Sally Drew is the co-facilitator for the visual journaling workshop, Once Upon a Time: Your Photographs have Stories to Tell. I first met her online when she posted her original Magical Seeing exercise on a different blog. I was fascinated by her process and we began conversing. This exercise is one we introduce in Session 2 of the workshop – Exploring Meaning and Heart in your Photographs. I hope that you’ll take Sally’s invitation to try the exercise and post your response here.


An invitation to Wander, led by Wonder, filled with Awe …

In Kim’s book, Adventures in Seeing: The Camera Teaches You How to Pause, Focus and Connect with Life, Kim reflects that “We can learn to see below the surface of our lives and connect in a much deeper way.” I have experienced this with my camera; for me, it’s a beautiful conduit through which my Imagination and Intuition take the lead and my mind, heart and soul willingly follow. I have come to call this experience Magical Seeing and I invite you to wander through a quick demonstration of this process with me.

The ‘magical’ part of Magical Seeing begins by stepping into Mindfulness and Presence; BEing in the moment fully, open to and ready to take in all that is around you, with no judgement, no expectation, no need to identify, define, interpret. I always look forward to time spent with my camera; it is an adventure every time.

Before we begin, please keep the following in mind: Imagination and Intuition speaks to us using the language of symbols, metaphor, emotion, memory, sight, smell, sound, insight. We explore this more deeply in the Once Upon a Time: Photographs Have Stories To Tell workshop (Session 2) – for now, imagine and feel your way through this exercise; we’ll engage the mind later.

With pen in hand and something upon which to write your impressions, look at the photograph below. Answer the questions that follow and also make note of anything else you feel or imagine while wandering through the photograph.


  • What captures your attention?
  • Are your eyes drawn to anything in particular? If so, what? Describe what pulls you there.
  • Did a memory drift into your awareness? Describe it.
  • Did a song play in your head? A scent waft up out of nowhere? A feeling or thought fill your head? Capture it all.
  • Finally, on the page you are using to hold your words as you explore this photograph, write a question or situation you’ve been pondering, wondering about, struggling with, or seeking guidance on.

Share what you are comfortable sharing in the comment stream below. A format that works for me is this:

1. My impressions of, and reactions to this photograph (your answers to the questions above)

2. My question/challenge (the one you’ve been pondering, wondering about, struggling with)

3. Gathering the clues (review your impressions and reactions – what do you make of what you now see?)

4. The story this photograph told to me (put it all together – what message does this photograph hold for you?)

I have included my impressions/reactions to this photograph, and my question/challenge, in the comment stream below. I will share my Clue Gathering and the Story I Was Told after others have had a chance to participate in the exercise.

Kim and I will be checking in, and we will respond to any questions you may have, and to what you share, from an intuitive place; we’ll follow your vision and experience of the photograph and will share anything else we may see that may add value to your story.

Okay, are you ready? Let’s go …


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