Yesterday, I spent the morning at a Musician’s Retreat at my church. The group consisted of choir members, accompanist, instrumentalists and music ministers from the parish. There were two speakers who had topics that I first thought were unrelated but, which I later discovered had a big connection.
The first speaker, Karen Thomas (shown above), Music Minister at Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center, talked about finding space to listen to God as it relates to music. The second talk, given by Ron Dennis, was about a method (the Alexander Technique) on using correct posture to improve the way your body works. Although both of these topics can easily be related to music and singing, I didn’t see the deeper connection until later.
During Karen’s presentation, we had a short period where she asked us to take a time of silence and practice clearing our minds and being open. During this time, someone arrived late and made a little noise on entering the room. I found myself growling in my mind and wanting to scold the person for interrupting our quiet time and then I discovered a message in that reaction. I remembered lessons I had heard before about the importance of being present for people even when our first reaction is to see them as an interruption. Hey, I doing something here – don’t bother me! That is often the reaction but, what if we instead put aside our tasks and were attentive to others? The world would be a better place if more people were able to do that.
I found that the second presentation on posture was also about being aware, being mindful of how we carry ourselves. We get into many habits that seem natural but really are not and it takes effort to break out of these. I find that my photography is another exercise in mindfulness. I must make an effort to observe what is around me and think about how I can compose a pleasing image of what I am seeing. At the same time, I can get absorbed in looking for the shot and forget that others are there as well. It’s a balancing act that takes work but, I think the outcome is always better when we make the effort to be mindful of our surrounding and the people who we are with and give each their due attention.
St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
270mm @ f/6.3 – 1/25 sec – ISO 800