On choosing ease.

In my photography courses I encourage my students to “Put it on P.” As in, put your fancy DSLR in Program mode and have a good time. This might horrify some other photography teachers out there, but I wholeheartedly believe that if we want to take better photos, it’s more about seeing than knowing all the fancy buttons. To me, it’s about being in the moment and waking up to light and beauty and color and form… and not getting so caught up in the technical aspects that you miss what’s right in front of you.

Years ago, I had a coaching client who really wanted to take photographs. It had been a creative dream of hers for a long time and she was really passionate about it. Every time we checked in however she had an excuse. “I had to read the manual… I’m taking a photography class… I’m learning photoshop…” It seemed there was always a new way to prepare. She was always waiting for the perfect circumstances to begin.

I told her to bring her camera to work, put it on P and shoot 10 photos every day on her lunch break.”I can just do that?” she asked. “I feel like I’m cheating.” But really, this was simply another way that her inner critic had very cleverly kept her from achieving her dream. Can you relate?

Here’s the question I really want you to consider: Where in your life can you just put it on P? Where can you choose ease? Where can you stop trying to do it perfectly in favor of just doing it?

I have been learning this lesson over and over for years. Just recently, I experienced a new round of this lesson. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 20 years. Before I had kids, I went three times a week, religiously. (Oh to have that washboard tummy back again!) Things however, fell by the wayside when I became a mother. Over the years, I would go when I could, but it ended up being few and far between. Start a home practice! You might think. I could never get much more than downward dog in before I would get bored, get distracted by my dishes or the ding of my phone, and boom! off the mat and into the kitchen to make a sandwich.

When I moved into my new place last year, I stopped going to yoga classes all together. I also started having pain in my body for the first time – lower back aching as I get out of bed. Gotta get back to my yoga, I’d think.

Same went for whatever fledgling meditation practice I had started. I’d sit in the quiet for maybe a minute before I’d get antsy. And without the accountability of a teacher and other practitioners, I would give up easily. I’m such a bad meditator! I’d think. And then I’d quit.

But then I discovered the app Insight Timer recently and they have thousands of guided meditations you can listen to. You can have Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield right in your ear! And suddenly, it worked! I could sit through the whole meditation. I must be cheating, I thought! That was so relaxing and lovely. Then I discovered that several of my friends use the app and the guided meditations too. I thought the right way to meditate was to sit in total silence. I thought you had to sit, immobile and watch your thoughts like clouds. I thought it was supposed to be a little bit painful.

And so I started meditating! And I discovered Sarah Blondin’s meditations which totally changed my life. All because I allowed myself to not do it perfectly and just DO IT the way it actually worked for me.

Maybe I can do this for yoga too, I thought. I got a subscription to one of those online yoga channels and boom! I’m doing yoga 100% more than I was before. Is it cheating to do yoga with a video? I think not! but somehow I had to give myself permission to do what worked for me, even if it wasn’t the gold standard I held up in my mind.

Again, this is an invitation to ask yourself:
Where in my life can I put it on P?
Where can I choose ease?
Where I can choose actually doing it over doing it perfectly?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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12 Comments

  1. Terri

    Just what I needed as I get ready for a new school year!

    Reply
  2. ShannonRose Watson

    Gorgeous wisdom dear Andrea. Thank you, my friend, love ShannonRose

    Reply
  3. gigi

    Ha! I completely agree with “Putting it on P”! I bought my camera so that I would have Manual options for taking photos,…but my camera is so awesome NOT using Manual! I believe in having good equipment, but I also believe that the “eyes” have it!

    Reply
  4. Sue

    Thank you Andrea, perfect timing! Needed to hear this… I’m on ‘P’!! X

    Reply
  5. Leanne

    So true – particularly things I feel I truly want the most. I find it takes more confidence to challenge myself and the world by just doing it and seeing what happens as I get older. Great advice – no better way to set in motion what is just busting to show itself in us than to say ok lets see what happens and not have to decide where and how it should go!

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    Dear Andrea;

    I wrote this poem about how I consider photography a form of meditation:

    Meditation

    For some, blankness is soothing.
    I cannot relax into its emptiness.
    My mind is agitated by whiteness,
    rushes to fill it with pebbles of thought.

    The intensity of concentration
    energizes and drains all at once.
    Only when seeking fodder for my mind
    can I sag into tranquility; paradoxically,

    when focused I am at my most serene.
    The trickster light is fickle,
    the shifting shadow and shade
    flickering and ephemeral, a darting pixie.

    I am left breathless, craving color.
    The frantic eye of the camera
    winks as it chases the elusive light,
    straining to capture the image.

    I am a treasure hunter,
    eager as a wildcat stalking silent prey.
    Captivated by texture and those precise accidents
    known as serendipity, my subconscious

    links details into patterns, finding synchronicity.
    The human eye is clouded, overstimulated by detail.
    The black box of the camera parses the scene,
    sweeping away the nimbus obscuring the view,

    deepening the revelations caught by the mirror
    of its eye. I thrive on these discoveries, the explosion
    as a thought breaks the surface of the complex
    rivers of neurons and joyfully catches the light.

    Reply
  7. Elisa Mikiten

    Yes! Love the Insight Timer and you. I could hit P by allowing myself to buy a jar of spaghetti sauce, or taking the laundry to the service.

    Reply
  8. jb

    Oh, it’s like you followed me around today (and all the yesterdays before) and wrote just what I needed to be reminded of (again), in just the perfect way for me to understand it (photography is my favorite thing to do). I’m saving this to re-read often. And “How can I put it on P?” is taped over my desk until it becomes my new mantra. Thank you so much! ❤

    Reply
  9. isavoyage

    Dear Andrea,
    How I love reading you! Even though (in fact mostly beacause) your words so often bring tears to my eyes. Thanks, again.

    Reply
  10. isavoyage

    Dear Andrea,
    How I love reading you! Even though (in fact mostly because) your words so often bring tears to my eyes. Thanks, again.

    Reply
  11. Heather

    what is the online yoga service you tried? Guidance toward a good option is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  12. oprol evorter

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very helpful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Reply

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