Catch and Release {Why I Love Instagram}

One of the most important spiritual exercises we can do, is to practice a conscious gratitude for momentary gifts, without the need to "own" or hold onto those gifts.

If our sense of God and of life is one of scarcity, then we feel jealous of others gifts. We compete, because deep down we feel there is a limited supply of happy, and if someone else has more, that means we have less, and we are driven to prove our own value. Scarcity mentality motivates us to cling to people, things, and experiences as though that little bit of joy might be the last we are allowed to experience until next week...or next year.

An abundance mindset blesses us with the feeling that, at any moment, the little floater of our awareness, bobbing on the surface of our consciousness, is going to tell us that we are getting a nibble of joy...

...and the tug of the nibble often means that there is a big fat benediction on the hook...a Great Grace...this Present Moment...and we get to reel it right in.

And when we land it, when we pull it in, alive and gyrating, we don't have to kill the Present Moment by hanging onto it forever, trying to make it last and last.

On the contrary. Like all good fisherman, we can catch, kiss, and gently release. Because there are many, many more precious and present moments in this ocean of life.

Because the sweetness is in the catching, not the keeping.

This is why history's most joyful saints didn't have big houses or well wadded bank accounts. They didn't live lavishly. Their awareness of true riches made them gather wild flowers, good books, and good friends. They needed no tangible memento - they could catch and release, knowing they would pick flowers, read, and have coffee again with a friend tomorrow. Their God daily loaded them with benefits, and they lived like this is true.

I think those old saints and monks would have loved my iPhone.

I use my iPhone as my fishing pole - my tool for my catch and release lifestyle of joy. When something touches me, I reel that moment right in, "kiss" it, and release it with each push of the "share" button. Some days there are just. so. many. fish. (Hypothetically.) Other days, I might reel in only one or two. But you can be certain I am taking joy just watching for the first nibble of beauty.

You may have a practice of mindful catch-and-release gratitude like mine. I love to invite Jesus Christ to walk with me, from the beginning of the day to my present moment in a chronological meander...picture by picture by picture. Or I may find Christ inviting me to linger with him over specific moments or feelings or thoughts from the day.

These images were the special moments in the day when I felt His smile in some small thing, or felt a twinge of something that made me catch the Present Moment and reel it in for closer examination.

I find it such an art, to catch and release those milliseconds of grace, knowing...trusting...that this life of mine is brim-ful of benefit. I exist, drenched in His overflow. I have His life in me, and that life is exuberant and knows but one way: "increase - no end."

And so yes, I grab my phone and snap the image and release it back into the ocean of His grace. I then cast my hook and wait to feel the next nibble of happiness.

This whole spinning earth is full of His glory. I need not cling or claim ownership of any experience, person, or thing. There is way more where that bit of joy came from, and heaven is forever.

Visit me over on Instagram (user name is SheilaAtchleyDesigns)? Join me in my daily meditation practice of "catch and release"? (See live Instagram Invitation link to the right sidebar.)

Grace and Peace,

Sheila Atchley

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