the unrelenting ghost of yesterday
to rise above the level of lost
destiny waits for no one
back to basics
holding up the sky
preparing for a clean slate
the spirit of winter
things can only look up from down here
memories laced with teardrops
juggling life and its twists and turns
those hands of fate
Sometimes life invites us into a brief interlude between the folds of time. There we see beyond the obvious, we feel more deeply and we re-evaluate our lives and where our importances lie. The past month has been just such a life changing happening and as I emerge trying to find the end of a thread I let go of, I find that a whole new selection of threads present themselves to me. I pray that I may choose wisely where to get back on the train we call destiny.
Photographs taken during the past month in Germany, Lebanon and China
More images on my instagram feed
We find ourselves on a planet of duality; where there is day, there is also night; we wake up only to then sleep; we feel happiness only to be followed by sadness; and where there is life, there most certainly will be death.
And we feel that life is sometimes unfair, unjust and we wonder why the timings are all wrong and the big question rises in us: “what if?”. We desperately try to reverse time, to wish we had taken one step differently, that we had made a different decision, and it leaves us wondering if destiny is pre-written. We turn to religion for answers, we question our creator, we get desperately angry, then we sink into a bottomless pit of sadness, only to surrender and then move on trying to lift our head high and catch the thread of life we tossed to the side when tragedy met us.
And looking back at my posts from the week before my beautiful young brother died in his tragic accident, there were most definitely subtle signs to prepare me for this. The titles and natures of my images spoke volumes to me before the event.
“It’s later than you think” whispered the ghost of tomorrows lost~
“our fragile strengths”
This post is in honor of George Kheir, my departed young brother, a wonderfully warm, humorous, bursting with life and generous man who left a kind and beautiful family behind. May his soul rest in peace and go to where it was destined to be.
The ones we connect with~ Shanghai
On a planet of over 7 billion people, we end up connecting with a minute fraction of humans throughout our lives. The parents we are born to, the family around us, the friends we make at school, the spouses we end up with and a handful of others along the way. Is any of it destined? Do events lead us to meet who we were meant to meet or is it all random? Do certain people sing our tune? Is chemistry involved? Are there invisible silver threads between us and a few others?
Another piece fo the fascinating puzzle we call human life…
along the yellow line~ Seoul
I remember walking as a very young child in our small mountain village in Lebanon, and just as I passed the old movie theater that used to only play Indian tragedies, an English word popped in my head. At that time, English was quite foreign to me and my vocabulary was extremely limited, yet somehow an adult word appeared: “determined”. I never forgot that word and I only learned its meaning years later as a teenager. It was one of those strange life moments that are very difficult to explain. This little story brings me back always to ‘the way’, and for me there is a way that I know I need to follow if I listen carefully to the same nudging that introduced the word “determined” to me. And as with all good things, the way is never the easy one…
the walk of selective focus~ Duesseldorf~ Germany
In our now, every event that happens seems to be of vital importance, every step we take, every little thing we see, every person we meet, all that we touch, smell, come across; but then we move into our future and most of these small significances begin to slowly blur into oblivion. What we are left with are very few salient moments that remain vivid in our minds and hearts for so many different reasons. But what lies hidden in the blur carries so much significance. It may lay dormant in our unconscious, but it is very much part of who and what we are today isn’t it?
no it is not~Dayangjie~ Yunnan
We may all be human, but our lots are not the same and nor are our destinies. The more people I meet, the further I travel, I realize that life does not deal us all the same cards. Isn’t humanity knowing this and having compassion for those who have less?
early morning on a Hanoi pavement
It has been a challenge to keep the daily posts on time during this trip. Arrived in Beirut on July 5th to find a national internet power down, so here, doing the best I can.
One of the great struggles a street photographer has while walking in a new city is trying not to be overwhelmed by the flood of new impressions. In a city like Hanoi, you see so much that you wish to capture and in some cases too much of a good thing has its adverse effects. At times like this, I just stop, slow down and look around with my eyes quietly to let them lead me to my next shot. I was very much caught by this woman at the early morning hours as she set up her portable fruit stand on the pavement and was getting herself ready for her day’s work. I reflected on her life and how in this life we had different lots, different destinies, and I wonder at all the events that caused things to be this way…
Ka (ancient wooden statue with out-stretched set of arms above the head at the Cairo museum)
While searching and researching inside the realms of Ancient Egypt, the unseen comes into focus as the seen gradually gets blurred…
The ancient Egyptians believed that each person hosted in themselves a double, an electrical entity that ushered and guided them towards their true destiny. They called it the Ka. Their Ka was to live beyond the death of their physical bodies and mummifications served as preparations for homes that the Ka would one day return to inhabit.
Their lives were lived in great discipline as to remain pure and adhere to purpose because any deviation from purpose was an abomination of the Ka.
What was most haunting for me standing in front of this statue was the look in its eyes. It was the kind of look that can take you on a journey, far beyond where you would normally be.
fall and float
What about this word destiny? Some believe it is already written, others are determined on rewriting it, some dismiss it completely and believe all is a haphazard series of coincidences… But aren’t we always changing the course of our destiny through actions we make and decisions we take? Isn’t blaming things on our destiny or our luck another way of abdicating from our responsibilities? How much of our lives are we directly responsible for and what part of them do we just allow ourselves to ‘go with the flow’ and just float inertly by. Going against the current, swimming upstream, creating a new path where no one has been before, isn’t that what humans where created for?
evening ponders on an unusually warm night in Shanghai
the little stranger
I like to picture my life since birth graphically as a line drawn on a globe almost like a dot on a GPS system if you want. The line starts the day I was born in the Asian continent in a small country called Lebanon and then that line goes on curving here and there, small segments at first, then they getting longer, crossing borders of countries, winding and sometimes going back to the same places and the whole time crossing with other lines of other humans. Sometimes it aligns and moves parallel to another line, like when I took walks with someone, and then splitting off to a new direction upon leaving them. And we meet so many strangers on our journey through life, some we just pass by, others we choose to be with for longer periods, and some strangers for some unknown reason, make us stop. It feels as though an exchange is meant to be had, a brief eye contact, a word, a moment shared and in my case a photo captured. And then we move on. This girl on a pavement in Shanghai just made me stop and the moment was destined to be captured and archived in my mind as very special.