Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Postcards from London - "I Am Here!"

by Carol H.



“I See You!”  “I Am Here!”
                                    ~ Traditional African bushman greeting


In Mark Nepo’s book The Book of Awakening he shares this traditional greeting to illustrate the simple yet profound importance of bearing witness to each other. When one becomes aware of his brother or sister coming out of the brush, he exclaims, “I See You!” to which the one approaching rejoices, “I Am Here!”



Brian & I arrived in London on a Saturday morning after a full day of travel. We headed to our hotel to check in, then straight to the tube heading for Notting Hill. Brian had been here several times before and had experienced the massive Saturday market on Portobello Road. He was anxious to share it with me. We entered the street to a throng of humanity, pushing and shoving their way from merchant to merchant. I was overwhelmed. I was taking pictures, but felt detached from the process. It was as though I had lost myself somewhere over the Atlantic sea. This feeling went on for 3 days. Have you ever had that experience of feeling detached from what you are doing? As though you are floating away? That is how I felt.


On Tuesday we were to meet Xanthe Berkeley in East London. As we got off the tube, we were instantly lost. The GPS on my phone was of no help. Instead of reading our location, the little blue dot that is supposed to represent us was wondering all over the map in circles, mirroring my biorhythms. We stopped into a café to ask directions. Let me say right here that Londoners are the most wonderful people. Given that London is the world’s largest tourist attraction, you would think they would avoid any interacting with us. Instead we are greeted with a sincere smile and a willingness to help. The young woman in the café set us on the right track, but of course we were running a bit behind now and I worried about keeping Xanthe waiting. I was about to call her when my cell phone rang. “Hello Xanthe. I’m sorry we are late. We got lost.” “Oh no” she said. “It’s alright, I believe we are on the right track, perhaps just a minute or so away.” “Oh”, she says “I See You!” I look up and see her. “Yes, I Am Here!” We approached and gave each other a big hug.



I introduced Xanthe & Brian, then we stepped into a café for coffee. After that, Xanthe took us on a walking tour of East London, which was awesome. As I was taking pictures, I could feel myself coming back to me. I was grounded. I said to myself “I Am Here!”


We make art in all its forms and send postcards when we travel as a trail of where we have been and where we are. Our human attempt to say “I Am Here.” Our gift to one another is to bear witness to each other’s existence. Thank you Xanthe for seeing me!

Please share pictures of your travels, whether it is to another state or country, or through your day at home or in your neighborhood. As we look through FocusingOn Life’s Flickr site or on Instagram, we can see all of your lovely images and exclaim and rejoice “I See You!”




11 comments:

Viv Halliwell said...

wow I really must get up to London I have no excuse have I ? it's great to see my capital city through your eyes...

Carol said...

Such an honest dialogue, but Im glad Xanthe shook it out of your system! And how great that you met up! These shots are great too - looks like fun.

Viv - isnt that funny - Im 40 minutes from NYC and how often do I go in? We all take home for granted!

heyjudephotography said...

"I see you!" "I am here!" You've written a great story that wove everything together so nicely.. so great that you had a wonderful London visit and saw Xanthe.

Cathy H. said...

I enjoyed your first impression of London. It's a place I'd love to visit! I think when we're dropped into a new place it takes a little while for us to absorb everything and get our bearings. So glad you're sharing your trip with us!

Barbara said...

Loved this post Carol so you, so insightful.

Katie said...

that greeting is so, so wonderful! so much happiness in two simple phrases. your trip sounds amazing!

Dotti said...

My face broke out in a huge smile when I saw you and Xanthe, arm in arm, smiling at me. Such a joy to see! And so much fun to read about your trip and see your photos. I'm right now reading Edward Rutherford's 'London', so it was with special interest that I perused your lovely photos.

kelly said...

carol i just loved what you said about our gift being to bear witness to one another. yes, to be really seen...how beautiful. thank you for sharing your memories with us.

terriporter said...

Oh, seeing you two together just makes my heart sing! Amazing photos of your time in London but more than that I love the story you wove among the photos. I hadn't heard that quote but I love it! To be seen -- what a gift that is! Thank you, dear Carol, for this wonderful post!

Kelly said...

How fabulous meeting Xanthe-it's like meeting a movie star!! London is one of my all time favorite places to visit. I'd love to go on a castle your. Europe is so full of such rich history. Wonderful post Carol.

Sarah Huizenga said...

What a wonderful trip. Brings back good memories from our trip there is 2007. Must go back some day. Thank you for sharing these.

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