Sometimes the world feels so vast, it’s people too many and the weight of it to heavy to bear. At those moments, and if you were a person that enjoys their own company with the endless mazes ripe with possibilities of self discovery, then the obvious result would be a self engineered containment. It can have the color of your own choosing, a palace on a hill or a hut on a beach, butterflies in its gardens or pebbles on its beach, the choices are endless.
So, I travel in my mind to my own palace of containment, letting my mind chart the journey and my spirit project the destinations.
an image of me meeting a local woman and child, taken by a good friend on an adventure in Yangshuo, China, a few years back.
How gratifying it is to explore the spinning sphere we call home. Each time I plan a new trip, I feel a bubbling of excitement at the unknown that would undoubtedly meet, the amazing people who cross my path and the images my camera would capture. It is as soul nourishing journey when I am far from my routine, away from the usual comforts of home and when I get the chance to push the limits of what I know. It makes me think of how knowledge was collected prior to the industrial revolution and the schooling systems that created machines for the industry; before that time knowledge was sought through experience, apprenticeship and exploration. What an incredibly esoteric experience.
This morning I was driving my daughter to her weekend Chinese class and we had a very interesting conversation. She was complaining about her inability to always find interest in continuing to learn Chinese whilst living in Germany and this took us to musings about the human brain and how we, humans have so much unused potential. It has been said that humans only use 10% of the brain capacity and once we push and struggle to learn new things, we are perhaps activating otherwise dormant wirings in our brain and faculties. She became very interested in the process and walked to the class with a spring in her step.
Day 68 of 365~
image is a composite of a wall in Hong Kong and a closeup portrait of my daughter.
Possessions: What do we really, truly possess? We think of possessions as things we plan and hope on keeping permanently, and the more we have the more we want to collect. But in the end, does it really matter? Maybe we can call them temporary belongings, because that is all they are. When we leave this place, the only possessions we are allowed to cary are the immaterial ones. How much love did we invest, how much care did we give and get, and how much goodness lived in us? Maybe these are the fuels that will be needed in our onwards journey into the next destination if there is one.
Day 65 of 365~
image is a composite of a bird I watched this week and an old portrait of my daughter.
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
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
When you love photography and have the tugging urge to travel the world and see as many humans as you can, you end up staring into so many different faces. Some of these faces are simply unforgettable. This girl had a strength of spirit that radiated out of her as she stood there defiantly and curiously questioning the stranger in her village. She stood her ground and all I could do was smile in awe.
Over time I have come to believe that the simpler life is a secret key to satisfaction of the right kind. We often feel overwhelmed with our lives, with our possessions and the responsibilities that accumulate as an aftereffect of these possessions and where do we run to? A beach, a forest, a long walk, or a meditation. They say hard work is the best remedy for an idle and restless mind, and maybe something in our design needs us to be busy and rewards us with happiness.
This beautiful girl was walking along the village road with a sack of small rocks on her head that she was taking home for a small building project. I followed her for a while till she caught on and turned around and gave me this dazzling smile followed by shy giggles. I was in the presence of pure and uncomplicated happiness.
Land has this mysterious way of pulling at your soul, of beckoning you home, and for our young daughter, this land is Germany.
The longer we expatriate in China, the mightier that tug. She dreams of the family, the colors, the fresh air, the sounds and smells of a land she feels a strong belonging to despite the fact that she only lived there the first 2 years of her life. But our planet is strange that way, isn’t it?
Her dream will come true, at least for a few weeks starting tomorrow as we head west and our lungs rejoice!