This morning I took my customary walk up to Roma's Cafe in Maida Vale and asked a lady if I may share her table. She was very warm, and gracious and welcomed me to join her at her table outside. So began a delightful conversation with a lady called Louisa.
It would be fair to say that I've become sort of addicted to striking up conversations with people I don't know. This has become quite an adventurous part of my personality in the last few months and speaking with Louisa today has conditioned my nervous system to take the first step in saying “hello, good morning how are you today?”
My conversation with Louisa was simply delightful and the high point was a simple question I asked her; "what makes you happy"? Her reply was simply beautiful, "my friends"; her face lit up like a Christmas tree.
This conversation got me present to the simple fact that my neighborhood is a friendly neighborhood and the spirit of the Maida Vale community is in direct proportion to the willingness of its people to engage in conversation and authentic sharing. I for one have taken on the possibility of “being the one” to go first – to light the fuse on a conversation that can generate warmth, humanity and dare I say the possibility of friendship.
I believe sitting around and waiting for someone to go first is at polar opposites with my personality. However, being the one means having the courage to go first. This opens up the possibility of rejection; nevertheless, I would rather the experience of rejection rather than the experience of disappointment within myself for not taking the opportunity to say ”hello”.
Louise was very open and the warmth of her being I found very inspiring. So much so, I shared with her the details about my new project in photography – “Community life in Maida Vale”. She was very open and generous in allowing me the privilege to shoot her portrait to complement this blog post.
My photography has become a lot more than just taking photographs of people; it's about capturing the humanity of people and revealing their natural, authentic inner beauty.
Every photograph I take is also a reflection of my inner psyche – being slightly reserved in nature, photography has exposed me to the possibility of expanding my relatedness with people and thanks to Louisa our conversation today made me aware of how much I love and value the people in my life and also every stranger I meet representing the possibility of friendship, that to me is truly magical. So a BIG THANK YOU to Louisa for a wonderful start to the day.x
Whilst out on my camera walk today, I observed a blond haired lady taking photographs near my local train station. I love Street Photography, and I am always on the lookout for interesting images that capture my imagination. This was a scene I couldn't resist – so I took a few photographs. As I approached her, I couldn't stop myself, I immediately said to her, "did you get a good shot"? To which she replied, "I hope so". So began a delightful conversation with a complete stranger.
Her name is Sara and she's a full-time professional wedding photographer based in London but originally from Sweden. Her website is glorious; full of beautiful compelling images of happy couples on their wedding day. She is a highly accomplished photographer.
I was really astounded at how easy it was to initiate a conversation with a complete stranger and in this moment, I experienced the oneness and humanity that all humans share.
When we parted company, I began to speculate on the beauty of our humanity expressed in the moment and at the same time the tragedy of the human condition. Why is it so difficult for people to get along with each other? Why is there so much conflict in the world? Why is there so much fear, why are we so afraid of each other when our natural birthright is to communicate, share, contribute, serve and love one another?
The need to be right, to dominate, manipulate and control are elements of a fearful ego. We weren't born like this; we were born happy, free with an innate ability to authentically express share and ourselves.
In writing this post, I am immediately present to the simple fact that the purpose of life is to create, contribute and serve one another. In the process, individuals, we can gain so much more than we ever could by operating in a realm of fear and separation.
My interaction with Sara reminded me of the great joy and liberation that is waiting for us when we take the leap of faith and say “hello” to a complete stranger. In my opinion, a stranger represents the possibility of friendship waiting to happen.
I dedicate this post to Sara for reminding me what my true purpose in life is – “to connect with others, to bond in humanity, to share my gifts and talent and to be open to the possibility of receiving the humanity and gifts from others”.
After an afternoon of preparations for my forthcoming lecture in Wolverhampton tomorrow night, I felt the need to get out and do some shooting. I didn't travel far, just my local coffee shop and Park to clear my head and think about my presentation for tomorrow night. With camera in hand, it was a perfect opportunity to allow whatever shots may come. To my delight, the "afternoon light" was perfect and I am quite happy with how my camera captured the light and subsequent shots. Enjoy this little slide show of images.
Magician, Lecturer, Speaker.