There is so much that keeps me doing photography day in and day out for the last almost 30 years, but one of the most incredible reasons is the ability of a single photograph to take me back.
An image has the ability to encapsulate the moment and keep it alive beyond our memories, past our limited recollections and allows us to relive the impressions, the smells, the light and the sights that we witnessed at that moment as we freeze it in time.
And then if someone else can connect to the image and feel what we felt, then wow, mission accomplished.
Today I spent a larger part of the day driving around with my daughter from home to school to extra activities, home and school again. We have come to call Monday the ‘fun day’ partly sarcastically because of all the driving, and partly because we never know how it will unfold.
On the last one of today’s drives we both realized that we forgot to eat. This started a conversation that took me to my memories of meeting the Buddhist monks in Myanmar, in Cambodia and in Shangrila amongst others. One of the special things I discovered was that they only ate one meal a day.
Of course they do have their reasons and the discipline they adhere to, but this made me realize how much time we spend obsessing about food , our choices, the preparation, diets and the rest of it.
A dose of simplicity sounds right from time to time, doesn’t it?
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?
Time and time again, I dwell on the concept of ‘time’. It’s time for ‘time’ one more time, and how many times are enough times.Well just maybe one more time.
Time passes slow when things are difficult, fast when they are joyful, time heals our wounds and time can be endless when we are waiting. The truth of time is illusive, almost incomprehensible. Why do we perceive time? Is time the same here as it is at the edge of the universe? We measure time by the rotations of our planet around the sun and that makes our time unique to us here on earth.
Why do we need time? Is it to perceive and to measure change? Is it to urge us on to develop and discover why we are here in the first place? What is it like to live on on the top or bottom of the planet where it’s endlessly day or endlessly night?
I can go on like this for hours and yes, that’s part of the reason why I find myself awake at 4 am.
It’s time to stop writing and have that second cup of coffee… Wishing you a peaceful ‘time’ during the remainder of this week that seems to zip by at an unusual speed.
Balance is on my mind today. I am looking outside my window and seeing how on top of a very large pine tree a bird is standing gracefully on a single thin branch in the freezing morning air, gently looking around and scanning the quiet neighbourhood as the cold wind moves the tree back and forth. The bird is unaffected by the movement and seems to surf the wind with so much ease.
So did the fishermen of Inle Lake in Myanmar. If you ever get the chance to witness them going about their tasks as they balance on their little wooden boats, it is a sight not to be forgotten. The inner quiet that goes along with their way of life is contagious and it leaves you with a distinct sense of balance and peace.
If I were to focus on one quality to aim for today, it would be just that, balance with the aim of remaining intact inside of the rushing river of my day.
Wishing you a balanced day and peaceful end of the week.
This morning I woke up with thoughts of ‘repetition’. How life here on this spinning planet demonstrates this continuously, from the sun rising daily, to our constant heartbeat, the seasons, our in-breath and out-breath, day and night,… it’s all around us.
I will share a short writing from a few weeks ago:
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…
These recent images from my Instagram page have been titled “chasing spirits”, and for the first time I find myself seeing a distinct line running through these street portraits that were taken by me in different Asian countries but solicit the same emotional reaction from me. There is something that draws me in to the internal processes of strangers through the maps of their faces, the history recorded in their eyes and the roadmaps of their lives in every line and wrinkle that cause me to pause and wonder: what drives me to chase these images and irks me to go to more places and stop, look and capture? It’s a strong driving force that never relents and I am hoping that after the chase, the cause may reveal itself. It’s a journey of passion and every moment brings me closer to myself…
You often hear people escaping mentally to their happy places where they can reconnect with who they are meant to be for a moment; rewriting some chapters, rearranging some priorities and for just a short moment, just ‘being’.
I found my happy place when I went to Myanmar. I could not stop smiling there, it was a wellness trip of sorts where I met the ‘me’ that Life had made me forget.