• Jesse Williams, LPC-MHSP

Proof that Today is Magical Part 3

Snapping pictures with your smartphone is a pretty easy (and common) thing that we see often within our society. Maybe you've seen people snapping a picture while eating their dinners at a restaurant or someone taking a selfie with a group of friends. Or maybe you've seen a person stopping to take a picture of a rainbow or to find the best angle on a fountain at the local park. I have a dear friend who is masterful with the art of snapping a picture at all of the best times. She has a artful way of finding the magic in the most ordinary settings. A glass on the counter suddenly becomes art as light bounces off of the glass in the photo. A house decoration that I barely notice due to routine suddenly becomes the centerpiece for a masterpiece. A mundane task suddenly becomes the stage of a documentation of life happening in the moment. It's almost like a challenge: finding the art in any given situation. And art is certainly a form of magic, yes? The past two blog posts I've talked about the magic in the moment. How every day holds magic if we only stop to notice. And I've come to realize that pulling out the phone camera (or real camera) is an excellent way to try to capture this magic of the world. It's your own personalized way of documenting where you've experienced magic. What a strange suggestion, right? "Want to see the magic in the world? Pull out your phone!" I think most of us think of our phones as the opposite of magic in the world. And certainly this can be true if you are missing out on life due to hiding behind a phone screen. But that's not what I'm referring to: I'm referring to active attempts at engaging life by artfully and thoughtfully engaging in the now by turning the moment into a work of art. So why is grabbing your phone to take a picture helpful? Because photography is art. And art requires us to be in the experience of the moment.

For this week, I'm giving you a challenge: to find the magic around you by seeing the world you live in as art that can be captured in photography.

I've been practicing this challenge myself for the past few weeks, and I've been shocked at how much in pulls me into the moment. Suddenly, I'm spending five minutes studying a tree, finding the best angle with the coolest light. I'm in the moment. Focused on the moment. I'm not talking about true, professional-grade photography. I'm referring to simplistic, DIY attempts at capturing the magic in the world. You don't have to aim for perfection. Just aim to find the art.

And it doesn't even have to be something that you study. It could be more down the line of "I'm walking past that shop window and I love the way that green light looks and so I'm snapping a picture before I continue on my way." It doesn't have to be something studied. It can be something that's just happening, in the spur of the moment. Something caught up in the journey of life, a glimpse of magic that you catch.

And if you don't have a camera or want to ditch the phone, you can still do this challenge: practice noticing the magic. Maybe it looks like taking some time to ponder the best angle of an evergreen branch. Maybe it's a quick turn-around and appreciate the city lights behind you as you are traveling down the interstate. Maybe it's a study of the way a shadow lands on a sidewalk, imagining it as a picture. Maybe it's the angle of a tree branch as it brushes past a swinging vine. Or an observation of the way the lamp sits on a disheveled bookshelf, with the bookshelf showing signs of life. Appreciating that life. Embracing that life for the way it is. And noticing, whether for a quick split second or sitting with that for five minutes while you ponder. It's about the art.

It's about the magic.

It's about the life. And it's about finding the magic and the art and the life within it all.


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