Today my thoughts wander around the subject of intactness. What does it mean to be intact? How vulnerable do we allow ourselves to be with the onset of change? How does one become intact? Is it a permanent state or something we need to keep working towards in our personal development?
All these ponders take be back to the importance of reconnecting to the very basics, like the truth and meaning of life. Why are we here? What are we meant to be doing? What are we supposed to be collecting in our lives? And what do we leave behind as a legacy?
One thing is for sure: we are born alone and we die alone, so relationships matter and clean human interaction is vital during our short lives here on this unbelievably unbalanced planet.
This morning feels like a strong sense of new possibilities is here, something that never happened before wants to happen, and the invitation is there to be with it and help it exist.
I think that being human on the planet is the best and worst of all. I say that because every single moment we are given the gift of choice. Only us humans can create, can choose to be good or bad, to create or destroy, to fulfil our destiny or to abdicate all responsibilities and hide behind our screens.
At every split second we can decide what parcel of the future laid out behind us we want to open and set free. Do we step right or left? do we help someone or let them suffer? Do we act in the best of all our society, or just act for own self interest? Do we think of the planet, or only of our personal life on it? The list goes on.
Are we alone deciders or lost drifters on an ocean of forgetfulness? So I am taking time consciously today to choose…
If you celebrate Christmas, you must be counting down at this point to the event next Friday. Here in Germany, some of the cities like Duesseldorf are lucky to have their Christmas markets still open despite the rising Covid-19 numbers, but with restrictions.
At this point the change and strangeness of the pandemic can no longer be denied or ignored by anyone. Masked faces are becoming the new normal and we are learning to read faces from the expressions in the eyes. A city of masked super heroes who keep on going towards the holidays armed with hope, the will to live, the love of joy and being with family and friends.
The resilience of humans feels like an encoded gift in our genetic makeup. We somehow seem to adapt and keep finding the beauty in life despite the circumstances. History is filled with examples of this and it just makes me smile.
Enjoy the countdown and let’s see what this new year is bringing.
It is winter in this part of the world and everyone spends a large part of their day indoors, seeing the world through window panes. How much of our lives is actually lived behind such barriers, in our cars, homes, schools, offices, airplanes, buses…
It feels like we see the world and the people around us through a frame, a view finder and that can only be part of the picture. How much does that influence our communication, tolerance, understanding of others, well-being, and humanity?
As the pandemic progresses, this lifestyle becomes more and more the normal way of going on and we are limited to our confined environments and lack of physical contact with others.
How many of our children are living mostly behind screens and communicating virtually with their friends? What influence will this have on our future as a human race?
Tarlabaśi, an area in Istanbul that locals advise you not to visit, where uncertainty and possible dangers abound… naturally that’s where I found human connection. The mood of the streets was one of intensity, alert eyes watching, unkempt children and wild cats roaming the alleys and a common thread of desperation bring the whole scene and my camera together into a symphony of connection.
I was told this place is destined for demolition and that the Kurds, Arabs and Turks living there will have to relocate and give room to modern buildings and to a brighter future. But what of these children? A girl that sells you guns in the street, the boys that build fires for fun and the child with the hammer training for hard labor. What of their future?
Waking up on the second morning here in Istanbul to the sound of the call to prayer, a stark reminder of where I am, traveling again, exploring the amazing quirkiness of another culture and the inner worlds of other people.
What first met me in Istanbul on this trip was incredibly unrelenting traffic jams, impossibly busy streets, strange smells and sounds, enchanting architecture and local color, but most importantly, HUMANITY.
It’s a great reminder of why I love to travel and why I do what I do. It’s the people. The common thread that binds us all together, we are born here on this planet and find ourselves in this strange, difficult at times and yet irresistible journey of life, finding hope around every corner.
It took coming to a place like this to reignite my wish to write and share these impressions…
From a hotel room overlooking the ferry station in kadikoy, it’s 6 am, still dark and I can hear and see the rain washing this bustling city.
At this time, when ‘physical distancing’ has become a daily used term, what kind of an impact has this had on us all? Those of us who are used to being with other people on a daily basis, the extroverts who thrive with social contact, the teenagers who miss the daily get togethers that fill their day with purpose, and even the introverts, how are we dealing with the new normal under Covid-19 lockdown?
The concept of ‘human connection’ is taking on a new meaning and invites a new definition, so I put out the challenge this time to my photographer friends to come up with words and images to go with their new understanding of human connections. Here below is the work we did.
The reset button was pressed, the world is taking a moment, the birds are singing loudly, the trees are not shy to dance in the wind freely, the skies are crisp bright blue, the clouds have more definition and the sun is shining ever more brightly.
As we find out lost time gifted back to us, the usual that we normally filled our time with somehow does not fit anymore. It is as though our software received and is receiving an update. New applications are needed, with new language and upgraded aims and intentions. What are you doing with your new time? Maybe like me you are finding yourself diving into new territories or seeing the old ones with a brand new light?
Where are you traveling to in your mind now that physical travel is no longer an option? Have your dream patterns changed? Do you feel the buzz in the air, the loud silence of something else making itself heard?
For the first time in a long time kindness is celebrated on the news channels! Stories of good deeds are main headlines. Is this planet earth? Is life winning in spite of death?
Something is connecting us all like never before. Do you feel it?
This is day on of lockdown in Germany where we are currently living after the start of the Coronavirus pandemic and life has never been more interesting.
Suddenly there is space, and at first, you feel like you don’t know what to do with all this time, you feel restless like you are forgetting something, an errand, you need to do, a doctor’s appointment, a meeting, something… and then you realise that you need to stop.
And once you feel settled to that fact and you delete all the appointments in your calendar, it starts to dawn on you that something is shifting, onsetting, happening in a big way, seen and unseen that is bringing the whole world to a halt. And you listen very carefully, you hear the planet breathing a sigh of relief.
Manufacturing has stopped, planes are stopping, trains, cars, football games, concerts, events, all the things that allow you to feel lost in the crowd and all of a sudden there is a large mirror facing each one of us.
How will we spend our time now? Will we panic watching the alarmist news? Will we take long unhurried walks in the forest? It is Spring here after all. Will we learn something new? Or much better even, will we take the opportunity to do our much needed dwelling on the meaning of life that we had put aside all these years due to our rushed and busy lives?
What a great opportunity this is. Humans working together to combat an undiscriminating and common threat to all. How do we battle this with our humanity intact? Will we take the time to reconnect to the most basic truth of our connection to our amazing planet and its natural laws? And what about the intensifying and onsetting future? Are we ready to meet it?
In the last few days as we hurriedly tried to get ready for lockdown, I saw scared and worried faces everywhere and a big chunk of confusion and concern, which caused me to be kinder than normal to others along the way. As I let a person pass in front of me on the line, stopped the car for a pedestrian, waved and smiled at a stranger, I realised with great delight that a small act of kindness is going a much longer way than ever before. People are glowing because of it and that caused me to understand that in situations like these, humanity thrives, values are resurrected and the future has a chance…