October Mindfulness Challenge – Day 4

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OK, so I broke the rules.

Earlier today I posted some photos out on Instagram as part of my “Walkin’ around The Beav” series. Basically, whenever I take a walk around my lovely little town, aka, The Beav, I like to take photos of things that catch my eye and then post them out on my Instagram page (smalltowndad), which then automatically shares them to my Facebook feed.

And since Instagram is one of the three platforms I am supposed to be abstaining from this month, along with Twitter and Facebook, I guess I broke the rules. What can I say? I’ve always been a rebel! (Not really.)

But I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this. (I have a lot more free time on my hands now, literally). Yes, the point of this October Mindfulness Challenge is to give myself a break from the mindless time-suck that is social media and be more aware, more present in the moment. Twitter and Facebook are most certainly detrimental to my mental well-being. There’s only so many opinions you can hear about the latest episode of “Dancing with the Stars” before your mind turns to mush.

Instagram is different. I don’t scroll mindlessly through my Instagram feed like I do on Twitter. Instead, I use it pretty much exclusively to share with others the beauty I find while strolling around my hometown. So even though, technically, I’m participating in social media, what I’m really doing is sharing beauty. And in today’s crazy, angry, hate-filled world, I think sharing a little beauty is a noble and worthwhile use of one’s time.

In fact, the very act of taking photos to post on Instagram is actually a wonderful example of mindfulness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people see my photos and then tell me how they’ve lived in town their entire life and never noticed that particular house, tree, brick, manhole cover (yes, I photograph manhole covers), garden, or whatever. I think it’s because, when I’m walking around town looking for good photo opportunities, I’m so tuned in to and aware of my surroundings. I don’t just pass by that same house I’ve passed by a hundred times in my car without a second glance. I admire it. I study it. I look at it in a mindful, present way that enables me to find beauty, which I then share out on Instagram.

Sometimes I’m so mindful in my search for good photo ops that I don’t notice that telephone pole right in front of me. And let me tell you, nothing brings you back and present in the moment like walking straight into a rock hard, nicely splintered telephone pole that’s covered with rusty nails and staple left over from old yard sale signs. Ouch.

So, yeah, I guess I broke my own rules today by posting to my Instagram account. But, hey, it only took a few seconds. And, believe me, I have no plans on going out and reading anyone’s comments on my pictures.

At least not until November 1, that is.

To be continued… ~

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Copyright © 2018 Valentine J. Brkich

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