Living in the right now

Doing the book tour has been one of the more challenging things I’ve done in my life, but going into it I didn’t view it that way — which is interesting in itself. I booked the flights, made the plans and crossed my fingers. I honestly didn’t think too far ahead, knowing it would overwhelm me.

In the book I touch on how mindfulness has become a key part of how I move through my days, but it’s only now that I’ve had an opportunity to put it into pratice, away from the comfort of my home and routines, that I see how true this really is. The entire tour, from landing in Philadelphia and missing my connecting flight on July 4th all the way through to driving to JFK airport to fly home on July 28th, has been one long exercise in mindfulness. In being present to where I am, how I feel and who i’m with. 

In a nutshell: no matter where I was, I was truly there.

When I was walking along the boardwalk with Jamie in Toronto, I was truly there. When I was having dinner with Alex in San Francisco, I was truly there. When I was watching the train with Cedar in Bellingham, I was truly there. And on, and on, and on.

And, of course, i had a few moments of wishing I was home with my family, of projecting forward into the coming days, and that one hour in Toronto airport, after a VERY unpleasant half hour with the US immigration boys, when I was officially Over It. But considering how much of an introvert I am, I sailed through the days intact, open to everything and everyone and absorbing the lessons & realisations as they came. Miraculously, I didn’t get sick (more on that in an up-coming travel tips post!), though the jet lag and general tiredness made the trip more exhausting than I’d have liked.

I had a moment’s panic this morning, wondering if all my memories from the last month had vanished, because as I sit here at my computer it’s as if I’ve never been away. But then I remember it’s this mindfulness thing — I am truly here in my house, sitting in the right now. That’s when I am grateful for my photographs, for they take me back into the moments I’ve lived, giving my memories something to hang onto when the right now fills my head.

In total I took over 2,000 iPhone photographs and 60 Polaroid/Impossible shots on the tour. The iPhone was my notebook, catching images on the fly; my SX-70 was my tool for slowing down: stopping, composing, waiting to see if the shot came out and reshooting if necessary. Shooting solely with B&W Impossible Project film in NYC brought an extra element of mindfulness, looking for scenes and vignettes that would work in monotone when usually i look for colour. I was in my happy place, on so many levels :)

One of the more frustrating parts of all the travel was the lack of time to sit down and write an actual blog post — hence all the photo posts — so i have a few more I want to share in the coming days. But for now I’d like to invite you to notice where you are today and take a photograph for the August Break. You don’t even need to share it on your blog (or have a blog, for that matter) — simply notice where you are… sink deeply into the moment… and take a shot.

What’s happening in your world today?

Posted on 01-08-2012
23 responses
  1. Sabine

    Thank you, Susannah, for this mindful post. It’s exactly what I needed today. I’m planning a big biketour all on myself for three weeks in August and I’m going nuts right now on all the things I have to organize. Furthermore I’m still wondering, what it will be like all alone for three weeks on the road, not knowing where I will stay for the night.
    You reminded me of what’s so important: Not to look too far into the future and just enjoy moments and experiences I make right now. Therefore it will be my motto for the tour “live in the moment”. So thank you again, to remind me of that.

  2. Traci


  3. Yvonne

    peace and quiet of morning cup of coffee… (since teens sleep in yay!)… about to start cleaning the house.
    (c’mon Science: you’ve given us the Hubble telescope and the iPhone. can I please now have my self-cleaning home…?? pretty please??)

  4. Sherry

    Although we commit to living with mindfulness and being in the moments, we are often of two poles on it. We are either doing it without realizing that we are because we have absorbed the philosophy so completely, or we are working so hard to be mindful that we are over shooting the whole point of it and not simply allowing it to “be”. Either way, a reminder from time to time to check in and assess where we are on the mindfulness scale is a good thing. Looking forward to hearing all your thoughts and where you are post adventure!

  5. justine Gordon

    looks like you had the most amazing time, love your shots and I’m so glad you are doing the august break again.

  6. Erin Goodman

    Hi Susannah,

    I’m new here. I think this is my first (maybe second??) comment.

    I followed your book tour via Instagram and was so happy when I visited here and read about the August Break.

    It feels like just what I need right now.

    Today I shared a blog post saying I’m stepping back for August and looking forward to *playing* with photography, which feels REALLY great.

    Thank you for holding this space.

    Love + Light…


  7. Lavender Cottage

    You are a busy lady and although I don’t have an iPhone, I understand, and see that they take very good pictures.
    The August Break is an excellent idea and some of my followers may join the experience as well.

  8. manus

    What a heartwarming post, thank you so much! I’m always in struggle to be in the moment but today is a warm summer day here in Germany and I like sitting in my garden with the wind playing above me in the tree and looking at my cat enjoying the sun. This was my photo for the August Break. Thank you for this wonderful idea and welcome back at home. I’ve missed your words.
    Best wishes, manus

  9. Michelle

    What a splendid way to wrap up the tour. I felt a bit stalker like. I followed your tour on FB and Instagram. Relishing that you were “living the dream” so to speak. What an opportunity to be able to travel to different cities, far and wide, and be received with gratitude and utter goodness at each stop. (Perhaps minus the immigration boys in Toronto ;) As a follower it was lovely to watch you be surrounded by love with each small and private book signing/gathering. Moreso it was an honor to be able to meet you and hear your words, even the hard ones, that came pouring from your soul. I feel certain that our paths will cross again. But, I am oh so happy that they have crossed once already.

    Relish your time home and give that Noah tremendous loves.


  10. cedar

    miss you, p’sanna. come back. play trains with me.

    ohh, sweet boy, i miss you too! i will come visit you again next year, i promise :) in the meantime, i will be on the look-out for green trains and will send you photos xx

  11. Cat

    living mindfully takes practice…such practice
    especially when one is taken from their “normal”
    I love your title of this post…living in the right now
    we are so taught, culturally, to do the exact opposite
    thank you for reminding us to stop and be present…
    today in my world
    I mindfully gave of my time to a project dear to my heart…and now I mindfully do the mundane duties of a mother and wife, being present in all I do…even the laundry : )

    love and light

  12. La plume et la page

    Today, I was home, cooking and ironing… And I work a little bit on the computer. I didn’t take a shot but it’s not too late…

  13. holly

    How i Love recording memories – Taking Photographs + Journal Writing are 2 of my most favourite things to do in the world. I think it is so important that we document our lives – im only 23 years old, and no-one really my age group does this!! And i think they will regret it one day!!! i have always had an obsession with dates – i love to know what things happened on what day lol! Your blog always reminds me how important it is to document our lives – i am so glad you encourage it xx

  14. Cindy

    Thank you Susannah for sharing these thoughts. It is so important for the soul to remain mindful of where we are. I think people would be surprised at what they saw, heard and smelled if they stopped right now and took in their surroundings. You have a beautiful soul.

  15. jane

    being in the moment is such a powerful place to live… i am grateful for the insight that you worried for a moment about having lost the memories of the trip, but realising it is because you are fully home now… that is nourishing for me x and welcome home to the new adventures there

  16. Gerri Smalley

    welcome back, it’s good to “hear” your voice… xo

  17. Danielle

    I enjoy what you have written here. Being in the moment is something that I began being ‘mindful’ of a few years ago and has really had a significant impact on my life and where I am today.

  18. annette

    thank you for the invitation and the sweet reminder to live mindfully!

  19. Marie Landry

    Lovely post, as always. Sometimes I find it hard to live in the moment because I’m always thinking of what I should be/need to be doing or what I WANT to be doing since my life is basically the same 24/7. I’m going to try harder to be mindful and live in each moment. Thank you Susannah!

  20. cruzdelsur

    Hello Susana, a pleasure is to be in Add your blog to the blogroll! when my blog went up No 352 is not correct, you can delete this.
    The No. 354 is OK.
    Thanks and good luck

  21. Kathryn

    beautiful, thoughtful post, Susannah

  22. Katie

    Hey Susannah, thanks so much for this lovely blog post. This sort of thinking really makes you appreciate what you have. I live in the French Alps, and even here I managed to forget how lucky I am: today it has RAINED allllll day, torrentially, impossible to leave the house. As soon as it stopped, I had to go to work in a bar, which is boring, but allows me to earn the little amount of money I need to live in this amazing place. No one’s come into the bar the whole evening….so I got to catch up with online articles – and yours has just reminded me how GREAT things are, and today is just one rainy day, no more no less – I am so grateful for all my friends here, my amazing boyfriend, the incredible scenery that is all at my fingertips, and the dramatic storms we are having at the moment. I am HERE :) Katie. xxx

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