There is a deep difference between a goal and a purpose, and I think I just got it now. Setting off for a short break in Malin Head I had a very simple goal to seek wonderful photographic opportunities in a place I’ve never seen before.
Indeed I was hit by plentiful photographic chances right away from the tip of Trawbreaga bay. From overlapping layers of hills and cliffs to deep clouds clusters.
It felt like being a kid in front the most amazing amusement park ever, my attention constantly split and distracted by different views and interesting settings and associated with that the pressure of wanting to take beautiful pictures spilled into a frenzy of options: which lens, which camera, which settings, tripod or no tripos? where will I set it up…
I had a very simple goal for the week-end, yet the desire for achieving that goal turned into restlessness and confusion. I could have just run around the place shooting at anything and everything regardless of what sort of picture I was taking, and I kind of did that to begin with, yet it didn’t feel right.
Every time I stopped at a suggested view-point, car after car stopped and groups of people descended and did exactly what I did took picture of what was in front of them, there is nothing wrong with that but it all felt like being a “consumer” taking in whatever beauty the place has to offer without really contributing anything meaningful to it, just like ticking a daily work schedule, check box by check box.
It didn’t feel fulfilling it felt tiring and draining, it wasn’t the experience I was looking for at all.
It was time to stop and began to apply what I learned last week about mindfulness, let myself be absorbed by the surrounding, let myself be drawn by the “Lagg Chapel standing watch at the head of the bay protecting everything in its view.
Or venturing out-of-bounds, on the edge of the cliffs, discovering thriving patches of ordinarily lonely Thrift (Armeria Maritima).
As I started paying attention to the story I discovered it’s not about what I like or dislike, neither about what I love or hate, when I connect with the world everything becomes clearer and has a deeper meaning.
When I connect with the world, I can tell a story that can be told by others to others. It’s not a just about “consuming” the beauty of a place but is about adding to its history.
It all reminds me of the work I do, often the focus is on achieving specific goals and outcomes, not much different from what many of us do at work, it is all about developing opportunities to generate some form of economic sustainability.
This is well and good, yet while achieving goals and outcomes give us confidence it leaves us empty, when we connect with the purpose of our work we can truly understand its meaning we can still achieve goals and we can do so while growing stronger and fulfil our existence in the world.
When we connect with the purpose of our work we become humans we can understand each other and the significance of the world we live in…