Birding and Mindfulness
Birding and mindfulness go hand in hand for me because when I am out birding with my camera and binocs I am focused. I am present and intently tuned in to the world around me. And the moment I go to take a photo, I am 100% dedicated to the task at hand quite literally focusing (well attempting to focus…I’m a very novice photographer so sometimes it works better than others.) I imagine it similar to an athlete in a critical moment of a game, where time slows briefly, I still my breath and zoom in for the win. Too corny? Maybe…but it works for me.
In my attempts to get great pictures of birds, I also learn repeatedly the lessons of attachment, expectations, success and failure. I can’t control what birds will be around when I go out, what the light will be when the perfect bird lands in my range or even if my camera battery is about to konk out. I can prepare, I can plan but I can’t force outcomes. And I can learn to take the failures in stride OR I can brood, crank, stomp and whine. This ability to allow brief moments of disappointment or elation to pass has been a key for me to rise above the tendency I have to get caught up in a thought groove, good or bad.
Why Lessons from a Birdbrain?
My books and blog provide a unique perspective combining beginning birdwatching with mindfulness and birdbrain lessons or ideas that took some time to sink in, at least for me.
I have recently started birdwatching and bird photography as a hobby and find it enjoyable and rewarding. And yet at first, I found it overwhelming. I knew so little about birds beyond the sparrows and cardinals that eat at my feeder. The material I found online and the birders I met were knowledgeable, but I wanted more information about the species that I could find in my own region. So, I started out writing books as a beginner’s guide to some of the birds you would commonly see in Ohio.
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