When Catching The Moment Stops Us From Being In The Moment

When Catching The Moment Stops Us From Being In The Moment

Me Capturing The Moment Of Another Capturing The Moment

This obsession with catching the moment– to snap and share — is making me a little crazy. The desire to show our friends and followers how our lives look seems to be more important than seeing our experiences as they are. As we search outside ourselves to find something insta-worthy, we’re losing the moment. We’re stuck staring at the glowing screen on our i-Phones which are quickly becoming the lens of how we view the world.

DH and I were talking about how this is effecting the music biz. The millennials aren’t buying much music these days because they’re more interested in buying an experience — like at Coachella. They’d rather spend their money on a ticket so they can show everyone their latest festival fashion.

And this mindset isn’t just millennial thinking.

I fall for it too.

Fairy + Glowing Ball at Madison Square Park

Last week I wandered into a media blitz in Madison Square Park. It had fairies and glowing balloons corralling in a Cirque Du Soleil scenario. Immediately, I got phone-ready…I was going to get this moment! After positioning myself and repositioning myself, I realized it wouldn’t be easy…there were hundreds of others in my way, doing the same thing. It’s an epidemic.

There’s a scene in the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, when Ben Stiller’s character, Walter, is talking to adventure photographer Sean O’Connell. They are perched high in the Himalayas, O’Connell has been waiting to get his shot of the snow leopards. Finally, one arrives, but O’Connell doesn’t reach for his camera.

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

Last month in DC, I experienced something similar — though not with snow leopards. It was with horses.

We were at my dad’s farm. GL and I were with him in the barn. After trying to show GL how to feed treats to Cal, his horse, my dad put his face right next to Cal’s nose. He gave kisses with the treats. I don’t see my dad too often, and I definitely don’t see him looking so happy, content.

I was cursing myself that I didn’t have my phone on me — this was absolutely a moment I wanted to capture. But I couldn’t. I had to absorb the moment, then let it go.

Who knows how that photo would have come out, often they’re blurry or not quite right. But my memory of this moment still sits crystal clear in my mind. By not fiddling with my camera, the experience gave me something richer than a photo– I got 100% presence to the situation.

Adorable Thing My Kids Did + Amazing View Of Brooklyn Bridge

It’s a huge compulsion to catch the moment — I get it all the time…trying to preserve that adorable thing my kid did, or share that amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge. But when it gets to the point that I’m no longer seeing the moment for what it truly has to offer…that’s when I need to put the camera down, and join the moment I’m trying to capture.

What do you do when faced with a camera-ready moment? 

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10 Comments

  1. Great insight. Interestingly, my cousin and I ran a half marathon in Chicago this weekend. We’ve ran it before but for some reason, I didn’t take my camera this time. I didn’t want to mess with having the camera when we were going to be pushing ourselves pretty hard. It would have been a distraction and irritant. I can remember, at times, trying to see through the camera lens during some special moment and feeling like I’m missing what’s happening by trying to capture it. Yep. Sometimes we need to just “be.” Strange how it all comes back to yoga and “presence.” Thanks for the post and reminder!

  2. girlgatheringwisdom@gmail.com' girlgatheringwisdom says:

    Elysha,
    Wonderful insightful topic of the day! I suppose we are all in the learning curve of balancing the use and overuse of our devices. I absolutely love that precious moments can be captured and shared. And yet there are times I want to be able to use my very own “eye/brain device” that can “click and save” that special moment by me for me forever. Like everything it comes down to moderation, balance and being selective.

  3. chloedance@comcast.net' SirenaTales says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Elysha. I think about this a lot. I like girlgatheringwisdom’s suggestion about moderation, and, as always, a whole lotta mindfulness, like that which you evidenced in that moment with you dad. xoxo

  4. sara_foley@bigpond.com' sara says:

    Elysha, this is so interesting and something I have often thought about. It’s the exact reason why I don’t own a smart phone (not because I don’t love technology, oh I do – my iPad is my most beloved possession!) but because when I’m out and about, I want to be present. it’s also why I’m a terrible photographer, and most of the photos of my children are taken by other people – because i hate to miss out on life. It is wonderful, this new ability we have to share our lives – but like everything, woah, it can just get way too much 🙂 lovely post xo

  5. Susie, it really does come back to presence, and I think it’s a pretty big lesson to learn…and integrate. How fab that you ran a marathon last weekend– Congratulations, that must’ve felt great!

  6. GGW, it does come down to moderation. And I also think that when we capture the moment on our own, without a camera — there’s something special about carrying it around in our hearts.

  7. ST, when we can bring our attention + mindfulness practice towards our lives…the view is so much richer. Thank you for bringing yours here — it means a lot to me, my dancing friend. xxoo

  8. Sara, it does get to be too much…and I’ve been feeling it firsthand lately (which is why I posted on it.) I’ve needed to pull back completely so I can recalibrate and find the right balance…when is it appropriate to pull out my camera, and when is it time to just be there? Interesting how this post correlated with your recent post on social media– we must’ve been bitten by a similar bug 🙂 xo

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