a syllable, word or phrase that is purposefully repeated and used to express one’s personal beliefs or intentions
A mantra isn’t just for yogis or spiritual seekers. Anyone can find peace, joy and centeredness from repeating a mantra, especially photographers. Adding a personal mantra to your photography toolkit will change you the way you feel behind the lens and the way you see the world – two key factors in cultivating your unique style. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll share tips to help you capture the words that speak to your spirit and infuse your images with soul.
Most mantras are very simple and can be spoken, whispered, or repeated in the mind. The most meaningful mantra is one that you create for yourself. You don’t have to share it – so don’t worry about what anyone else thinks of the words you’ve chosen. The purpose of your mantra is to your focus your attention on the present moment and to bring awareness to the intention you have set for yourself. For example, “I am creative” can help you silence your inner critic and open your mind to shoot images that make your heart sing. So grab a pen and your journal and follow these simple tips for creating a personal mantra that’s authentically you.
- Be selective
Think about the life you want to live, the habits you want to embody and the type of images you want to share with the world. Brainstorm a few words that illustrate what you want to manifest. If you can’t think of any words, grab one of your favorite magazines and a sharpie and start searching. Flip through the pages, circling each word that stirs energy or interest within you when you see it written. Next, pare down your list to the top three words that move you the most. You will use them later to create a statement that affirms your intention.
- Be meaningful
You know how hard it is to learn the lyrics of a song that you don’t really like? I am thinking of church hymns I was forced to learn as a child. I can’t remember the words to this day! But I can sing the words to songs I love without consciously thinking of the words. The lyrics just roll off my tongue. The words of your mantra should flow from your lips like the words of your favorite song. If you take the time to explore the purpose of your mantra and carefully choose words that have meaning to you, it will not be a struggle to remember or say them.
- Be brief
When creating your mantra, let brevity be your guide. I suggest limiting your statement to six words or less. The words should flow off your tongue effortlessly in a single breath. Notice how you feel when you say your mantra. Does it feel uneasy or comfortable in your gut? Do you stumble over your words or do they flow from your mouth naturally? Say your mantra over and over to try it on for size. Is it a good fit or does it need tweaking? Assess what it needs and modify as needed until the words feel just right.
Remember, what you focus on grows. Write your mantra….
- on a note card and slip it your camera bag
- in your photography planner/journal
- on a sticky note and post it on your computer monitor
Use your mantra as a mindfulness meditation to ground you in the present moment and bring your true vision into focus. Press the shutter and create something magical.
I would love to know if you have created a personal mantra. What was your creative process? Drop a comment below!