Our Defining Principles

The Art of Mindfulness is located at the intersection of nature-based mindfulness and photography.

Gary Sharlow Photography

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness is an intentional act of turning one’s attention to the present moment sense experience just as it is and without judgment. In this act, we learn about our present-moment experience and begin to develop the capacity to respond to the events of our lives with greater freedom and choice.

Insight Meditation Practice: When we practice being mindful during a meditation sit, we are simply noticing the thoughts and experiences that arise, as they arise, and just as they are – without judgement of what arises. Through a method of noting, we are able to simply observe the patterns of the mind. These patterns and habits of mind can be very revealing when we stop to pay attention. When we observe what is happening in the heart and mind, we begin to have insights into our own way of being.

Open Awareness Practice: For many, mindfulness practice starts with taking a seated position in an indoor, quiet, and controlled space with the eyes closed and an intention of being quiet both in the physical world and in the heart and mind. With open awareness practice, we begin to explore what it means to practice meditation while engaging with all of the senses. We may welcome in sounds, smells, touch, sights, and more. In this way, we explore meditation through an openness to all of our experiences.

For Those Who Love Nature

The Healing Power of Nature: Many of us find peace and quiet in our hearts and minds when we spend time in nature. It allows us to step away from all the stresses and demands of daily life. For most, it comforts the nervous system and creates the conditions to look beyond the immediate circumstances of our lives. The natural world can be very resourcing – it renews the spirit. Simply put, it is restorative. Researchers have found that just 15 minutes a day spent in the natural world can be an effective treatment method for mental health conditions – most notable for anxiety. There are chemicals present in evergreen forests, that have been found to decrease the effects of stress in the body. Spending time in nature is a powerful method of healing.

Love not Loss: The findings from social psychology are undeniably clear that focusing the conversation about the state of the natural world on what we are losing – is a losing strategy. People are motivated by love – not loss. We protect what love. When we focus the conversation on loss, we lose our audience. To motivate others to care for the planet, there’s nothing more powerful than love. Quiet, contemplative time in nature is one of the most powerful ways of developing a love of nature.

Opening to Stillness: In the modern world, life moves a million miles an hour. We have over 20,000 thoughts per day. The average attention span lasts just 8 seconds before the mind is ready to move on to the next thing. When we are intentional – when we take time to embrace stillness – we have an opportunity to be aware of so much more of what s happening in both our inner and outer landscapes. Opening to stillness can open us to the experience of our own minds and create space to be responsive to life rather than simply being reactive. Opening to stillness can bring relief from all the various forms of suffering in our daily lives and open us to a path for joy.


The Art of Mindfulness

Conservation Photography is about making images of the natural world for the natural world. It’s about storytelling with images and giving voice to the natural world. The action of the conservation photographer doesn’t end with the click of the shutter, it actually begins at that moment. What we do with the images, to effect change and inspire others to love and care for the planet, is what really matters.

A Sense of Awe and Wonder: The single most powerful emotion that brings about stewardship of the natural world is a sense of awe. When we are fascinated by something, when we love something, when we are inspired to develop curiosity and a strong desire to know more about the world around us, that’s when we can really begin to become a version of our best selves. That’s when we can begin to live in harmony with all living beings and the planet that supports life.

Mindfulness for the Nature Photographer: Through the lens of mindfulness, we can truly develop a connection to our present moment experience and how we are relating to the world around us. Through nature-based mindfulness, we can develop a deeper sense of connection to the natural world. From this grounded place of seeing and being, we can begin to create images that powerfully convey our connection to the natural world. This deep connection can truly inspire others to care for the planet as much as it cares for us.