Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reflecting on the Road

I left the part of the world I knew to see what was new, to photograph its places, people and cultures, and to prove to myself that I could do it on my own. I was surprised to find so much more. The night I met Raul, he said to me: "You can't focus on what life hasn't given you. Hay que dar a la vida- You have to give to life, always give." That sums up my experience: When you open yourself up to it, there is beauty everywhere and human generosity that is astounding. Sure, there were difficult moments when I needed to pick myself up and keep going, but I didn't do it on my own: I was received with love when I needed it the most, I fell when I needed to wake up, and had helping hands along the way. Each moment is a possible miracle.

Being back in the States, the land of abundance, I ask myself if we've forgotten about generosity, about how interconnected we really are. Our meat is packaged in plastic, giving us the emotional space we prefer. And there's always a struggle for more-- power, prestige, individual ambition (especially in New York City). In Spanish, amibición has a negative connotation- it means wanting to succeed at the expense of others. Although I appreciated some of that Puritanical work ethic on the job in Peru, there were times that my need for success got the better of me.

Now here's the real challenge: keeping those lessons present even when immersed in the suburban American culture. And that's my next journey-- that of being present, appreciative and striving even when staying in one place.

Here are a few shots from New Jersey, New York and Shelter Island in the months following my arrival. Biggest perk so far? Family.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Room for Meditation

I had a 5-hour layover in Amsterdam between Madrid and NY. My family had left the day before, and I couldn't leave the airport, so much time was spent strolling through the glamorous airport that had such amenities as foot-cleaning-fish tanks, lounge chairs set up in front of videos of the rolling hills of Holland, and this meditation room.