There is light and then there is light~ Lebanon

My absolute favorite time to practice photography in Lebanon is the magical summer sunset. The sun takes its time and teasingly threatens to sink in the blue Mediterranean Sea ever so slowly whilst tossing beautiful colors of pastel into the Western Lebanese sky. Every day is a new performance, breathtaking, calming, inspiring and beautiful.

The gift that keeps on giving~

top of the world~_

When you have your first child you become privy to the most well guarded secret: you have just signed on for the most important and permanent job of your life. It looks so easy. Everyone does it. Our parents did it. Our friends and neighbors seem to do it. And then your child arrives! I used to hold important job after job before having my child, each with a heavy series of responsibilities, but I dove into them armed with the knowing in the back of my mind that I can just quit when I choose to. Then came the parenting job, and I realized that this is one job I can never quit!

I would not exchange this job for any other in the world because it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Day 58 of 365~

Image taken of my 8 year old daughter overlooking the valley of the saints in Lebanon, 2012

In distant dreams~

in distant dreams~_

I was going through my archives of hundreds of thousands of photographs as one often does, when I came across this image of my daughter when she was 4 years old running through the cedars of Lebanon and it made me catch my breath. She is now 13, and time has tricked us all again. How relentless it is, never pausing, never letting us catch our breath. It is always later than we think, isn’t it? So many unrealized intentions, how does one keep up with life, or should we at all?

Pausing and dreaming today in the moment of what was, what is and what will be…

Day 57 of 365~

Image taken in the cedars of God forest in Lebanon in 2008

Taking your spirit for a walk~

I remember as a child getting very excited about the occasional long walks we took to our favorite monastery pocketed in the heart of the Lebanese mountain overlooking the valley of the saints. We walked for hours and felt the importance of our pilgrimage with every dusty step. It says so much about pilgrimages and the necessity of removing oneself from a current situation to meet new requirements for personal development. Walking up the mountain dictated a baggage free walk and a sense of lightness and freedom that only comes from surrender to a higher cause.

I look back with so much endearment to those days, the time of innocence and magic.

Day 47 of 365~

Image taken of a young monk Myanmar during my trip there last year.

Searching for home~

searching for home~ Edinburgh

searching for home~ Edinburgh

Ask me where I am from, where home is, and I find myself thinking before I answer you. This is the case for so many of us these days. We come from mixed race marriages, we leave our home countries, we live in a new place, we move again, we marry from yet another country and our children are left with a number of origins to choose from and call home. Recently someone asked my 7 year old niece where she was from, and she answered: “I am a Swiss/Lebanese/New Zealander and I live in UAE”, whereas my 9 year old daughter is a German/American/Lebanese who lives in China. Is this the face of new world citizenship and the age of planetary close connections and integration? I wonder…

Life course interrupted~ Syrian refugee

Syrian refugee in North Lebanon

Syrian refugee in North Lebanon

As the west prepares to launch a missile attack on Syria in the coming days, the innocent children find themselves caught in the games of warring adults having no say as to where their life will be taking them next. More than 4000 Syrians are seeking refuge daily in Lebanon, where they make a staggering 35% of the Lebanese population today. A ticking bomb in a fragile zone, heart breaking and unfair in so many ways. If the children are the hope for our future, why are we endangering that chance?

Old? I’m not old!!

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I once met a 90 year old artist during a conference I attended in Colorado, a beautiful lady in every way. I remember looking at her after speaking for a while about her art, passion and love of life, and I asked : “how does it feel being so old?”

I never forget the surprise in her eyes when she answered: “old? I am not old!!”

She explained that every day when she looks in the mirror she is shocked again and again at the body looking back at her and that she finds her young spirit inhabiting. She said inside she is just the same person who fell in love for the first time, who learned how to swim, ride the bicycle, who enjoyed eating ice cream, reading books, painting, running…

And she was so right… Don’t we all feel that same thing in the moments when we don’t let ourselves surrender to the gloom and fear of getting old? Inside each one of us is a child who still wants to live, love and marvel at the world around us if we let it.

I love it so much when people make a strong enough impression on us to make us remember them for the rest of our lives.

Thank you beautiful 90 young lady, who would be 115 now, roaming around the universe smiling, living, loving and giggling…

Delivering Maria’s special coaching message in Lebanon

Maria receiving her special sketch book with drawing from Mark Siegel

Following my recent blog : http://mimokhair.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/a-message-in-art-for-maria, I had the great chance of meeting Maria Antouri again in her summer residence in beatiful village of  Faitroun in the Lebanese mountains. Maria and her mother received us and were totally thrilled at seeing the letter from Mark especially the drawing that he made of Maria in her sketch book. For me it was such a pleasure seeing Maria after one year has passed, to see her growth, the growth of her art and to be able to return to her with the special message on her journey in art.

The most special moment was when her mother Marina was reading the note to her and was so moved by the message that tears poured out of her eyes. It was a pure moment of value and sincere emotion that I was so lucky to witness. I had so wished that Mark could have been there in person to see the influence of his words and his genuine encouragement to young artists and to art. Maria and Mirna were also wishing they could meet him soon. One day it will happen!

Maria was proud to show me her new work over the last year that she did as and when she could between school assignments.

a recent drawing by Maria

Here is a link to the gallery of the meeting with Maria and photos of her recent artwork:

http://gallery.me.com/mimokhair#100713

For art, with art, in art, because of art…