Take a Break #2

Camera+Doodle 1
Camera+Doodle 1, a photo by Fergiemoto on Flickr.  (click on photo to enlarge)

the harder we try
the more evasive the problem
try by not trying

We all need to take breaks, regardless of what we are doing.  I’ve experienced the mental blocks at work where I needed to walk away from a problem and come back to it later with a different perspective.  I’ve had the “creativity block” where I just cannot think of a haiku to write, a subject for a blog post, or an image I wanted to work on and what to do with it.  Sometimes trying to get rid of anxiety and giving it attention makes the anxiety even worse.  With chronic pain, sometimes meditation or a diversion will help temporarily reduce the pain.

There are countless examples where we need breaks. Getting an answer is part of trusting, without being critical, that putting it aside for a while will bring an answer.

I created this image above, which is a combination of a doodle and a photo of a Western Scrub Jay that visits us daily for peanuts.  This is my first attempt at what I have been calling a Camera+Doodle.  I have more in mind and it is the result of something different I wanted to do.  In fact, it was the result of “try by not trying.”

This scrub jay does come very close to us, but I noticed the harder I try to get him to come closer, the more distance he leaves between us.  If I just ignore him and go about my business, he usually comes closer.  He has yet to take food from my hand, but one of the squirrels here will gently take peanuts from me.  Also, a chickadee landed on my hand last fall, picked up a peanut, paused and looked at me for a few seconds before leaving.  The closest this scrub jay came to me was recently when I was feeding the squirrel. He landed beside me, looked right at me and squawked as if to say, “Hey!  That’s MY peanut!”  The squawk made the poor little squirrel jump, and he scampered away.

Some day this scrub jay will take a peanut from me, just like in the image above.  I just have to be patient and “try by not trying.”

Do you have examples of “try by not trying” that you would be willing to share?  I’d love to know about it!

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17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn Chastain Treat
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 17:16:12

    I can’t think of any try by not trying examples but I love your camera + doodle.


  2. yoshizen
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 17:41:22

    When you try to carry cup-full of tea (literally full to the edge), if you gaze at
    the cup try to pay attention, hand shake and tea will spill. —- If you just arrow
    the hand to do the job, you can carry it without a shake. = This is a well known
    phenomenon of Mushin (mind of No-mind, in Zen term) Everything is the same.
    With head-strong approach (=the more you think), you may never succeed.
    Let the hand to do the job, let the flow of subconscious to take the course.


    • Fergiemoto
      Mar 28, 2013 @ 17:44:54

      Yes, that is very true! I have tried that myself, both watching the cup and not watching it, and it easier to avoid spilling if I don’t watch it.
      Thank you for sharing, Yoshizen.


      • yoshizen
        Mar 29, 2013 @ 18:57:01

        The question is, when you try to carry a cup —– did anybody ordered you to do and forced you to continue ? —– and how long (many hours / days) you did.
        If you did it with your intention and few times, it only did give you a satisfaction
        to your EGO. Hand did it in mushin but your head didn’t.

        Practice of Mushin HAS to go beyond the moment [ to fed-up and started to feel
        “why do I need to do such pointless practice”] —– then as you were forced to keep doing, you will reach the state to abandon the complaint and do the practice in Mushin. = In this point, your EGO was eliminated, hence in Selfless state.

        Small animal can read our mind. Having an intention / thought in the mind, they
        wouldn’t come close to us. Real charity / love is not in the conscious mind.
        We only able to communicate with them in a subconscious channel.

  3. victoriaaphotography
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 17:48:40

    Being a chronic pain/fatigue sufferer (FM & CFS & severe sciatica due to disc disease), I might suggest that the more you concentrate on serious pain and how to deal with it, the more it seems to take over and consume your life. The more you try, the more you fail.

    By finding something (in my case nature photography) even more absorbing which takes over your whole mental and physical energy and which you love doing, you eventually find that pain recedes into the background.

    It has to be something new, creative, interesting and requiring intense focus though. It has to be challenging, but not so challenging that you give up when success doesn’t come immediately. It has to be something which brings you fulfilment and achievement, and a sense of self. I believe learning how to be Mindful on a daily basis contributes to the success of the distraction or task and having a distraction you can develop further and further each day is even more helpful. Wasting your life trying to solve an unsolvable problem is soul destroying. It’s better to concentrate on just being in the moment and enjoying whatever comes your way. It helps to enjoy the simple things in life and appreciate what you’ve got in any given moment.

    But living your life Mindfully is certainly the key. I never look too far ahead. I try to just concentrate on today.


    • Fergiemoto
      Apr 08, 2013 @ 21:42:08

      Good points to focus on, Vicki! Finding something that allows you to be oblivious to everything around you, even the pain, can be a refreshing, temporary relief. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences!


  4. Stewart M
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 18:49:32

    Hi there – thats a nice combination of thought and image! The harder we try to connect the more things run away.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW – Stewart M – Melbourne


  5. Carol
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 19:03:24

    Great shot and interesting concept. I believe “try by not trying” works in many different fields. It’s a matter, I think, of relaxing and trusting your skills. Perhaps, my example may not be quite what you were thinking of but here it is: Stress can cause errors on the sports field and in music performances that no amount of practice can prevent. The discipline and practice must be there, but once that is done, stepping away to let the reflexes take over makes a lot of sense.


  6. Robyn Lee
    Mar 28, 2013 @ 19:17:20

    This is spectacular Fergi! I love the message too.. I is so true that the more we “push against” or harder we try to overcome – very often the more resistance and then our efforts become counterproductive. Sometimes is we just can “be” where we are and feel what it is we are wanting – we get better results than trying to muscle through ~ 😉 I love what you did with this photo ~ such a great effect ~ Much Love to you ~ Robyn


  7. marina kanavaki
    Mar 29, 2013 @ 03:42:56

    That is a great advice “try by not trying” and I agree!
    I love your combination camera+doodle – beautifully done!


  8. TBM
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 08:28:48

    I don’t know how to express this, but when I stopped trying to be perfect all of the time, my life became perfect so to speak. I’ve learned not to force things and to just go with the flow. It all works out.


    • Fergiemoto
      Apr 08, 2013 @ 21:48:24

      Perfect example, TBM! I’m so glad to hear that your life has become perfect. What an amazing thing. It’s looks like you have found a nice balance to your life.


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