Michelle Twohig
art to bring your happy place inside

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A Zen habit for right brainers

Leo Babauta wrote a post on ZenHabits called The Mindfulness of Social Sharing, about the distracting urge, while on vacation, to share pics on social media of the beauty surrounding us rather than simply enjoy it in a mindful way. He had a variety of recommendations to fight that urge—including putting away the cellphone—but I would like to counter his suggestions with a way to channel that urge into a form of creative mindfulness.

This might be a big-picture social media image...

This might be a big-picture social media image...

I agree that a large part of social sharing is a desire to impress our friends with whatever impresses us. But try this: Rather than look through the lens for the image that may most impress them, focus on finding the details in front of you that combine to fill your senses and make you love the place. Maybe they trigger feelings of joy, exhilaration, calm or comfort. The colors might be eye candy; the smell of cedar or salt air cleansing; the sound of water calming; the anticipation of eating a wild strawberry joyful; the touch of lichen curious. Enjoy the details and take photos of them to see what draws you to the place.

...this could be an abstract art lover's reverie...

...this could be an abstract art lover's reverie...

...a sailor's favorite point of sail...

...a sailor's favorite point of sail...

...the yogi's yin yang...

...the yogi's yin yang...

So next time you're on vacation, use your cellphone to shoot what makes your senses and feelings soar. You'll learn a lot about what makes a happy place for you, as well as bring home details you can turn into personal art. Use it for mindful visualization to bring a stillness to your mind—the stillness that happy places tend to offer.