a place where I feel complete

Images & Words: Fran Mart-

Miles and miles have passed since I decided to move to the UK, and so many wonderful things have happened. I found the right path, the right guy to walk it with, and we’re making a home out of our dreams and kindness. Today I want to encourage you to take that first step you’ve been thinking about for a long time. Maybe it’s moving to a new country, or starting a new project, asking someone to walk beside you or just allowing yourself to find more quiet. So many beautiful horizons are waiting for you if you’re just willing to take the wheel. Life is a matter of choice. I’m thinking about how different my life was before. Visiting Ibiza and Formentera has made me remember how much I love the sea and how much it has always been present in my life. But I always knew that my soul belonged to another place and this is the highlands of Scotland. I left my whole life behind and chose to go out and find my place, my inner home, the place where I feel complete.

All I have achieved so far has been with the help of people around me, my persistence, my love of adventure, nature and the desire to inspire people to travel and explore in themselves. Follow the path ahead, be patience, believe in this and go your own way. Originally from Andalucía, Spain, the colors, landscapes and textures offered by the British countryside continue to inspire me today. Having discovered photography through my good friend (and tattoo artist), it very quickly became my passion and adventure. Obsessed by light and simple, natural beauty, I always seek to capture something beyond what we see – the emotion, feelings, memories that exist in the moment. For me, photography is akin to sitting by the fire, sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee or dram of whisky, and sharing stories with good friends. My photography has taken me on an incredible journey. A journey that takes you to the unexplored space of your own being. One of the meanings of photography for me. What started with exploring my own feelings through self-portraiture has turned into capturing the lives of others in a variety of styles. Photography gave me a reason to fall in love with life again.

For two years now I’ve been living with the frustration of not being able to express myself with the right words. This is because it is not my mother tongue.
I want to connect with you in a deeper way, sharing thoughts and experiences which is why I’m making the decision to write more.  Photography helped me to express myself when the words where scarce but it’s just one of many ways. Writing, painting, dancing, whatever is inside you, let it come out. Free yourself. Art is a way to release feelings and thoughts, a way to be honest with ourselves.Think big about our world and your mind will expand, we know very little of it. We live in our bubble of desires stopping us from growing. Be authentic, rare, strange, you are unique when you are really you. Stay true to your own nature. Mine is the slow living, the quietness, the explorer, the enthusiastic, the dreamer.

I was catching up with another photographer the other day and he asked me why an adventure account from Scotland hasn’t featured my work on their page yet. I’ve been doing some thinking on these “big accounts” and so wanted to share a little something on what motivates my work. I love taking pictures. I love being out there, exploring, noticing and connecting with what is in front of me. I love getting back home and sitting in front of the computer seeing the beauty that’s captured on my camera. I love to read your messages saying how you find inspiration in those images too. These and a thousand more are the reasons for what I do. 
I’d be lying if I said that I don’t like it when big communities on IG feature my work; this brings me a little bit of happiness and itself feels rewarding (maybe stroking that universal need for recognition) but I’m very clear that it does not make you a better photographer. What helps you grow as a photographer is believing in yourself, having the courage to get out there and explore, to see with your own eyes and feel in your own self the world where we live and all the beauty that lies waiting for you. I feel grateful for the journey that photography is taking me on, traveling to so many places, meeting incredible people, being more present. With photography I discovered parts of myself that have been hidden, releasing my sensibilities, and allowing more beauty into my life.

“For me and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefined panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness…”- Bob Marshall. I couldn’t agree more with him, there is no better place than nature to listen to your inner soul. Nature is full of wonder. I didn’t realize the very importance of nature in life until a few years ago. Distracted by fantasies of a life I thought I wanted, I didn’t allow space to develop a vision beyond myself. It was in front of the sea where I first came face to face to the feeling that I’d been building a life I did not actually belong to, a life outside myself. Let yourself be part of nature and allow its stillness to speak into who you are.We spend much of our life traveling between thoughts. We forget to appreciate everything around us, the moment of here and now. Nature transports us to the natural state of the present and to calm our loudest mind.

© all pictures Fran Mart with kind permission

Follow Fran and his lovely dog James here and here.

Take care dear followers! So happy to share Fran`s wonderful and honest words and beautiful images with you! Thanks so much for all your kind messages and support! Yours, Melanie Kettner

just north of summer

Words & Images Norbert von Niman-

It is those days when you’re walking on a glacier, everything around you in full black and white except your friends yellow raincoat, wearing three layers and still getting cold. You are still waiting for the heat waves, beach days and tropical showers when you realise it’s already August and this is as good as summer will get in Iceland. This is a fully different climate, fully different experience and an astonishing landscape to back it all up.

Getting used to a landscape like this is something that will never happen. Every time you revisit a place it’s a different light, different colours of the grass, different clouds, weather and season. In summer there are signs of lush, green life while in winter those four hours of sunlight bounces off the snow colouring everything with an orange hue, or pink, purple blue and then black. It’s like a massive colouring book, sometimes filled out but sometimes just left empty.

The desolation is sometimes imminent which makes the small details, that one perceivable object or the only feature, ever so much more important to show that this is actually reality. It’s difficult to comprehend the scale and the distance, and an anchor point for that sense of reality is important.
Same thing applies to life living in such a hostile environment. With cold around every corner and a darkness that takes everything there needs to be something to bring back some hope. Hot springs can provide warmth for body, good friends and all the open hearted locals provide warmth for the soul, and northern lights shine up the darkness. This makes even the coldest winter days survivable.

It’s not supposed to be easy to live on an extreme piece of volcano surrounded by the wild sea. You can hide in Reykjavik and pretend to live a normal life with normal problems but as soon as you get out in the wilderness the weather can be the greatest of challenges. Pictures are best taken when there is a good story to follow behind it, or a struggle to get it. That is most certainly the case when facing gale force winds, freezing temperatures and isolation from civilisation. The weather suits the landscape though.

© all images Norbert von Niman

Many times there can be hours of howling wind tearing through even the most windproof layers of clothing, until you come to the sudden realisation that everything has gone perfectly quiet. All noise is gone, water flat, nothing is moving. The wind has stopped and so does the world with it. It is these moments of clarity when the feeling of truly being alone in the middle of nowhere creeps up. The shutter makes a quick sound that echoes in the vast emptiness. The wind is back.

Norbert is a photographer and guide based in Iceland. Follow his journey here. Take care, Melanie Kettner

a world full of untold stories

Words & Images Frederique Peckelsen-

Not all summers are the same. Whilst most people use summers to lay in the sun and typically relax, for me summer is a time to explore and discover. I have the freedom to visit places far away from home, far away from the big known cities and the Western world. There are so many untold stories on our earth, so many unseen places, and I have this insatiable urge to go out and find them and share these stories with the world. I used to love the warm weather. My grandma always asked me when I was going to move to Spain. But then Iceland changed something. I want to be outside in the cold.

 

 

The white North has a treasurable silence, that I have found nowhere else in the world. It is the only place that never distracts me from my own thoughts and feelings, but rather confronts me with it. The endless white landscapes brings clarity to my mind. The rough but silent nature is so perfectly aligned with what I feel on the inside. There is hope, in the desolate landscape – as contradicting as it may sound. Its beauty strikes you in your core, as there is no distraction of any kind. Only a very pure feeling remains.

 

 

But then again, the North can be as mysterious as the night. The hidden and covered landscapes, and the mystery of what lies beneath and beyond makes way for untold stories. The invisible or the things out of sight fuel my imagination, and make way for a sense of freedom, away from the familiar and the obvious. The North is like home, but it is always far away from today, here and now. And in this way, with both clarity and imagination, the North unites me with my creativity that mostly gets smothered in the more crowded places. It taps into a world of the lost, the hidden, the untold and the forgotten. The North feels like the abandoned lands of epic battles fought in children books. Battles between higher Gods and invisible creatures.

 

 

 

 

I grew up in a very small town up in the North. I had a childhood full of fantasy, and played in the woods that surrounded our house for days on end. I imagined every tree was a spirit, and that the woods would talk to each other, but they talked in a language unknown to mankind. I played at a little wooden church, close to home. The church was built by Vikings, according to old folk tales. Folk tales and fairytales were not just stories that were made up, there had to be more to them. Since then I have always been on a quest to find most distant and forgotten places, locked between the most majestic mountains. Isolated houses awake my fantasy. Who lives there? What would a cold night, full of storm be like in there? Have you ever wondered? Every time I go back to Iceland, I secretly hope for these colors. There is so much that awestrucks me, but these colors make everything even more magical.

We are all looking for something, chasing it, sometimes even without knowing what it is. I always tend to find ‘it’ in desolate places, because of this ongoing confrontation with my own mind, and the beauty that I’m surrounded by while contemplating it all. As we grow older, we should realize that our option broaden, they do not limit. Learn, practice, put in every extra hour you have. Because if this is that little voice talking, it will guide you toward your final path. I’m looking for sacred places in nature, perhaps because I’m looking for that place within myself. Somewhere where nature is harsh and rules over everything, instead of everything seemingly ruling over nature. There is something so magical about the ever changing but rough and pure landscape of the North. It feels like an untouched piece of the earth, whereas a lot of other places are all altered to serve humans and make life easier. I believe that where we go or what we long for defines who we are, or and least says something about us.

Everyone has that one thing that keeps on calling. But mostly it is very silently. When we are children it is so much louder, and so much clearer. As kids we know exactly what we want, and we are not afraid to say these desires out loud. But then, when we get older, dreams change, although dreaming never changes. But the one thing is, that we don’t take our dreams as serious as we did before. When I was young, I always wanted to be an Egyptologist, an areologist. Of course my options where limited, but as a child I didn’t know what possibilities the world had in store. But I did know I was intrigued by forgotten and untold stories, by undiscovered kingdoms and that I wanted to explore what hadn’t been explored. I wanted to show the world the treasures earth possesses.

But weirdly enough, as we grow older, our dreams aren’t as big as they were – even though we are more aware of all its possibilities. We think about what would be the most sensible choice, what brings us most money. All of a sudden our options are limited, and we are scared to even say out loud what we desire. I am not saying that everybody should give up their jobs, and build a cabin in the woods (isn’t that what we all would love?). But what I am saying is, listen to that little voice inside. That dream you are scared off. That one thing you fear you will be ridiculed for, or seems impossible to achieve. Has one ever regretted trying to follow their dream?

 

I could stand here for hours.These colours are more magical than anything. Ever mountain, every part of the water reflects the same color as the sky. Sometimes, on the most unexpected moments, a sort of melancholic feeling seems to get the best of me. It always brings me back to these roads, these mountains, this land. In a world where we try to control all and everything, or try to explain and understand it, fight against nature instead of abiding it, the North seems to be one of the last places that keeps its mystery with its ever changing weather, non visible landscapes, covered mountains and days of darkness.

 

© all pictures Frederique Peckelsen with kind permission

More about Frederique’s wonderfully magic world here.

after a while she talked to nature

Images: Eeva Mäkinen Words: Melanie Kettner & Eeva Mäkinen-

Eeva: Yep, once again I left my comfy hotel room and escaped to the wilderness. I bet my laptop enjoyed the warm bed.The hike was pretty intense though. The path was icy and included some stairs, actually 300 of them. All covered with 1 meter of icy snow. Not my cup of tea to climb them with my 20kg heavy backpack on but there was no way to return. I just had to keep on going. The nights were well worth the pain. The bruises were nothing compared to the total silence and tranquility what I got when spending the nights over here.

Melanie: Eeva’s strong connection with nature helps her to create the images she dreams about. It’s difficult  for her to stay several days in the wilderness alone. Sometimes it’s very scary to feel this intense loneliness, especially at night. But she has become a stronger person after dealing with those feelings. I asked her what freedom means to her and she said, that she loves choosing the direction she wants to go, without schedules pushing her. Being alone gives her a sense of freedom.

Eeva: How often do you spend a night by yourself? And how often do you think about doing it? Nowadays I do this a lot. I really love it. Sometimes I get a bit scared of noises outside of my tent but I got used to it. I also got used to staying alone in the darkness.

Eeva: After spending all these nights alone in the woods I’ve learned to cope with my fear of darkness. I guess it’s because I understand more how the forest behives and the noises it makes. Now I know the names for the birds that scared me when I made them fly away by accideantally walking too close. I also know how rare it actually is to get attacked by the wolves. Don’t get this wrong though, I’m still a bit scared when I do these overnight hikes alone but I’m just enjoying it a lot more nowadays.

Melanie: Eeva said that for her it feels rewarding when to see how different nature looks during day and night. Especially exciting to her are the Northern Lights, Aurora borealis. This magic light scenery is one of the wonders of this amazing planet. It’s like a celestial dance with moving lights in different colours across the night sky. The dancing lights are due to collisions between electrically charged particles of the sun that enter earth’s atmosphere, they are seen above the northern and southern poles.

Eeva: When shooting the Northern Lights it’s pretty cool to sleep outside. That way you don’t get too comfortable and your camera is ready when the show begins. During last week I did something totally different and slept in a beautiful cabin before our weekend hike to UKK National Park. I watched the stars and northern lights dancing in the sky until I fell asleep. First time in a long time I just layed down and watched them without any stress of getting the shot. Even though I will continue sleeping some nights outside I really needed this experience to remind me to enjoy these moments also without my camera.

Melanie: One night Eeva was on a shooting trip and she decided to hike up to see what she could get from there. The night started extremely windy and she get scared. Nonetheless she tried to keep her focus on taking pictures. But there was something that made her nervous of staying there. After a while she went outside from her tent and talked to nature and herself. Suddenly it was all calm, her feelings and the wind.

Eeva: I think we are meant to meet like-minded people on our way. We share epic moments and we share great stories. Eventually, we all sleep under the same milky way.

© all pictures with kind permission Eeva Mäkinen

At the moment Eeva works also a freelance writer and photography guide.Learn more about her impressive work here and here.

What a courage Eeva has! Have a beautiful week my dear readers! Hope you are in a relaxed  mood! Take care! Melanie Kettner

 

 

 

the way we look on it

Images Jon West & Words Melanie Kettner-

Life challenges us all from time to time, some of us have to overcome harder defiances than others. In the end, changing perspective becomes the most important tool we can use to adjust to life changes, that we can not avoid. Jon’s breathtaking earth images are the perfect symbol for this attitude we can adopt. As I psychological coach I often changed the seat with my client, sometimes literally. It all depends on how we look on occurrences. We let them do us harm, because we loose control over our own habitual thinking. The seize of an incident is defined not by itself, but by the way we look on it and the way we reflect on it.

Our thinking mostly follows automatic patterns, it’s not easy to learn to make them conscious and to stay aware of these self-acting responses. Interestingly human beings all have the same thinking patterns often dictated by fear and insecurity. To control them gives us a device to value an event more objectively and to detect the real dimension of it.

From Jon Kabat Zinn I learned meditating. He often gives the advice to imagine ourselves sitting beneath a waterfall with its random noise. The “noise” modern society forces on us is difficult to bear at times. We often don’t notice it anymore. It’s the speed of our day, of the news  flashing by and the social media that overstrain us unnoticed. When we pause for a moment and step aside, we can sit in the nearness of the waterfall, but not right in the middle of it anymore. The noise will become more at distance and weaker.

“We all tend to fill up our days with things that just have to be done and then run around desperately trying to do them all, while in the process not really enjoying much of the doing because we are too pressed for time, too rushed, too busy, too anxious? We can feel overwhelmed by our schedules, our responsibilities, and our roles at times, even when everything we are doing is important, even when we have chosen to do them all. We live immersed in a world of constant doing. Rarely are we in touch with who is doing the doing.”

― Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living

Changing perspective moves problems away from us we cannot deal with at the moment. It enables us to approach the issue from a calm, peaceful state of mind, that will ensure that our decisions will be wise and our soul will not be tormented senselessly. Basically, mindful meditation means a state of being, rather than a state of doing.

© all images Jon West with kind permission

Jon owns a Vancouver based video production company. More about Jon’s beautiful work here and here.

Take good care of yourselves dear followers! Hope you keep in touch with us on Instagram! Yours, Melanie Kettner

moments that capture you

Words & Images Josh Kempinaire-

I’ve always been attracted by the North. I can’t really explain why, but I know that I like the cold, the snow, the soft light. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to got to Africa or South America, of course I do. But if you ask me to choose one destination for the rest of my life, I would on the spot say Norway, Iceland, Alaska or Greenland. That sounds weird for some people, but if you have ever experienced the peace you find up in the North, you definitely understand my point. Nature there never stops amazing me. From a small tree in a forest to a majestic rock in Norway, it always makes me realize how beautiful our planet is. We are maybe not living in the coolest world ever in terms of politics but that’s not the subject here. Nature is beautiful, nature nearly seems to be unreal and nature is what I’m living for.

I would not consider myself as a professional photographer, more as an adventurer. I don’t travel to take pictures, I take pictures because I’m traveling. I want to explore the world. While writing this I realize that it’s really hard to express how I feel about that, because I can actually not spend a long time without shooting. So, is it the feeling of having a camera in my hand that I miss? Or just the feeling of being in the mountains? I would say I need the mountains, but honestly I don’t know. I graduated from high school three years ago and I immediately had a yearning for traveling. So, I bought a van, actually an old delivery car that I turned into a van, and drove all the way from Switzerland to the North Cape in Norway. I’ve never felt so free since then. That’s why I’m now thinking about living for my two passions: Adventure and Photography, nothing more. I’m not interested in living a “normal life” that our society suggests us to live. I don’t want to make crazy money or to drive a fancy car. I don’t need it. And even if my future is still quite uncertain, I know what I want to do: I like challenges and I think I’m ready for this one.

Exploring is not only about going to crazy remote and unknown places, it’s about going to places that you personally don’t know. I never mind if somebody tells me that a place is “too famous” or “so touristic”. If I guess it’s beautiful and I’ve never been there, I go. I would say that exploring is about leaving your comfort zone. Actually, I was afraid of being alone in a dark forest, when I first planned my tour in Norway, it was more than a exploration tour for me. I think people are just stuck in a vision that link the word “exploring” to “fame” and that’s why many people are not doing it. They just think that they are not good enough to climb the Everest, but they are probably brave enough to spend their first night under the stars in a dark, unfriendly forest next to their house. I’m passionate about mountains and my heart belongs to the ocean, so I had to leave.

The mountains are majestic, we owe them respect, they go through all kind of weather and millions years after, they are still there. You can’t conquer a mountain; maybe it allows you to climb it. When I’m hiking to the top, I realize that I’m only a small human being that is irrelevant in this nature. I’ve still never climbed a high peak until only a few months ago, I was really afraid of the height. I started to climb with friends to get rid of this fear and I have a new challenge now, I would like to do some alpinism in a near future. Then I will really be able to tell how I feel about mountains.

I can easily compare the ocean to the mountains: peaceful and powerful at the same time. They control everything, they are everywhere around us. But there is something more that I can’t really explain. I feel just so good when I swim inside salty water. And more than that, it’s the texture of the water that I like more than anything else. Every wave is unique, like every moment in life. They all looks the same but if you watch closely, they are all different, the power is different, the colours are different, the shades are different. Regarding life, every minute is different. Even if you think you are in a routine, there are still moments that will pop out of your life and these are the ones you have to enjoy.

 

© all pictures Josh Kempinaire with kind permission

Now you have an idea of why I choose to do my first major tour in Norway, because you can find sharp peaks next to the ocean and fjords that flood in the middle of the mountains. But there is something more that is really important for me: Not to be afraid and if we are, we should fight these fears, without avoiding them. Don’t think you are not adventurous enough, we all have a different perception and vision of life and we should all develop our own. Take pictures and just create new memories because there are moments that you should definitely capture and by the way, there are moments that will capture you. That’s what life is about.

More about Josh and his adventures and photography here.

Take care dear readers! Yours, Melanie Kettner

the power of a wave

Words & Images Matthew Leonard-

Growing up in a city in England I visioned the sea in a different way to which I do now. Back then I saw it as a non-inviting, closed-up and dark place. It was somewhere I’d rarely venture into, either out of fear of the depths, currents or the cold. My connection with the sea back then was at a distance. It was something I loved to visit and photograph, but rarely enter. Working in London I never got to see the sun set by the sea, or hang out on the beach with friends. Everything was urban, yet I was desperate to be in the country where I loved to take photos the most.

After moving to Australia, the sea opened up to me. It’s colours, warmth and wildlife draw you in. The surf culture here encourages people to respect the ocean but to enjoy it also. It teaches you the power, danger and fun of the waves. Before surfing I was unaware of the power of the sea. From the shore, it would appear you just fall into the wave and emerge straight out the other side as easily as you entered it. But in reality, your body is tossed around like rag doll. Arms and legs flung uncontrollably. I’ve had my heel bend back and hit my head just from the power of the white water. With all this in mind you’re constantly aware of potential rocks and sandbanks you might crash into. You try to protect your head with your hands, if the wave lets you. Time slows whilst you’re under the water and a sense of loneliness hits you as you get swallowed up. To me, the power of a wave is one of the reasons I surf. Feeling the power of a wave push you through the air whilst your board glides and carves its way through the water is a sensation known only by those who surf. It’s the sensation that keeps all surfers coming back to the waves.

After I began surfing it was only a matter of time before I began photographing it. I have always been obsessed with surf and underwater photography. The only consistent thing with the sea is that it is forever changing, and therefore no picture is ever the same. Combining this with the artistic flare of a surfer is what draws me in. As a photographer I am not after the perfect surf technique, or a manoeuvre that would score a 10/10 on a judging panel. I’m after a picture that captures emotion, energy, patterns and colour.

For me, living by the sea is a way of stepping away from the daily routines myself and so many other people are used to. It was about escaping the big city and the 9 to 5 and changing it for a life that has more freedom. I wanted a life that focused less on how much time you spend in the office and more on the time you spend outdoors with your friends. Back in London, I had to dedicate one weekend to seeing my mates and the next for escaping and spending time in the country. Where as here, I can do both nearly every day of the week.

So yeah, I guess that’s what living by the sea means to me, more time outdoors doing the things you love with the people you love. And I think this is the same for most people that live by the sea, which is why everyone seems to get along so well, because we all share the same passions and interests. Where I am, everyone surfs and skates, and you can feel that connection when you meet someone for the first time. Where as in London everyone is trying to be different and unique which can be tiresome. Maybe that’s why so many people in London feel lonely, but I’m not sure.

© all pictures Matthew Leonard with kind permission

More about Matt’s stunning captures here.

An inspiring weekend dear readers! Take care! Melanie Kettner

time is a weird thing-

Words & Images: Caleb Gaskins-

I’ve realized that some of life’s sweetest and truest gifts are found in the routines and normalities of the day. It is in the sitting down (whether I want to or not) and getting to work that I find inspiration does come. It is noticing that my morning cup of coffee taste better when I read a book. It’s getting excited for some leftovers as long as I can put a little Sriracha on it. It’s those familiar laughs and voices that are part of my daily mix, but it is also realizing that every time I don’t get what I want I am pulled back from my habitual need to be self-centered. It is doubt coupled with envy that I am not yet who I want to be but also knowing I never will be. And it is in the complexities of love that I realize how well I have disguised my ego.

I’ve recognized that photographs help me slow down, think, and challenge the very way I interact with the world. At the same time, they allow me to capture honest moments that are in and of themselves raw, pure, and at times, reveal a deeper truth about what it means to be human. Even with all the creating and sharing and pursuing of my craft, at the end of the day I want to look back and see how I loved others because honestly, that’s all that matters. There’s a Richard Rohr quote I often share with people and it says, that our style of relating to others is the final truth that we take with us to the grave.” We can get so caught up in the day to day tasks, the trials of life, politics, petty or necessary arguments, that we forget to see people as people and embrace the moment for what it is. My hope, is that at the end of my life I can look back and know I did my best in creating an environment where people felt safe and welcomed to be who they are without fear of rejection but embraced with love and acceptance.

Some of these may seem like really shitty things to confront, and honestly they are – who wants to admit their shortcomings, their mistakes, who wants to remember a painful past, their flaws and failures? I’m a slow learner – I always have been. But thats probably the reason why I have come to know more of myself in the routines of life however beautiful and ugly it may be. Over time I can spot the patterns in my reactions to different situations, idiosyncrasies, and people. How true it is that no one can heal from anything if we do not acknowledge what is there to begin with and how hard it is to see when our eyes have not adapted well enough to see what has always been revealed in the light, or for that matter, the dark. We must discover and learn to accept who we are and continue to pursue a love of self and a love of others from an honest place that grows ever deeper into the mystery of itself. No doubt the truth about ourselves will set us free, but not before it makes us miserable. Our pain can either make us a very bitter people or quite the opposite – a people of compassion and wisdom – maybe because the heart becomes tender or because it makes us feel like we have nothing else left to lose. We have to learn how to transform our pain and our fear or we will only pass it on to those around us and to those we love most.

Time is a weird thing. From a distance it feels like you’ve always had room to breathe, but from up close it can seem like there is a lack of air, and sometimes you’re aware enough to realize that there is no difference between the two and that it’s always been the same. In an age where fast-paced consumption of news, information, and viral tweets are the norm, it’s easy to suffocate without knowing it. Sometimes I think we forget we are alive and are beings who breath and move, each with our own uniqueness. The popular mindset or phrase, “living in the moment” or “being present”, doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it used to. Aren’t we living in the moment all the time? Aren’t we constantly choosing how we live in the moment and how we are being present? We are always present to something regardless if we are aware of it or not. How many times do we drive right past our destination because our mind is engaged with something else? So the question isn’t, “Am I being present?” but it’s, “Is there something I am missing?” The honest answer to both those questions is a resounding, “Yes.” We are being present and we are missing something. The difference is we are now holding a posture of openness and vulnerability. Now we are in a position to learn and to grow. If we think that something can add value to our experience or change us for the better, then we must engage with that or we will surely stifle positive growth in our world. And most of the time, the things that add value or can change us is scary shit. Time is something that allows us to breathe and it’s something that can easily suffocate us, but mostly time is a tool that reveals – only if we allow it.

© all pictures with kind permission Caleb Gaskins

Caleb is a photographer based in Central California. More about him here and here.

Have a wonderful week my dear readers & take good care of yourself! Melanie