My passionate hobby, Bird photography, presents a never ending classroom. This Bar-Headed Goose wears bars as glorious badges. And the diligence required to nail the desired shot nourishes self-confidence.
Tip: all bird pics, except the featured image = courtesy of Pixabay.com. You can do a lot with freebie copyright-friendly pics, folks!
The self-discipline etched in my core, preventing snap reactive responses to negative comments, sources in the patience developed throughout bird snapping endeavors. My honed ability to look, beyond the obvious, sources in the simple observation that not all beaks and bills are ice-skating-surface smooth. And, because birds move with incredible speed, I’ve learned to “sit still in the boat,” as my elders cautioned; I sit and wait, studying a feathered friend’s intricate movements, as preparation for the shot I envision. The “wolf in sheep’s clothing” admonition came alive—with a vengeance—when docile-appearing geese at a local park decided to attack me, sans warning. This cemented recognition of the need to expect the unexpected, with a companion willingness to alter my approach as necessary to achieve my goal.
Developing a Productive Thinking Process
In short, I’ve absorbed the wisdom of thinking before taking action, whether stilling my tongue or brushing off inadvertent signs of bias. Glorious freedom results from a commitment to elicit my best, by refusing to knee-jerk respond to whatever grating stimulus crosses my mental threshold.
Some hobbies, like forever chasing birds to memorialize them on film, offer a dual payoff. Not only do I manage to capture a bird’s personality, the process coerces mindfulness. Studying the nuances of a bird’s movements—honing in on the triggers likely to prompt a hop to the left, right, front, or back—puts me in a better position to accomplish the immediate goal: take a picture I can share, thereby paying homage to the wonders of Nature. These realities translate well for dealing with humans.
From Snapping Birds to Dealing with Humans
One who trashtalks others operates from a hole in the heart, overflowing with venom rather than love. Folks enjoying satisfying relationships know they are loved, know they are valued, know they are respected. That’s the stuff fueling genuine self-respect and self-esteem, oh so subtlety but oh so effectively. Self-respect refuses self-certification as a sneak and coward, the hallmarks of speaking ill of the absent.
Folks who wrap their heads around goals to usher into reality spend no time on the petty. With eyes on the prize, and awareness of Murphy’s Law, they save their energy to fight (inner critic) Poindexter as they bid farewell to the (deadly) comfort zone. The mental strength muscle grows, as does emotional intelligence.
Refusing to be deterred by a bird’s refusal to cooperate, I learned the refusal of some alleged humans to respect my being presents only a challenge as opposed to a personal affront. The challenge lies not in changing the other person; as Michelle Obama taught with class: when they go low, we go high. What a bird thinks of the woman grasping a camera is none of my business, beyond figuring out how to maneuver around the net effect of those thoughts. As regards the opinions of others, they too are none of my business. Therefore, they don’t touch me internally. They don’t take root within because I realize only I dictate when I’m insulted. When I refuse to nurse and rehearse the hurt, it remains in the air, ultimately dissipating.
Photography as Reminder of Myriad Blessings
Most of all, the photography process continually reminds me of my blessings. My twice-widowed mother went into overdrive, doing all she could to ameliorate the predictable effects of living without the protective arms of a loving father. She chose to live by example, apparently aware her wise guy daughter stood prepared to toss a “but you did it” to excuse my questionable behavior.
Robbed of that “out,” I was forced into an either-or dichotomy: listen and act accordingly, or move under a different roof. That would come when I escaped to college. Meanwhile, my patience muscle expanded, as did my determination to win the larger goal (get.out.) Rather than embrace the mini-battles along the way, I focused on the outcome to materialize later. After all, most of the mini-battles fed only my ego, a multi-tentacled creature susceptible to logic and common sense—thankfully.
The Net Effect
The serial actions forming a photography session spark and nourish multiple realizations. Once camera is in hand, my mindset auto-switches into a can-do motif: Ain’t no bird gonna defeat me. Neither will one or more humans. I may need to conjure a detour—a/k/a Plan B, but I will enter the locked door. Sometimes, the failure of Plan B morphs into Plans C, D, etc. But I’ll work my way through that alphabet when required.
Fight. Flight, to recharge and regroup. Replan. But always, the singular simple but magnificent reaction to obstacles retains its vitality: imma git it. You may slow me. You may grate on my last nerve follicle. But between momma’s old-school training and the constant reminders birds generate regarding who’s in charge of me—me—GirlFriend’s gonna git it.
Hobbies. They be good. Dang good. Cuz learning what truly counts can arise in the most mundane of circumstances.