Life as a photographer fills me with nothing but purpose. So much thought goes into a single shot -- from the type of film I choose to load into my camera, to the composition of the image, to the light and shadows, or even to how quickly I want to freeze a moment or maybe just let it slide by as a slight blur in my frame. It all has a crucial function (of course, happy accidents do happen on occasion -- and I embrace them!).

I see almost everything as a photograph. I aim to take photos of emotions and experiences more than poses, because I cannot ever quite grasp what the intention of a forced pose is. And every part of the images I make, both before and after I press the shutter, have purpose. This sort of conscious existence has no choice but to bleed into the rest of my everyday life.

"Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying." - Amelia Earhart

The way I spend my days, my hours. What I choose to consume. The activities I take part in with my children. What types of personal projects I take on for artistic expression. The dates I go on with my husband. How we decorate our home. The friends we surround ourself with. Where we dream about traveling. All of this is the way I "compose" my life, if you will. The way I balance the dark and the light -- because life most certainly has a healthy mixture of both.

Of course some days the intention slips by the wayside, because sometimes I just want to turn my brain off for a little while and simply exist without constant thought. But when you are a recovering Type-A personality like myself, it can be both a blessing and a curse to constantly make choices filled with purpose and intent. To constantly make pro/con lists and weigh your options. To endlessly try to figure out what the "right" path is, can be exhausting on occasion.

All of this is the way I "compose" my life, if you will. The way I balance the dark and the light -- because life most certainly has a healthy mixture of both.

So what is the answer to living mindfully and intentionally without wearing yourself out? A wise friend once said, "Be where you are."

Whether that means swinging on a hammock and simply enjoying the breeze. Or sitting on your porch and watching the cars pass by. Or maybe writing in your journal. Or playing with your kids. Or having dinner with your significant other. Catching up with old friends. Yoga. Making art. Wine tasting. Reading a book. Even taking a photograph.

Whatever it is you have chosen to do with any given precious moment of your day, be where you are. Choose to give your full attention to that one thing, and soak in every ounce of its beauty and the freedom you had to make that choice.

Be where you are.

___________________________________

Lea Ciceraro is a photographer, writer, wife of an artist, mama to three amazing kiddos, Childhood Apraxia of Speech advocate, parent of two rescue dogs, music loving, vintage adoring, local farmers' market supporting, film photography addicted, wanderluster, lover of life. She takes leaps of faith when she feels a burning passion for a dream that just won't quit, and tries to always live without regret. Life is too short to not do what makes you happy or strive to be the best version of yourself. Check out her website and find her photography on Instagram and Facebook.

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