Mindfulness With a Twist

by Ann de Bruyn

Guy Tal

Professional photographic artist, author and speaker working primarily in the Western US.

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Guy Tal Mindfulness With A Twist 2

Be still with yourself Until the object of your attention Affirms your presence ~Minor White

Sitting near my camp on the edge of a high mesa, I looked down at the view hundreds of feet below me. Moments earlier, a haboob (sandstorm) formed at the far end of a broad valley, then swept over the valley floor blotting out all details.

Sitting near my camp on the edge of a high mesa, I looked down at the view hundreds of feet below me. Moments earlier, a haboob (sandstorm) formed at the far end of a broad valley, then swept over the valley floor blotting out all details.

It felt like sitting on the shore of an island in the sky, looking out over a sea of floating red sand separating me from other islands I could see in the distance. An unpleasant electronic chirp emanating from my phone jarred me out of a moment of flow, but my annoyance was short-lived. A message from a friend appeared on the screen. He was sitting atop the summit of a remote peak in the Mojave Desert, hundreds of miles away from me, enjoying a hard-won and seldom seen view of the desert. I jokingly responded, “should we be fearing what we may be missing out on?”. I was referring to the unfortunate phenomenon known as FOMO, which has become widely prevalent in the age of so-called-social media.

Such exchanges, few and far between, and only with like-minded friends, are the extent I’m willing to allow mobile technologies into my outdoor experiences. On the occasion that I even have a signal good enough to access the internet, I may check my email messages a couple of times a day to make sure no emergencies require my attention. Otherwise, the gadget stays in my pocket or in my pack and I reserve—diligently and deliberately—my attention for events, sensations, thoughts, and emotions making up my immediate experience. All else can wait until I re-enter the manufactured worlds of humanity.

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