Art Opening and Reception August 3

Save the date! If you’re in the Nashville area, I hope to see you there.

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The Vast Sky

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If someone asks
about the mind of this monk:
say it is no more than
a passage of wind
in the vast sky.

— Ryokan

Mindful Photos from Saturday’s Retreat

Last Saturday I led a Contemplative Photography and Meditation Retreat at a farm outside of Nashville. It proved to be a particularly rich environment for shooting. The day was sunny, slightly cool and windy in the afternoon. Great cloud formations too. Here are a few of mine:

Patsy's Farm

Patsy’s Farm

patsysfarmadj windyskyTo see the full album from our group, go here.

Mindful Photography Workshop

Cultivating Clarity, Receptivity and Joy With a Camera

Saturday, October 4, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Rural College Grove, TN

Registration deadline, Friday, September 26 doublelog

Please join us in a beautiful rural setting for a day of mindfulness as we combine meditation and the practice of contemplative photography. We will use our cameras as a means to reflect our awareness of this moment in its ever changing forms. This approach often yields unexpected and remarkable results that differ from conventional shots. There’s no need for expensive equipment or technical knowledge, just a willingness to meet the moment in an open and receptive state.  A simple, yet profound joy often arises in this alliance of mind and heart, camera and surroundings.

Led by meditation teacher and artist Lisa Ernst, the workshop is suitable to beginning and experienced meditators. In addition to several photography sessions, the workshop will include meditation, silence and group interaction. The retreat site, about 35 minutes from downtown Nashville, includes wooded hills, fields, rock formations and interesting structures.

The fee is on a sliding scale from $75 – $100. Two reduced fee slots are available for those who need financial assistance.

A $50 deposit reserves your space and is due by 9/26. Paypal is available here. If paying by check, make it out to One Dharma Nashville and send to One Dharma Nashville, c/o 12 South Dharma Center, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Please include your email address. Details and directions will be sent in advance of the retreat. For more information email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

 

Photos from the October 5 Contemplative Meditation and Photograhy Retreat

A lot of talented photographers attended the October 5 retreat. Everyone has uploaded images to a “mindful photos” Flickr account, which you can view here. Enjoy their talent while viewing the beautiful grounds of Penuel Ridge.

10/5 Meditation and Photography Retreat by Lisa Ernst

10/5 Meditation and Photography Retreat by Lisa Ernst

Contemplative Photography and Meditation Retreat Recap

Orange Bugs on Pod  photography by Lisa Ernst

Orange Bugs on Pod
photography by Lisa Ernst

On October 5 I led One Dharma Nashville’s 2013 Contemplative Photography Retreat at Penuel Ridge in Ashland City. It’s a beautiful retreat site and very conducive to meditation and photography. Rather than writing a general recap, I thought I’d share something written by one of the attendees, Tracy Wilson about her experience at the retreat:

Some Things I Learned on My Contemplative Photography Retreat

by Tracy Wilson

1. Birds, butterflies, caterpillars and bees wait for no one! They are as engaged with their busy little comings and goings as I am. All things change and change is constant and uncontrollable.

2. I tend to stop breathing when taking photos. When I don’t breathe, my shoulders tense up and I feel uncomfortable. So…breathe!

3. I tend to want to make adjustments to the subject of my photo…moving a leaf here, adding something there. The best photos are taken when I just let things BE as they are and accept. When I let go of trying to control them, I am more at ease and mindful and get better shots.

4. Light changes with the whim of the clouds and the turning of the earth. Photography depends on the amount of light available. It changes what and how I see things and what the camera picks up. When the light changed from morning to afternoon, the world was “new” and many things were illuminated that I had not seen before. Light changes everything.

5. Moving through my day mindfully is very relaxing and decreases inner conflict. The more I slow down, the more I see and hear.

6. Focusing on a leaf floating in a reflective pond quiets the mind.

7. Walking a Labyrinth is a lesson in patience and a beautiful way to walk mindfully. I’d love to have one!

Leaf and reflection in pond at Penuel Rigdge, photograh by Tracy Wilson

Leaf and reflection in pond at Penuel Rigdge, photograph by Tracy Wilson

To see more of Tracy’s shots from the retreat, go here.

Photography Retreat and 2013 Calendar

The  registration deadline for the Contemplative Photography and Meditation workshop is this Friday, September 27th. The location at Penuel Ridge offers many excellent opportunities for interesting and varied photography. Also, I’m pleased that Shelley Davis-Wise has generously offered to create a calendar of our photographs as she did last year. The beautiful calendar was a big success, and also a nice fund raiser for One Dharma.

An image from our 2012 Mindful Photography Calendar

An image from our 2012 Mindful Photography Calendar

You can see images from last year’s calendar here.

To register for the workshop, go here.

Contemplative Photography and Meditation Workshop

Cultivating Clarity, Receptivity and Joy With a Camera

Saturday, October 5, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Penuel Ridge Retreat Center

Led by Lisa Ernst

bluewaterPlease join us for a day of mindfulness as we combine meditation and the practice of contemplative photography. We will use our cameras as a means to reflect our mindful awareness of this moment in its myriad, ever changing forms. This contemplative approach to photography often yields unexpected and remarkable results that differ from conventional shots. There’s no need for expensive equipment or technical knowledge, just a willingness to meet the moment with your camera in an open and receptive state. A simple, yet profound joy often arises in this alliance of mind and heart, camera and surroundings.

Led by meditation teacher and artist Lisa Ernst, the workshop is suitable to beginning and experienced meditators. In addition to morning and afternoon photography sessions, the workshop will include meditation, silence and group interaction. The beautiful retreat site at Penuel Ridge includes many acres of wooded hills, open fields and a lovely, secluded lake.

The retreat fee is offered on a sliding scale from $75 – $100. Two reduced fee spots are available for those who need financial assistance.

A $50 deposit reserves your space and is due by 9/27 (or pay the full amount if you prefer). Paypal is available here. If paying by check, please make it out to One Dharma Nashville and send to One Dharma Nashville, c/o 12 South Dharma Center, 2301 12th Avenue South, Suite 202, Nashville, TN 37204. Be sure to include your email address. Additional details and directions will be provided in advance of the retreat. For more information or to reserve your spot email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.

The Joy of Mindful Photography

I originally posted this article last July and decided to re-post it now as I have another photography and meditation workshop coming up on October 5 at Penuel Ridge Retreat Center. If you’re in the Middle Tennessee area, I hope you can join me. Info is here.

As a visual artist, painting was my primary form of expression for many years. It still plays a large role in my creative retinue, but over the last several years I have discovered and fallen in love with mindful photography. This type of shooting, also known as contemplative photography,  is accessible to anyone who cultivates mindfulness in their lives – no special equipment or technical skills are needed.

Many people think of photography as an activity that creates separation from present moment experience because the photographer is always seeking that perfect shot.  From this perspective, the great shot is always in another moment, something to strive and search for. But every good photographer knows the value of training the mind to be completely present and aware in each moment, where great shots often reveal themselves, no seeking required.

When I use my camera in a receptive and open state, my shots reflect how the moment presents itself in its myriad, ever changing forms. I’ve found that this approach yields unexpected results that often differ from conventional shots. Advanced camera equipment isn’t important; being present and open is.  A simple, yet profound joy arises as my sense of “I’” as the photographer dissolves into the alliance of mind and heart, camera and surroundings. When the shoot is complete, I am always deeply relaxed and refreshed.

One of my favorite places for contemplative photography is Reelfoot Lake, in West Tennessee. In mid to late summer the lake is covered, even clogged, with huge yellow lotus flowers. Often the park rangers have to thin the plants out a bit. The endless vista of lotus flowers across the lake is truly an amazing sight. Locally my favorite place is Radnor Lake, just a block from my home. I can go any time of year and enjoy the ever changing weather conditions and seasonal transitions. To me, they are all beautiful although I have a special affinity for foggy mornings and icy winter afternoons.

Although I use my photographs as the basis for many of my paintings, I do most shoots simply to experience the joy of the moment, immersed in my surroundings with a camera. Occasionally  an image stands out that I want to paint, such as this one, “Lotus Lake” from a shoot at Reelfoot Lake a few years ago:

Lotus Lake, Acrylic on Canvas, 48″ x 36,” private collection

If you’ve never experienced mindful photography before, I hope you’ll give it a try. All you need is a camera and an hour or two to shoot.  In September I plan on offering a meditation workshop where we will practice the art of mindful photography in a rural setting. The day will include meditation, photography and group interaction. No special photography skills are needed; any camera will do. I’ll post more details soon.

Reelfoot Lake at Dusk

Reelfoot Lake at Dusk

Our 2013 Mindful Photography Calendars are Now Available

These calendars were made from photos from our 2012 September Contemplative Photography Retreat. Created by one of our participants, Shelley Davis-Wise, each photo includes a dharma quote or poem. The calendars are for sale during our regular hours and are $15 each. They are a fund raiser for One Dharma. Here are a few sample images:

For more information email onedharmaretreat@gmail.com.