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?