This morning I was reading an article about how to blur the background of photos on my iPhone:
You won’t always want to take photos with a blurry background. In landscape photography, you’ll want everything in focus from near to distant objects.
But there are many situations where a shallow depth of field will improve your image.
If the background of your scene is messy or distracting, it takes attention away from the main subject. Blurring the background eliminates distractions and makes the subject stand out.
And so it is with life.
Looking at the ‘big picture’ where everything is of equal clarity, you can see what is going on, in a general sense. But if you stay in that mode all the time you find that your attention is very scattered, first looking at the sky, then the buildings, then the trees, cars, birds and so on.
Sometimes we need to bring our focus sharply onto a single subject, in the present, so we can see what is important. Clear away the distractions. What is important might be a person, an emotion or a moment of realisation. When we are unable to shift focus back and forth, and then edit the image, our picture of things can get all out of whack—too fragmented, narcissistic—take your pick of a variety of counterproductive behaviours.
We need both ways of seeing.
This winter various aspects of life have gone in and out of focus for me. I look at the big picture for a while, and then zoom in on practical or emotional needs. However, I can never stray far from creative endeavours of some kind, and every now and then poetry pops into my head. If you ascribe to the theory that Elizabeth Gilbert (and others) talks about in Big Magic, you might believe me when I tell you, there are ideas in the form of energies that exist on a different level from our normal experience. We can tap into it the way we hear sound as it moves through the atmosphere, or see light via different vibrations. These energies move through a person, and can be brought into our plane of existence. If it is not responded to, it will move on, allowing someone else to bring it to this plane. This seems as plausible to me as any other explanation for creative inspiration–elusive and mysterious to most of us.
If I respond quickly, the idea often comes pouring out, almost completed, with little editing required. It is usually brought to me in a moment of intense experience. I sometimes think my memory is quite strange…remembering the moment that inspired a poem for many years; or a particular little café in Bratislava, Slovakia, 8 years ago because I had the most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had. But if you ask me about a particular movie or book I’ve seen/read, my memory is likely to be very vague. I suppose it is the intensity and relevance an experience has for some of us that is the determining factor.
Regardless, these energies seem very real to me, and are a source of joy and satisfaction. Thank you for reading.
After I kissed you goodbye in your ear,
You looked at me and said ‘I love you.’
I replied ‘I love you too’ and your lips quivered ever so slightly—
the way sorrow settles into a person when they need
a little more time,
a little more nurturing,
a little deeper loving.
That look stayed with me like I had failed you,
But you were the one who had to go,
So I could only kiss you and say goodbye.