A lesson from the streets.

So I start the day by telling my nearest and dearest that I will live intentionally.  I will not live as a reactionary, as a victim of circumstance, no matter how small or mundane they are.  The responses were varied, from positive support to a questioning “Don’t you do that already?” 

So to answer the question - sometimes.  But to do it full time will take a conscious effort, it will take vigilance.  I have, like most people tended to fall back into auto pilot.  It’s easier, it’s comfortable, it requires nothing from me, I get to switch off and just be.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully plan on switching off and just being, but my schlub time will be done consciously, and not just be something that happens.  For the record, today had a large amount of schlubbing,  it is my last day of holidays after all and the planned trip to the zoo was put on hold by the weather.  So it was conscious schlubbing, deliberate schlubbing. 

It feels odd to be deliberate on everything. Not uncomfortable, just unusual.  We spend so much of our lives running on auto-pilot that we aren’t really there.  We don't really see what’s around us, or hear what’s being said.   We get ready for the programmed interactions and respond to them even if they don’t transpire.  We respond to conversations and questions that bear little or no resemblance to what was actually said.  We plan and change plans for situations that may never occur, even though we are convinced they will, or worse, that they have occurred, even though they really haven’t.  So why do we do it?  Why do we flick the switch to auto-pilot? Is it just ease?  Is it that we are too busy?  Are there too many distractions from the moment we are in?  Is it that we can’t be bothered?  Is it arrogance? Or maybe conditioning?

I think it’s a combination of all these, but here’s the thing.  We spend our lives so busily worrying about the future, or just trying to get through now that we are never really in the moment.  We spend our days letting our lives slip through our fingers. I guess thats one of the reasons I shoot the streets.  If you are not present, if you are not there, in the moment, you don’t get the shot.  If I’m worried about what will I shoot, or if I’m disengaged I will not see anything worth shooting, even though I am surrounded by incredible moments.  

It forces me to be in the zone, to be mindful, to live in the moment.  There are days where I will shoot nothing, and it comes down to my not being present.  The worst thing is, most of us spend our lives this way, and I am just as guilty of this as anyone else.  

So here’s a lesson I have learnt from the streets.  Be there, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.  If you aren’t, you are just going through the motions.  My subjects deserve better than that, I deserve better than that. It’s true of all facets of my life, and it’s true of most people.  We all deserve better than that.  I’ll see you in the moment.