• July 31, 2022

Content-conscious stuffing for the soul

Maria lost her voice. Patrice lost her freedom. Ken lost his legs.

At some point in our lives we will all experience loss of one kind or another. We may lose a friend or two as we progress through elementary school. We can lose a love in our adolescence. Our pets can die or run away. 50% of marriages end in divorce.

Some of us may experience the heartbreaking loss of a child through illness, accident, or war. Most of us will have to get over the loss of our parents. We can lose our job.

How do we fill the void?

How do we make the emptiness disappear?

How do we reassemble the pieces of our life so that everything makes sense again?

Hurts. How do we stop the bread?

We have all heard the expression that nature abhors a vacuum. Weeds are a perfect example. Cultivate some plot in your garden for flowers or vegetables. As soon as that empty space starts to fill up. Not with the flowers or vegetables you planted, but with the weeds. This is nature looking to fill the void.

An empty table or counter in your home is the most attractive magnet for anything in your hand that you need to put down. Does anyone have a half empty closet?

Nature wants us to be full too. That feeling of inner emptiness is the way nature produces us. Our souls and hearts were meant to be full. Many times the loss becomes a blessing in disguise. The loss was really nature’s way of calling us to greater wholeness. His way of replacing something inappropriate with something more appropriate to our potential.

However, we often cannot see beyond the pain. All we feel is pain. But as we begin to rebuild our lives, we are drawn to this greater potential. Sometimes we may feel the need to do more or to be more. Sometimes we are guided by forces that we do not understand or of which we are not aware.

While it may seem like it takes forever, eventually our emptiness is filled. Although we will never forget the loss, it becomes part of the new you. But does it have to take that long? Is there a faster way to fill the gap?

Oddly enough, Adobe may have inadvertently found the solution in its latest version of Photoshop, CS5.

One of these great new options in this photo editing software is a feature called “Content Aware Fill”. This feature lets you crop, erase, or remove any part of your photo, and then Photoshop goes to work filling that area with new information calculated from the surrounding pixels.

Before “Content Aware Fill”, the photo editor would have to fill that gap manually, piece by piece by cloning pixels from the remaining photo or replacing them entirely with some piece of another photo. Editing the old fashioned way could take hours. With “Content Aware Fill” that time could be reduced to just a few seconds.

That’s great for filling the void in photos, but how does that relate to the void in our lives?

Simply, we must do what the Photoshop program does. We must look at the parts of our lives that surround emptiness, loss, and see what information is most relevant, most important to us. We must look at all the interests that make up our life and grab pieces of it to start rebuilding.

During such a crisis in our life it is natural to focus on the loss, on the emptiness. To rebuild we must shift our focus to what is left, to the entire portions of our life. It will happen eventually, but we can make it happen faster.

In my studies, I have seen countless examples where photography has been used to speed recovery time for lost people. Marcia used photography to radically change her life after completely losing her voice due to surgical complications. Patrice used photography to restore freedom to her life after she was called to care for her invalid brother. Ken used photography to alleviate chronic pain and boredom after losing the use of his legs in the line of duty. Many people have used photography as therapy after divorce.

Photography forces you to change your focus and start seeing the infinite beauty in all the wonders of this world. You’re naturally drawn to photographing the things you love when you start out, so it’s easy to forget your problems. Your emptiness begins to fill with beauty. You smile a lot.

Photography is the “content-conscious stuffing” of life.

To become whole again, to become more of who you are, you must do something. You must take action. Photography is perfect because it is simple. Everyone can take a picture. Some better than others, but we can all do it. The more you get involved, the more focused you become. You focus on the good and the beautiful.

Photography forces you to get up and go. It forces you to do something different. As a reward for taking action, you’ll see things you’ve never seen before. You will meet wonderful people that you have never met before. Right next to what you love there is more; and that is your Content Aware Fill.

When you need a new view, remember that your camera already has a viewfinder. Why not use it to see all the beauty you’ve been missing? Use your camera to quickly fill the void.

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