“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.” ~George Lucas
There's nothing quite like working with a camera to help one focus on what one is actually focusing on.
After recently leaving my long-time work as a personal chef in order to pursue my passion for the work that I do here on The Cozy Apron full time—my recipe development and my writing—I've begun the somewhat-grueling process of adding more skills to my “job description” in order to expand this little business that my husband Michael and I have here in our site. And one of those skills I've begun to hone is that of a photographer.
Just to pull back the curtain and expose our behind-the-scenes lives here at The Cozy Apron for a moment, Michael has always been our photographer, and the one that I've always handed off my very rudimentarily written (in Word Document-style format) recipe posts and “From the Heart” posts to.
He would then take those elements that I provided him with, do all of the work on the back end to format them properly for the web and for our site specifically, and insert his photos as part of the finished/polished post.
And I have always admired him for his know-how and his skills with photography and web-oriented stuff, and was eternally grateful that I didn't have to fuss with it myself—it seemed like a monstrous undertaking.
“Leave the writing and the recipe developing to me, and you do the photography and all the web-y stuff” was always my motto.
But because of the urge to begin working full time on this site by adding more content in the way of more recipe posts (and eventually other content), I understood that I would have to learn some new skills.
Isn't it true that what we choose to focus on—what we zoom in on and direct our attention to—is what we 'ingest' and take in?
I knew it wouldn't be possible for me to add any more to Michael's already-overflowing plate by having him take the additional photos needed, or having him post the additional recipes posts that I longed to add—it was just not an option.
And so my training process to become a skilled photog and to become more “web-savvy” began.
It was a couple of weeks ago that I picked up our camera for the first time and began my own journey getting intimately acquainted with all of its intimidating hieroglyphics (its buttons and wheels, its bells and whistles).
And slowly it began to make more sense and to become more familiar to me—an extension of my own eye—and let me share with you that it's been such an enlightening and interesting endeavor, one that is turning out to reflect life in more ways than I expected it to.
Here's a little of what I've observed during my experience working with the camera, so far...
It is up to me, the one handling this magnificent instrument, to adjust my lens to place the focus on that part of the subject (food, in my case) where I would like attention to be directed.
And when I focus, I sharpen and make clear that specific aspect of the food that I am photographing, in-turn directing attention to that area.
All of this has caused me to be profoundly conscious of what I am looking at through my viewfinder, what I am looking to highlight and ultimately capture, because that is where the energy will end up being directed.
So it got me thinking: the camera is exquisitely representative of how we behave in life.
Isn't it true that what we choose to focus on—what we zoom in on and direct our attention to—is what we “ingest” and take in? Isn't it what we draw to ourselves and immerse our attention in?
And isn't that what is then reflected back out?
We have the choice to focus in on either the negative things in life, or the positive, it's up to us.
But it's important to remember that what follows will directly reflect and be a representation of what our focus was on.
If the positive, nourishing aspects of life are what we seek and zoom in on, then that is what we will see, and that is what our experience will be more abundantly filled with.
But if it is the negative aspects of life that we zero in on, then that is what our sensor will pick up as the information which will then be written and imprinted upon our spirit.
What we will see reflected back will be life as a negative experience, one in which light is difficult to capture.
So here is my personal take away: when we make the conscious effort to focus on what is good, what is positive, what is right with the world, then that is what will become imprinted upon us and reflected back in our experience.
But the same is also true if we zoom in on and make sharp all that is wrong and negative around us, as that will then be what we draw in, quite magnetically, and then reflect back out in these “living photographs” that are our lives.
This experience of picking up the camera and making the effort to consciously focus on what I'm focusing on has been incredible.
The endeavor of honing this new skill, that at one point seemed utterly daunting, has helped me to realize that in this case, life most certainly imitates art, and that I'm being taught so very much about other things besides just photography (and web-y stuff!) behind the scenes. And that is quite a gift, and definitely something worth focusing on.
Taste what's good and pass it on.