Expectation is the root of disappointment. This is a mantra we all know well. But knowing this doesn't seem to keep us from creating high expectations for future events.
I myself am guilty of envisioning the perfect moment, daydreaming (when I should be working) of a perfect experience. And within that experience, a perfect photo opportunity - because what's an epic experience without the ability to share with all your friends - that I'll capture beautifully. Add a sweet filter and a clever caption or quote and it'll be sure to garner a ton of likes and comments on how amazing my #vacay looks like from the frozen prairie. At least that's how my fantasy goes.
But what effect does this motivation for a great photo have on the moment when it finally comes? Truthfully, it means I'm not really in it. Because instead of fully experiencing the moment, I'm wondering: how can I take a photo of this experience that will both be flattering yet appear effortless; whats my best angle; what pose should I do; what filter will I use, etc.
A few weeks ago I had this one specific photo I kept fantasizing about wanting over my upcoming holiday: me in asana while floating effortlessly on a stand up paddle board with an epic Cayman sunset in the background.
So before I took off for the Caribbean island, I bought a GoPro, set up a private yoga + sup session with the amazing girls at Bliss Yoga Cayman, and I fantasized about the shots I would get. I envisioned all the different angles I could shoot from my SUP: I'd get some of me, my teachers, and my friends, of course. I couldn't decide which asanas would look best, but I suppose I could leave those up to the teacher. Maybe I could even put together a little video montage. OMG, I can't wait - this is going to be so great! In this midst of busy-ness in my mind while preparing for my migration south, I forgot to pack the battery charger for my fancy new camera. Doh! This discovery - five minutes before my session - meant that I wouldn't be able to capture this experience to share on social.
Is an experience less amazing if you can't share it? What if the moment is epic in every way, but you don't capture a pic... how will your friends know how amazing it is be to be you in that moment?
With my current intention of trying to see the positive in all experiences, I decided to see this forgetfulness as a gift. Without the ability to capture my experience, I was given the opportunity to be fully in the moment. I met the girls trying not to show my distain about my camera, and as I hopped on the board and paddled out on the water, I left my worries at the shore. After a short paddle on smooth turquoise waters, we anchored facing the sunset and the horizon. Seated straddling the board, legs dangling in the warm water, we began by connecting with the breath and settling into our floating yoga mats. The teacher, Rachel, offered the intention of tuning in to the flow of the water, as to go with the flow is easier than to fight it (isn't that the truth). She lead us through a sequence of poses on the board that were both challenging and grounding, and offered the cue to look out to the horizon for stability - which was a treat in itself, as the horizon was filled with sail boards, birds, and beautiful colours of sea and sky. Colours that lit up magnificently as the sun began to set.
The epic sunset that I had fantasized about for weeks was a hundred times better in real life, and without being fixated on a photo I had to get, I was able to fully enjoy and soak it in. To be in my breath - big inhale, sweet exhale - to gaze out at the fiery sky without any agenda or need to accomplish. I took a mental picture. You'll never see this photo, but it was beautiful. And it will forever be imprinted in my heart.
Rachelle Taylor is a love warrior born and raised in the heart of Canada. This gypsy spirit searched far and wide for inspiration, beauty and bliss around the globe only to return home to Winnipeg where she created Prairie Yogi Inc. + Prairie Love Festival as expressions of her love for yoga, epic experiences, and community. A vinyasa yoga instructor (200 RYT), eternal student, rookie meditator, and inspirational speaker on the topic of living your passion, Rachelle brings her enthusiasm, light and authenticity to her vinyasa yoga teachings.