Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Photoshop your Life

Last week a friend visited Hong Kong and like any tourist he had his camera ready to click.  He took hundreds of photographs, I had not seen Hong Kong like that before. Living in a place makes one immune to the intricacies that weave such a wonderful tapestry. His camera seemed to tell a very beautiful story.

Amongst those beautiful pictures there were many pictures that were not that beautiful, some were over exposed, some were underexposed, some were hazy, some had red eyes and some were completely out of focus. As I was going through the album I started saving the pictures that I liked and ignoring the ones that I did not want to see. Sadly I could not delete the ones that I did not like because it was not my album, I just had access to it.

Half way through the album I realized that I was being too self critical, I did not like any pictures that featured me and I was being extremely judgmental. I wanted to delete those that had me looking cross eyed or where I was showing my teeth like jaws, but sadly I could not delete anything. The best I could do was just ignore them and focus on the ones that were nice.

Isn’t life similar to a picture album? Not all pictures are beautiful but we have a choice of keeping the beautiful ones and ignoring the not so beautiful or as some of my friends would say ‘ see the beauty even in the apparent ugliness’.

I went through the whole album again and to my surprise actually started liking what I had initially disliked.  I had detached myself from me and saw the pictures just as they were and not as a reflection of me the body.

Even though I saw the pictures just as they were I still did not save the ones that I did not like on my computer. I only saved the ones I liked.

We can edit our lives the same way. Our lives are full of beautiful and not so beautiful pictures. Just as we keep only the pretty pictures in a photo album, why not keep only the pretty memories in our life album. Why should anyone revisit the dark moments over and over again? Acknowledge the dark moments for what they are and choose to skim over them just as you would the bad or out of focus pictures.

I remember attending a friend’s wedding a few years ago and when I saw the wedding album I was blown over by the beauty in that album, but I clearly remember that all was not so beautiful at the wedding. Many things had gone wrong, and there was a lot of anger, frustration and unmet expectations; but nothing even close to that shows in the album. The photographer chose the best pictures and every time any one sees that album all we see are beautiful smiling faces and not the angry or sad faces that too were a part of the three-day event.

Become an editor of your own life. Edit or photoshop the events that you don’t like. Just as you would not keep the bad pictures why would you hang on to unpleasant memories?

Memories and albums are made up pictures that we choose to keep. Ideally we should not hold on to anything whether good or bad for everything is transient. Nothing stays forever so even getting attached to the good is a waste of the present moment. But if we do need to revisit the past, it better be the edited colorful version and not the dark out of focus version.

Just as the bad pictures don’t automatically get deleted, the bad memories will not automatically disappear. We need to consciously focus on the good and ignore the bad. The bad pictures may not necessarily be taken by you, but you feature in those. Similarly the cause of your bad memories may lie outside of you but the ability to choose the memories of your life lies with you.

Choose the good ones …..


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