Mindful Photography Sessions

Combine the healing practice of mindfulness with photography to find yourself in the moment.
Be prepared to experience transformation, awakening, and joy in an inspiring exploration of higher consciousness in day-to-day life.

Mindful Photography Logo

Find yourself in the moment with Mindful Photography.

Mindful Photography combines the healing practice of mindfulness with photography to experience transformation, awakening, and joy, in an inspiring exploration of higher consciousness in day-to-day life.

To live fully, live lovingly in this world, to walk this pathless adventure called life with understanding, we must learn to read the inner essence of a landscape. To find any sense of perfection we must learn to master our own inner landscape.

One Glorious Day, by Melanie Gow

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the emotions thoughts, and sensations occurring in the present moment.

The Earth Whispers, Listen Carefully - taken by Melanie Gow, on her exceptional 33 day walk with her two sons over the Pyrenees and across Spain for 800km to Santiago de Compostela

Photography

Photography is the art of noticing a moment, at its essence it is a personal conversation with the world around you.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)Mindful Photography

Mindful Photography is a gentle, creative and powerful tool that helps you understand the meaning for you in what you notice, and practice the art of bringing awareness to the subconscious.

“Highly recommended – in fact, it should come with a warning; it is very likely to be inspiring and life-changing
Angela Johnson

In asking what it is you are seeing, and why, explore the reasons you take a photograph of one unique moment over others and learn more about how you think and feel.

Mindful Photography will help you to be more observant, contribute to finding your “voice”, and improve the quality of your relationship with yourself, and your interaction with the world around you.

Tiara crowned dandelion
According to the philosophers of Ancient Greece to strive to ‘know yourself’ was the highest purpose, for the Buddhists knowing yourself is true wisdom, mastering yourself is true power. Most spiritual practices and social sciences speak of the importance of self-knowledge.

While we all have some ideas about who we are, the knowledge we have is often patchy and unconnected, and we have few opportunities to be guided in reflecting on our interaction with our world.

Mindful Photography is a gentle practice that creates a feedback loop with your sub-conscious.

Mindful Photography puts self-awareness into your hands.

Enjoy a one-to-one Mindful Photography session
from as little as £45 for two hours
half-mornings available

Take a Mindful Photography walk
for £20
group discounts available

Mindful Photography Workshops
half days from as little as £25 per person, minimum 5 people

PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN FINDING OUT MORE, OR BOOKING A SESSION

“Out of yourself such a journey will lead you to your self. It leads to transformation of dust into pure gold!” Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī

Imagine what could happen if you backed yourself and walked the talk. I'm in the business of inspiring people to walk the talk. My coaching is not for the faint of heart, it's for those who want to wake up and unleash a dream. Imagine what could happen if you backed yourself and Walked the Talk, Leap of Faith by Melanie Gow

In its nature, and by intention, Mindful Photography is known as a heuristic approach to self-awareness and self-discovery; it employs methods not expected to be optimal or perfect, but right for the immediate goals. It can help with anxiety, stress, anger, fear, hurt, guilt, depression, self-esteem, and grief, and surprising breakthroughs are not unusual.

Coaching

I am in the business of inspiring people to walk the talk. My coaching is not for the faint of heart, it is for those who want to wake up and unwrap themselves.

Imagine what could happen if you backed yourself and pursued a passion, Leap of Faith by Melanie Gow
Imagine what could change if you backed yourself and walked the talk.

Having spent a lifetime exploring the human condition, I find myself in the business of stoking the fires of dreams and inspiring people to walk the talk.

I work on word of mouth or serendipity, if you have found yourself here it’s probably because you are exactly where you are meant to be; your heart has brought you, listen to it.

My coaching is not for the faint of heart, it is for those who want to wake up and unwrap.

Searching for the heartbeat of your essence is a life-changing experience that peels back everything that has made you what you’ve become, and leaves you with who you are. That is what we will do together…

The simple challenge of living in a world in turmoil can dull that clear-eyed eagerness for becoming everything we can be. The pain of disease, divorce, death, the simple brutality of idle criticism or petty gossip, can teach us to be afraid to fight for our dreams. So we shrink to fit and tell ourselves we are now wise and rational to want so little from life.

From inside that box of our own making we hear the sounds of dreams shattering, we can feel the disappointment, and smell the frustration, and hear the broken bones. Many times we watch others endure bruising defeat, and we reassure ourselves that they just need to grow up; and we ignore the dull ache in our hearts.

But, from inside that box we can’t see the fire in the eyes, or feel the knot in the stomach, or know the delight, the sheer delight in the hearts of those who are fully-engaged in The Grand Quest.

And so I see it this way. I have to see the beauty and I see the possibility in the world, and in you; I have to believe in it.

Anyone can unwrap one step at a time, and in the humble art of becoming is a gentle surrender to be so much more.

So, I take up my passion and walk out into the fray. Far from naive, it’s about as radical as you can get to stay peaceful and kind, and become fully yourself when all around seems both incendiary and crushing.

Come with me – nothing will be the same again.

I love the experience of being with another person in the space of created trust, commitment, and vision. I am constantly amazed at what gets generated when two people talk together, and listen within a space of safety and candor. There is nothing quite like that creation. I love what I do and I love whom I do it with.

Leap of Faith, taken in Lorraine France, Stand AppArt by Melanie GowYour commitment to unwrapping starts here

Minimum Coaching Agreement: 3 hours (approximately one month), £1,000, a free initial consultation followed by three full sessions of an hour. Ongoing coaching is at £250 a session.

All main coaching is done face-to-face in my home in Windsor, or on Skype under applicable circumstances.

To ensure your commitment to yourself I ask you to invest a month’s coaching fees prior to the first session, and they are non-refundable.

I work with most clients from one to three months.

It has been my great privilege to help unwrap a wide variety of extraordinary people. I have worked with individuals as young as 14 and as old as 81. With entrepreneurs, lawyers, celebrities, artists, authors, singers, capitalists, liberalists, socialists, public servants, ministers, middle management, friends, neighbours, dog-lovers, broken-hearted, adventurers, and teens.

If you need medication, see your doctor, if you need therapy, get a good psychologist. If you want get clear, and unwrap, work with me.

If you are interested in working together, please contact me, and please, serious and appropriate enquiries only.

Transformational Listening; Turning Base Interaction Into Precious Golden Insight

Transformational listening is far from being a passive reception of what’s being said, waiting for a turn to speak; it is an active, engaged, and present state. It turns base interaction into precious golden insight into ourselves.

Transformational listening is far from being a passive reception of what’s being said, waiting for a turn to speak; it is an active, engaged, and present state. It turns base interaction into precious golden insight into ourselves.

One Sunday afternoon recently I found myself in a converted stable behind the back of a pub, giving a talk. After all the questions were asked and answered I was privileged to be signing books, and I asked the next person in front of me, a woman my age, if she wanted the book dedicated to anyone?

She stood in silence, looking at me.

The funny thing about silence is that if you hold that space it creates a safe bubble for someone to unfurl. A silence between two people is so much more than a conversation, it is a commitment. A promise of confidentiality. Any conversation that follows is given the same space to be honest.

She said she really wanted the book for her son, who had agreed to walk 100km with her.

“That’s a beautiful thing.” I said, and I meant it.

“The thing is he’s said he would, but I have to choose where we go …” and she talked around her frustration with what she felt to be a lack of commitment from her son, and so it went.

The thing about transformational listening is that it is far from being a passive reception of what’s being said, waiting for a turn to speak; it is an active, engaged, and present state.

Really listening to someone and their intonation, the rhythm of hesitation and fluency, the far from random choices of words, and gestures and inflection is like being gifted a lucid map to their very core.

Any act of speaking is an invitation to someone else, to someone listening, to glimpse the startling, fractal perfection of that person’s raw complexity.

Actually listening is to slowly, gently, form a connection; one that shapes the journey, a journey that can travel deeply in the inner landscapes of another human being.

Until the rhythmic pulse of listening and talking become the same thing; that constant, delicate, intricate throbbing becomes a profound and expanding exposure of life itself.

Transformational Listening becomes an intimate bubble, the most significantly human space, for a magical alchemy; it turns the base interaction into precious golden insight into ourselves.

The woman paused for a minute, looking to me for understanding.

However, I have found, any time we honestly search for answers from within a conversation, simple listening holds a space in which those answers inside ourselves can be heard; in being heard we risk exposure but, in asking we uncover revelation.

This beautiful woman, who made herself vulnerable, realised that actually the answer lay with her.

“My son is waiting for me!”

She said; “He is ready, HE is waiting for ME.”

That was it. She realised, if someone could do 800km, she could do 100km. More importantly she was going to, no excuses.

Mindful Photography Case Study : Andrew

He fell silent as the simple beauty of that sank in and he slowly nodded, as he saw he was accepted he fought back tears.

Mindful Photography Workshop, with Melanie Gow, Norden Farm, September 2015

Mindful photography is all about opening up to the experience of seeing more than focussing on what you’re looking at, and finding yourself in a moment; realising why you notice a particular moment and what it means to you.

By coming to understand the essence of the landscape consciously, and your personal relationship with it, you begin to master your inner landscape.

*Andrew opened the introductions by telling us he and his wife used to do everything together, they rode motorbikes and took a trip all down the west coast of America, and another around Vietnam.

They have been married forever and had two daughters, but she contracted Alzheimers, and then breast cancer. She beat the breast cancer, but of course she’s left with a degenerative memory and diminishing ability to function. Although he fulfils his duty to her care, Andrew described it as a living death with someone who doesn’t know who he is, and “There is nothing left of my wife.”

It was a very powerful outburst. Andrew apologised, and qualified it by saying that if he didn’t say it all then nothing would come out. He was here because he was trying to find a life again, his daughters had told him he had to be more mindful. He had tried to write down what he was grateful for at the end of every day but, he lost interest after three days as he felt; “I have nothing to be grateful for.”

Here was a man who was so closely enmeshed in relationship to someone else, someone he had built his entire adult life around, that he had no clear idea of who he was on his own.

Yet, he had a battle fury in his eyes, and a passion to his frustration that was desperately seeking a way through his darkness. He wanted to get out and feel alive again, find out who he was, but he was tethered by care and unfamiliar with the language of where he found himself.

He was in the class because he discovered his daughters would take over the supervision of their mother for something they approved of, in this case mindfulness, and he needed time for himself.

He still rode his bike, he was wearing his leather jacket covered with the emblems of adventure, the insignia of how far he had travelled with someone else. He carried his helmet, he was early and he reached out to greet me with a clear-eyed eagerness for life. All while he told me, “My old life has no worth now.”

Mixed Media and Printing Taster Day in the Barn at Norden Farm
The barn at Norden Farm taken by me at another time; when I took a multimedia art workshop with artist, Caroline Crawford.

The final exercise of the workshop was to go out and take a photograph that was meaningful right now, that spoke to you personally, and tell its story. Andrew chose a photograph of the exposed, vaulted timber ceiling structure in Norden Farm barn; and he talked of the craftsmanship of the old beam work. It was no surprise that he started out in life as an engineer, he also told us he had a shed full of useless stuff he couldn’t throw away, “but whenever my daughters need something fixing I love solving it with all the bits I’ve got lying around.”

His face burst with a real light as he went on to say he loved finding a purpose for things that seemed useless to others, or repurposing something that was no longer wanted. At this point I reflected back to him that was the same with his old life; it had worth then, and worth now in being repurposed. Just like the old beams that were now being used in the beautiful open roof structure of Norden Farm that he had just photographed.

He fell silent as the simple beauty of that sank in and he slowly nodded, as he saw he was accepted he fought back tears.

He stayed back at the end of class to tell me about a spiritual experience he and his wife had with the Navajo when they were touring America with 27 other Hells Angels. Now fancy that, a Hells Angel having the courage to gently opening himself up and be vulnerable in a teeny Mindful Photography class in Berkshire – and finding everything he was had worth, and what he had to look forward to was finding the new purpose.

* Identities have been changed to rightly protect the privacy of individuals

Travel is the Kintsugi Art of Life, It’s How The Gold Gets In

Travel does more than heal the wounds, it expands you, it’s kintsugi – it’s how the gold gets in.

I have long been fascinated by Kintsugi, meaning “golden joinery”, it is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold and other precious metals. It’s a soothing philosophy of embracing damage and repair, and making something more beautiful for having been broken.

When I was asked to write a piece for Wanderlust about travelling with my children across America in response to my father dying, I thought of travel as the Kintsugi art of life.

People travel not so much to get away as to come home, to themselves. In the slipstream of the unknown you become aware of every detail, in the intense ferment of new stimulation you awaken, and in being flayed by the tumult of unfamiliar all that has made you who you have become is stripped away to reveal who you are, flaws, and defacement, and scars and all.

For us, from LA to New York over seven weeks, the gold dust added to the restorative sap of wandering, the flecks of pure ore, were the people we met; in a random, chance encounter you feel the touch of humanity, in the hand that is extended grows trust, in a stranger’s smile is acceptance.

I carried all the broken pieces of myself outside and held them out to America wordlessly, and the serendipity, generosity and kindness on the road taught us that nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. And, we were still OK.

Travel does more than heal the wounds, it expands you, it’s kintsugi – it’s how the gold gets in.

Almost as if we need to break in order to expand. Then this gorgeous sculpture by British artist, Paige Bradley, whispered its message of expansion from the deep reaches of my memory. Paige Bradley broke a wax sculpture she spent 6 months making, cast the broken pieces in bronze, then reassembled them with a lighting engineer to produce this startling sculpture; with a hint of Kintsugi light shining through the cracks.

She says, “I want to advocate healing and empowerment for people around the world. I want my art to be a forceful voice to help those who suffer from illness, repression or exploitation. My sculptures express a depth and variety of the physical, emotional and spiritual that we search for as a human race. Simultaneously, I want to provoke us to feel painful truths we keep bottled up inside. I want us to remember we are all the same. And, it is this understanding that can heal us all.”

And so I wrote this month’s piece .. please go and read my article on Wanderlust here

Please see this work, Expansion, on Paige Bradley’s website

“From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: A social security number, a gender, a race, a profession or an I.Q. I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in, rather than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies? Would we still be able to exist if we were authentically ‘un-contained’?

“Art is not entertainment. Art is not luxury goods. Art is culture. It is you and me.”  – Paige Bradley

A Park Bench Meditation

Every day we are part of a miracle, the little things that are so easy to overlook, yet so awe inspiring when we take a moment to notice them with the wisdom of a child.

A Park Bench Meditation

On the way to somewhere today I paused and this is where I found myself…sit with me awhile in the colours of an English Autumn and let us just be.

There is a little phenomenon I happened upon this week, called Park Bench Meditation. A bench is a place where you can expect to sit for a moment, catching your breath.

The idea is that you find a bench on any given day, take a seat and, well, meditate; but, this is an ordinary and realistic meditation, almost in parenthesis. The most important thing is to decide to sit awhile and let go; put aside the phone, take no book or newspaper, no sandwich and a bag of crisps, have nothing to distract you, settle and simply let your body become heavy. Then breathe, and allow the surroundings to carry your attention without much focus; if something takes your attention notice it, and then let it go.

Every day we are part of a miracle, the little things that are so easy to overlook, yet so awe inspiring when we take a moment to notice them with the wisdom of a child.

It doesn’t have to be in a park, it will work just as well on a street and it doesn’t have to be a bench, it can be a handy rock or a stairway, just take a seat, put away the distractions, breath and let go; ten minutes will change your day.