Meaningful Photos is one of many science-based practices for a meaningful life curated by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.
For this mindfulness exercise, the how-to states:
“[Take] 15 minutes per day for one week to take the photos.”
Instead I did the following:
From my phone’s camera roll, I selected nine favorite photos that were taken over the past year or so. I figure I hadn’t deleted them for a reason – the photos are meaningful to me!
So here are my nine photos and my nine answers to the question:
“What does this photo represent, and why is it meaningful?”
Left: This is a picture of the sky over Paris, taken from the Meudon Observatory and Park. It is meaningful because it reminds me that my attitude can make or break my day. People will sometimes say, “It was a perfect day, not a cloud in the sky” as if clouds were bad/ugly things that mar an otherwise good day. I was feeling pretty good and positive being in Paris, so no amount of cloud cover could get me down!
Center: This is a picture of my Navigo Découverte transit pass. It is meaningful because it represents freedom. I could tap on and off on various modes of public transportation in Paris. It made me feel like a local and less of a tourist. Plus the lady who sold it to me said the pass was good for 10 years. She told me, “That’s good because you will be back within 10 years!” Did she know something I didn’t? I certainly hope to return to Paris!
Right: This is a picture of a sunset over Toulouse. It is meaningful because it reminds me that beauty and art are everywhere if you only pay attention. When I snapped this picture, my friend, Rachael, jokingly asked me, “Aren’t there sunsets in California?” Well, of course, but I hadn’t seen a pink sunset from the Pink City of Toulouse, which, for me, doesn’t happen every day!
Left: This is a picture of homemade beef empanadas I made. It is meaningful because it reminds me that the younger me who dreamed of being a pastry chef is alive and well in me!
Center: This is a picture of me with lavender. It is meaningful because it reminds me to be original. They say, “stop and smell the roses.” Why not say “linger with the lavender?” (Read the health benefits of lavender here.)
Right: This is a picture of a margarita. It is meaningful because it represents life and fun with family and friends because they give me one for my birthday each year.
Left: This is a picture of the Louvre WiFi login screen. It is meaningful because it serves as a reminder of how dependent I’ve become on my phone and other electronic gadgets. I was in the world famous museum for goodness’ sake! Yet, there I was — sitting criss-cross applesauce on the floor — charging my phone because it didn’t have enough juice for me to take and share pictures of my visit to the Louvre! Had I brought a battery-operated digital camera, I would have had more time to enjoy the museum. In our so-called wireless world, why do we constantly find ourselves tethered to power outlets?
Center: This is a picture of home from a plane. It is meaningful because it reminds me not to take anything for granted (OMG, oh my gratitude, I am able to travel and on a plane!?!) Also, no matter how wonderful your travels have been, there’s nothing better than your own place with your own bed and stuff at home!
Right: This is a picture of “This too shall pass” on a crosswalk button. It is meaningful because it reminds me to live in the moment. Don’t worry about the bad moments because they won’t always be bad! Also enjoy the good moments because they won’t last forever either!
Now it’s your turn. I encourage you to do this Meaningful Photos exercise! If you do, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and reflections!
Whether or not you snap a photo today, I wish you a good, happy, and meaningful day!