Holding still

by tamarjacobson

Quote of the day:

… like any photograph, [it] interrupts experience to mark the moment. In this, it shares something with all the other ways we break up our day …

Technology doesn’t just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are … [photography] makes us accustomed to putting ourselves and those around us “on pause” in order to document our lives. It is an extension of how we have learned to put our conversations “on pause” when we send or receive a text, an image, an email, a call. When you get accustomed to a life of stops and starts, you get less accustomed to reflecting on where you are and what you are thinking. Sherry Turkle

After reading Turkle's article in mid December, I decided to begin the New Year with a new attitude toward self and Facebook. It coincided with the skill I have been acquiring these past five years or so: holding still with feelings. To be more specific, I have been learning to feel my feelings, acknowledge and validate them before I choose to react or act on them. It was always so much easier to diffuse the discomfort of my emotions by pushing the feeling out and away from me and onto anything outside of me, or through punishing me with self-hate for having them in the first place. Holding still is always the challenge. Sitting with discomfort, getting to know the where's, why's and what's of how I am feeling, slowly uncovering the source, thus enabling me to make peace with some of my most difficult emotions – especially those that were deemed evil by significant adults in my early childhood.

Turkle made me instantly aware that I was becoming addicted to sharing all kinds of moments in my life without actually allowing myself to experience them. For example, this morning I was walking on the beach. The sun was shining on a clear, chilly day in the Middle East, with the Mediterranean Sea calm as glass, shimmering with rich, deep blue, turquoise and teal colors. Suddenly I noticed about a dozen large, black cormorants ducking and diving into the water. About three of four of them stood out on the rocks staring out toward the sea. They spread their wings out as wide as they could so that the sun warmed them from behind. I gasped and whispered out loud to myself, "Morning angels." A deep, spiritual feeling overwhelmed me bringing me comfort with my words, as I had been experiencing some challenging emotions during the evening and early morning prior to my walk. It immediately became uncomfortable for me, and I searched anxiously in my pockets for my iPhone to take a photograph of the cormorants to share on Facebook.

Then I stopped in my tracks and smiled to myself. Thank goodness, I had left my phone camera behind in the guest-room where I was staying in my sister's little wooden house. I stood still with the moment in awe of the cormorants sunning their enormous wings by the sea. I held still with all the complex emotions I had been feeling since my arrival in Israel a few days before, and allowed myself the full experience of awareness, and acceptance.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Peeking out over the top