Newcastle Photographer and Content Creator, Mandy Charlton, Always on a quest for adventure, often seen on buses, trains and planes. On a quest to be happier and healthier. Lives in Newcastle with her 3 cats, Iris, Maggie and Arthur. Loves good vibes, musicals and cakes. Full time professional wedding photographer in the north east of england alongside content creator on Tiktok, Instagram and Facebook

Friday, May 31, 2019

Just slow down...

An Allium, living the mindful life, just slow down, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger
Since January, in life and work, I've been slowing down, trying to live life slower, at a more gentle pace, I have been reminding myself, "Mandy, just slow down".

You see, in life and work, I'm not naturally slow, I move fast, I live life at 100 miles an hour, I want to progress, I have no patience (with the exception of photographing children).  I have been guilty of wanting everything and wanting it now and in business, that's a dangerous place to be.  You cannot, after all, be the same place in a 2-year-old business as you are in a 12-year-old business and it's dangerous to try and do so.  Travelling at the speed of light is counter-intuitive, as Ferris Bueller said "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"

Business in the slow lane

I suppose it started last November really, I found myself plummeting towards yet another Christmas wanting the tree to be up, the house to be twinkling and life to be better, I'd launched a membership element into my second company and it wasn't working because I took no time to research or find out what it was that my members wanted.  So after several mental health touch points and crises where I would run away to escape the things I couldn't deal with, I cancelled everything.  I told everyone who'd joined that I was stopping their payments, I had let them down but I would make it up to them.

By the time I got to Christmas, I found myself in the slump of depression, Christmas Day was a write-off and by the time I got to the 28th I'd taken my tree down wanting life to just go back to normal.  Something happened though, first I started "Hinching" clearing and cleaning everything in sight, I decluttered so much that it took many weeks of piles of rubbish in my garden which finally, with the help of friends made it to the local tip.

In my work, I started really trying to help people, my mission changed, it was no longer about being successful, it was about being the best I could be, helping as many people, nurturing and finding out what it was that women in business struggle with.  I redesigned the membership with the help of wonderful, positive, intuitive people and when we re-launched, it went better than expected, in fact, today we're approaching 150 members in less than 2 months.  That might seem fast, but it's not really, it was just right, how do I know?  Several of the people I told to stay as members who I felt I'd let down, those wonderful women, joined the new membership package, they didn't need to but they felt nurtured and valued enough to do that.
ambling in the countryside, living the slow life, just slow down, mandy charlton, photographer, writer, blogger

Living the slow life

With business going well in a mindful and slow way I tackled the same things in my personal life, I can't remember the last time I worried about being single and as you know, if you read regularly, my sole purpose in life has been to transform my garden and my life by spending more time outdoors, amongst nature.  Now, not everything I touch has turned green, the slugs and snails are literally ravaging my potatoes and my mange tout are in crisis after being strangled by a very overzealous Japanese Anemone.  Most things though are growing well and I've already eaten the rocket that I've grown.  My peas are fairing much better than their cousins and I have spinach which is ready for harvest.
family adventure session, slow portraiture, chopwell wood, mandy charlton photography, blogger, writer

Spending time in the garden has taught me the joy of the slow life, business has bumbled along happily without me feeling the need to go and shoot a million photo shoots, it's slowed down so much that now I'm trying to encourage my clients to do the same, to take more time, to see the joy in the quality of photography done slowly, you cannot achieve the same results with 10 back to back 15 minute sessions as you can with one 100 minute family adventure photo shoot.

When you learn to appreciate the life cycles of plants and you enjoy each and every stage, then truly, you are living a more mindful life.  To live a life of purpose is a joy which I have perhaps discovered late in life but I truly appreciate this lesson that life has given me.  For the first time, I have no want to escape because I'm just happy to be where I am.  Don't get me wrong, I still want that caravan retreat by the sea but for the right reasons, I'm not trying to find somewhere to escape from life to, I want somewhere I can go and continue to enjoy that slow pace of life.  Somewhere to sit on a quiet beach, to listen to the waves crash on the shore.  To take in sunsets and occasionally see the sunrise without wondering what we should do for lunch or dinner.

Living  a life with purpose is loving life, stopping to sit and watch the family of starlings who noisily come and feed at my bird feeder, watching the tiny great tits take happy baths in my bird bath, that's the real joy in life as William Henry Davis wrote, in his poem, "Leisure" "What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stop and stare"


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