Finding My Focus

I was born with a pretty obsessive mind. I have learned some tools that help me quiet this mind, and more often than not, these days, I am in a place of serenity. However, every once in awhile it takes off like a kite in the wind and before I know it I am scrubbing my kitchen floor and having a full fledged conversation with myself over some trivial matter that I have no control over. Recently, my topic of obsession was ‘finding a focus’ in my photography business. Although I know that allowing my mind to go down this path is a fruitless endeavor resulting in nothing but worry, obsession, stress, and more obsession, I still was struggling with indulging a little.

Yesterday morning I was working as Scrappy at my part-time job (the mascot for Patriots Point). Then in the afternoon had lunch with my family for father’s day. In the evening I had a wedding to photograph on Folly Beach. I managed to get through most of the day keeping the obsessive thoughts at bay. By the time I was pulling up to the beach to park at washout, although physically sitting in my car, mentally I was on another planet. So, I put my Honda in park, bowed my head on the steering wheel, and did the only thing I know to do- the best thing I know to do- PRAY. And I prayed. I said “God help me get out of my head, so that I may be able to photograph this wedding and be in the present moment.” Then I got out an ventured down to our discussed meeting point.

At the end of Ashley Ave. there is a long road which is walking access only. It’s about a 10 min walk down to the beach from where you park. The sister of the bride, Jenn, called me as I stood at the end of the path prepared to take family photos before the ceremony. “All the guests have arrived early, and we are running behind, so let’s just go straight into the ceremony and do the family photos afterwards” she explained.  I headed up the path where I met Liz, Cory, (the bride and groom) and Jenn. As we walked back down the path, Jenn and I made small talk commenting on the perfect weather, the colorful hand made bouquet, and how gorgeous Liz looked. As I turned to Liz she apologized for her quietness, as she was quite nervous. I then noticed her tense shoulders and furrowed brow. Jenn and I made a few jokes to lighten the mood which seemed to put Liz at ease. It was then she gasped, “I forgot the rings!” We were nearly to the beach now and already behind schedule. With no time to turn back, Jenn suggested using one of our rings to ‘fake it’. None of their rings would fit Cory’s finger though, so I offered my thumb ring. My thumb ring has the quote engraved “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. The walk to the beach, although not a thousand miles, certainly may have been a thousand steps! We all laughed at the ridiculousness of using my thumb ring as a fake wedding band, but decided at this point it was the most practical solution. We joined up with the family, and began the ceremony. Liz and Cory said their ‘I DO’s’ and were married on the beautiful beach. The day was more perfect than anyone could have asked for.

What I’ve come to realize, is that at the end of the day, if I am laying in bed thinking about ‘the future of my photography business’ or about ‘marketing strategies’ or about ‘branding’ or ‘website design’ then I know I am missing the mark by a long shot. Yesterday, my job was first to dress up in a dog costume and bring joy to children. Then it was to laugh and love my family on Father’s day. Finally it was to show up, be present, and to calm a nervous bride. It was to bring laughter to a couple who felt insecure in front of the camera, and to join in a celebration of marriage. These are the gifts I offer: joy, love, and laughter. This is my focus. It’s not about working hard, being successful, or having fun. It’s not about the genre of photography I do, or about figuring out my target demographic. It’s about living each moment presently, intentionally, and being of maximum service to others. No matter in big ways, or in small ‘thumb ring’ ways. Wether I am dressed up at a formal event photographing corporate big-wigs, or dressing in a dog costume high-five’ing four-year-olds, my job remains the same. Better questions to ask myself would be; how do I bring joy? How can I be of service? How can I share my God-given gifts with the world? My business is the by-product of living in God’s will. This business requires a lot of energy- no doubt, but I must never get so consumed that I forget what my true focus is.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    June 23, 2016 at 12:42 am

    Melissa that was beautiful! You have such a sweet, kind soul and it shines right through you! You gave us your full attention Sunday and just became part of the family! Your photography is something special and anyone who looks at your work can see. God has big plans for you and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you! Thank you again so very much!!
    Jennifer

  • Reply
    Dianne Miley
    June 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Wow. You continually impress and inspire me, Melissa! How did I get so lucky to be your mom?
    Love you always!

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