Seeing and Listening – Paying Attention – Picture to Ponder – v6- issue 34

by Sheila Finkelstein on September 1, 2010

Today’s issue of Picture to Ponder is a slightly different “take” on one of our recurring themes that of “paying attention.” I admit the photos certainly appear to be an odd combination. On the other hand, I hope they bring you the same smiles that I get when I snapped and then reviewed them. More below.

Today’s Featured Photos

Whistling duck face only - profilesFor more photos and the story –

face in ice cubes in tea drink on cruise

lemon curl on glass edge

Today’s Photo Stories
As I wrote above this certainly seems like an odd mix. Is the Whistling Duck above querying, “What is she doing here?” or is he simply posturing an open-ended invitation to be in the moment? In either case, or whatever meaning you want to give to him, he popped up and brought a smile to my face when I was sorting through some totally unrelated photos for a different purpose. I thus chose to bring him to you today.

Do you see the bright yellow eye (on your left) and large nose in the middle photo? The face image was undoubtedly created by a piece of lemon and ice in the beverage – tea on top of the lighter weight lemonade, according to the couple sitting at the table next to us.

The curled lemon on the lip of my daughter-in-law’s cocktail glass caught my attention both for the color and curlicue movement. Unfortunately it grabbed my eye as my daughter-in-law was in the middle of sharing stories about the exciting things happening for my granddaughter in her first week of college. Again, I went for my camera and started taking pictures of the lemon.

I was even considering moving tableware and glasses around for better “staging” of the photo when my daughter-in-law stopped in the middle of her story and lightly, by suggesting the possibility of my having ADD (attention-defecit disorder), quite emphatically pointed out that I was not giving her my full attention.

I realized she was justifiably upset with me for not being fully present with her as she spoke. I did immediately stop photographing, though I will admit I was pleased that one of the two photos I had taken did come out clearly.

NOTE – In further acknowledging the blessings of the people in my life, although she was annoyed in the moment, my daughter-in-law totally understands, accepts and loves me for who I am.

Self-Reflecting Queries
In both of the situations described above with the two different glasses, I was following my usual, “If something catches your eye, photograph it,” strengthening our powers of observation and discovery.

In the case of the glass in the middle photo, my cousin and I were conversing, off-hand and in general, with the couple at the table next to us. There was not a particular focus to interrupt at the time I noticed the face. And, I did stop and ask permission to come closer and photograph what I saw. Then that became another opportunity for conversation when I showed them the photo on my camera screen.

On the other hand, my behavior with the lemon image, unintentionally, showed almost a complete disregard, thus disrespect, for my daughter-in-law and her words. Were a similar situation to occur again, and I felt it “critical” to take a photograph before something in the scene changed, I would explain what was going on with me and request the other person pause until I was ready to give him or her my full attention. If he/she denied my request, I would respect that and “stay” with what had been transpiring.

I invite you to look in your life now, or in the past, and notice when you might not have been paying full attention to another. Are there particular times when this might occur? Can you see any kind of patterns? Seeing that, would you like to make any kind of changes?

As I reflect, I recall my other son commenting at times when we’ve been out on how I suddenly “move my attention” away from our talking when I might get distracted in a restaurant, or other place, by stray bits of other conversations I may overhear. Have you, too, experienced this?

Simply reminding myself to stay fully present to the person or persons with whom I have been interacting can make the difference for me. What about you? We can also become more cognizant, momentarily excusing ourselves, explaining what’s going on and taking responsibility for our actions.

Remember to have fun with the queries. As always your thoughts are appreciated in the COMMENTS section on the BLOG.


On a more personal note –

Before continuing, I do want to acknowledge, should you have been wondering about it, the absence of Picture to Ponder last week. I was away on a cruise. It was the weekend that my beloved Sam, were he still here, and I would have been celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary. So that I wouldn’t be wallowing in sorrow (a possibility) I made arrangements with a dear cousin to be away for a portion of the time.

Should you be interested, I did honor our marriage with a photo of our cutting-the-wedding-cake, plus quotes on family, love and marriage on our 45th Wedding Anniversary. See WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. I do know that I am truly blessed that Sam and I did have the years together (47 1/2) that we had along with our resultant wonderful family.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Jordan Scott September 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

🙂 Love this issue, Sheila.

I think the duck is just happily being a duck. Seems quite content with himself. Love the expression. So quackly.

And OH! The paying attention story with your daughter-in-law is priceless. LOVE how you told on yourself (and so lovingly, I might add!)

Glad to know your family is adjusting well to having a far-away-college student. It is still sort of surreal here, that mixture of ecstatic and numbly-sad is teaching me plentiful lessons in presence.

Always a pleasure to read.

Reply

Sheila Finkelstein September 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Thanks, Julie. I appreciate your response and the acknowledgment. I can feel your pain with Katherine gone and adjusting.

Adjustment here is going better than my family thought and my granddaughter is ONLY about 1400 miles away (less than 1/2 the distance). And they already have two trips to see her planned.

And, always a joy to receive your comments. Looking forward to your And Now, You Write writing program.

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