Using Small to Accomplish What I’ve Been Putting Off
I have a confession to make: About four months ago I went to The Looking Glass and bought myself a second-hand macro lens for my camera. Because of my passion for small, I take lots of close-up photos, and it seemed I could go even smaller and better with this new lens. But when I screwed the new lens on my camera, I discovered that it didn’t work on automatic focus, which is a mode I always use. I panicked, but had sense enough to go straight to the Internet, where I discovered that most people use manual focus with their macro lenses. Phew, I thought, and breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t make a huge mistake!
But when I picked up my camera again and tried out the new lens on manual, my first several shots were blurry. Yikes! I did make a mistake! I can’t use this thing. And I carefully put it back into its case and slid it onto a closet shelf, where it has remained for all these months. And that’s the first part of my confession. But it gets worse.
Since I slid the new lens onto the shelf, I haven’t picked up my camera. Not once. While it used to be my constant companion, and I could never wait to get to my computer to see and edit my latest photos, I haven’t opened my photo-editing program in months. How is this possible? I’ve been asking myself. Finding moments of small and taking photos as you went about your life was what made you happiest. And now you have abandoned one of your most important sources of joy.
Even worse, not only have I been depriving myself of visual joy, I’ve been chastising myself for wasting money, for not using my new lens, for giving up too quickly. Several times, I’ve even issued ultimatums to myself, even though I know them to be damaging. After all, how can it help me to be tyrannical with myself, to trumpet out orders like, ”You’re going to spend this afternoon mastering your new lens!” “It’s now or never!” Not only do this harshly uttered commandments not work, they make me feel small and powerless.
At last, I see a way out. I’m gong to practice small. I wish I had thought of this long ago, but as you see, I still get caught up in old, destructive patterns. And sometimes it takes me a while to realize what’s going on. But now that I do, here’s what I plan: Either this Saturday or Sunday, I’m setting aside 15 minutes—no more—to play with my new lens. It’s that simple.
I can already tell that this is the correct approach. I no longer feel dread and horror when I think about my macro lens. And I can sense a bit of positive anticipation, both at the thought of doing something about my block and at the possibility of no longer carrying around this load of self recrimination.
I’ll report back next week on how well my small approach works.