Have you felt lately as though you keep on moving from one task to the next, from one place to another as if chased by your own shadow? It is as if we are all gripped by a fear of being caught standing still. We plan our year before it even starts and we project into our future leaving very little room for the unexpected. Our lives are preplanned and dictated in our phones that link to all our other devices that we allow to remind us that we are not free but bound inside our own self created prisons.
Being outdoors is to be free of the boxes we build to hide ourselves from the world and to keep the outdoors well, away from us. In Tuscany, I found that the outside world kept pulling me out, to be with the sounds, the smells, the colors and the warmth of nature, and the Italian hills are just magnificently beautiful!
In our lives we get so comfortable with the familiar, we anchor ourselves in the past and we walk around with the certainty of the now. The future, we file in our minds as unknown, not yet tread, uncertain, and we handle it with the tools of our past based on what we already know and have done. But what if the rules of the game have changed? What if the future is dealing us a new card? What if the path is about to change direction? How then do we get ourselves fit to interpret the future? Where do find the tools to update ourselves and be ready for what is clearly changing all what we know from governments, weather patterns, mental possibilities, arts, technology… everything that we see resulting from that which we don’t see?
Woke up to so many more questions today…
photo taken: an old man walking on a Kashgar city street~ Xinjiang
In the streets of old Kashgar I met so many children, playful, joyful, running here and there, but not this little boy. I had some candy in my pocket that I offered him and he just stood there looking at me then down at his shoes, then at me again until he summoned the courage to extend his had for the sweet candy only to drop his eyes back again to his feet. He looked so innocent and fragile with his borrowed woman’s shoe that I almost reached out to hug him… but I did not. He walked slowly away down the alley to found the door to his house and disappear into it.
For some, education is a valued gifting, and need is their sole motivation…
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Life is a series of tiny moments stringed together with emotion. Throughout this string are some impressions that just stand out and demand to be remembered. A writer might write about them, an artist might immortalize them with their brush, and us photographers, we pray that our camera is there within arms reach to capture that moment and use it again and again to take us back there, to the place where we felt something movingly significant.
I was looking in a drawer the other day and I came across an old phone (the palm 650), I carried it in my hand and felt stunned at its weight, bulkiness and clumsy appearance. This was my dream phone only 2 years ago because it had a keyboard for writing emails. And I realized 3 phones later and several ‘i’ gadgets since, that the speed at which technology is developing is astounding. If we don’t stop to examine it, we can almost miss it. As soon as you get your mind wrapped around your new and unbelievably futuristic ipad, you feel uncool to be seen with it since the far cooler ipad 2 is now out!
It is a cause of so much concern actually to see what kind of world and at what staggering speed we are leading our children into their digital future. I wonder if someone was to to go to a desert island for a few years without any contact to the outside world and come back, what kind of impression will this fast changing world have on them and how will they cope?
photo taken: Lea walking over a Chinese character stencil on the street in Pudong
Did you ever entertain the thought of taking out a lounge chair, carrying it out to the pavement of a busy street of an densely populated city, opening it up and stretching there to chill? Chinese people baffle me with their ability to just let it all hang for a half hour when they need a break, as if they have an on/off switch and they can just power off to recharge just about anywhere!
For me to take a nap, I need to have the right pillow, one of the 4 on my bed, not the one that’s too hard, or the one that is too feathery, or the kind of not so comfy one, I need the one in between and I know exactly which one it is. The noise levels have to be close to mute, and the temperature of the room has to be right. I have to be wearing no constricting clothing items like socks and the other stuff women wear and I need to silence all my phones and deal with any pending issues that might keep my mind active and stop me from relaxing into a nap… how complicated is that?? In the meantime, the locals are dozing off on the pavement, in the bus, on restaurant tables, on shop counters, and in the middle of loud and hectic traffic!
It’s a funny thing our perception of size. When we are young we perceive our parents to be bigger than life, our homes and gardens to be a large domain where we build our memories and our planet to be out of this world huge. Then we grow up, and we go back to visit our old homes, schools, gardens and we scream, “who shrank my world?”! Our perceptions have changed!
And knowing this, I made up a technique that I called ‘zoom out’ while growing up that each time I had to face a problem, an issue that felt so big it almost crushed me. I would mentally ‘zoom out’ and pretend to view myself in my home, in my village or city, in my country, on my planet, in my solar system, in my galaxy, spinning at enormous speeds, and suddenly, as if by magic, my problem would shrink down to insignificance and it would no longer be threatening to me in ‘perspective’.
We humans are very quick to judge whether a person we see is a success or a failure, we are also very harsh in passing judgement even on ourselves. But the truth is no one is qualified to call another a failure. We are the only ones who can truly judge ourselves and we are mostly even wrong there. Because what is success really? Isn’t success a housewife who has decided to be just that, or the worker, the artist, the cobbler who does their best at every moment of every day? And isn’t it also the person who gives to the poor and shows kindness to others just because they want to. There is great peace in allowing ourselves the luxury of acknowledging and celebrating our own successes no matter how small.