Shooting!
What do you do when life has you down? Pray and go shooting! When your job is stretching your stamina to the breaking point? Pray and go shooting! When you need to relax and shake off the nerves? Pray and go shooting! When the next little thing will tip your headache to a migraine? Pray and go shooting!
Pray and go shooting. No, I’m not speaking about rifles and automatic weapons (although the release of such firepower would probably also relieve some pent-up stress). I’m speaking about going outside with a camera for some meditation and to photograph this wonderful world and its creatures.
There is no need for a scientific study to tell me that getting outdoors is a way to reduce stress. There is no need to write a paper about how getting away from a ringing phone will calm my nerves; how unplugging from email and social media will lower my blood pressure; how fresh air will clear my lungs and refresh my mind. I don’t need a scientific study because I know first-hand!
There isn’t a need for the Mayo Clinic to tell me the supernatural benefits of prayer and meditation. There is no need for them to post a blog telling me that having a purpose in life reduces depression; that prayer and meditation produces actual physical benefits to my brain; that focusing outside myself can alleviate worry and fear. I don’t need that blog because I know first-hand!
The exercise of focus required with photography also has a calming, meditative benefit. When we close one eye; when we focus all of our vision, all of our thought, through that lens; when we lock upon our subject and track its movement; when we slow our breathing and smoothly depress that shutter release… we are so concentrated on the moment that all else fades away. When we focus on something outside of ourselves, we are not focused on ourselves, and there lies the cure!
Try it sometime. Stop reading this blog, close your browser, push back the chair, walk out the door and get shooting. You just might get addicted. I know because I go there every day.
Photo credits: William Wise.
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