There is something about being in the desert all alone with nothing but a camera. I did a drop off where my wife left me for a bit and I walked into the wilderness a bit to experience this vastness on a more personal level.
It was getting dark, storm clouds were on the horizon, intermittent lightning as well, but this was a one shot, disconnect to connect moment, sans electrical gadgets, just me and this.
Why? Because it’s something we don’t do very often, totally disconnect from everything, spending time with ourselves. A lot of people are afraid to do that, spend time with their selves, possibly afraid of what they will learn about themselves.
Me, I welcome it. I’m used to me. I know that sounds kind of funny but its true. I’ve talked about that in earlier episodes on the Finding Subjects Podcast, about feeling alone as a kid, staying up in my room listening to music, finding my faith very early on, I guess it can be said I’m a thinker. I’m totally cool with it and welcome it.
So as I stood there, in this photograph of nothingness to some, but everything to me, I stared in wonder. It was getting dark there but lighter somewhere else across the globe, billions of people sharing this place, experiencing life as it is in their worlds, hopefully OK, but for so many, not so much.
It is quiet there, in that photo. But even the quiet has a sound, a low hiss that is possibly nothing more than what we hear when there is nothing to hear.
And as I stood there I thought of nothing and simultaneously everything in my life, and I said in a very low whisper, ‘Thank you,’ to God for giving me the awareness to be mindful of everything mostly, especially moments like this that forge memories within our minds that we will always have.
I closed my eyes and stood there, breathed in, out, listened, smelled, taking it all in, the desert, far from everyone, well, my wife wasn’t very far away, she was in the Jeep just over the ridge. But this…I was so thankful for this.
I remember thinking about my childhood friends, and how much we would have loved to explore areas like this. A little bit more dangerous than where we grew up, but never-the-less we’d be out here, deep in the wilderness, overnight, camping, searching, exploring, learning, finding, and suddenly my mind flashed back to those days of exploration in the marshlands, finding turtles, pheasants, and suddenly I caught myself and returned to the now, to then, in that photo.
It’s extremely easy to get sidetracked while being mindful. You have to stay in the moment, take it all in, appreciate it all, and everything else goes away, it’s just you and that place.
I then get to a point where I know I’m done, and my thoughts slide to great appreciation for being mindful of being mindful. I know that sounds funny, but that’s how it works for me.
Did you ever think your life would turn out the way it did for you? In a million years I would never have guessed all of the things that have happened to me would have occurred, but that is the journey of life unfolding before us.
We make decisions, attempt to guide ourselves, while situations and circumstances dictate our general direction, we guide and steer when necessary, but eventually end up where we currently are, with slight say in the matter.
Where I am? I’m good with it. It’s not at all what I had planned for my life. The wife, the children, their happiness, yes, those were things I hoped and prayed for, but the rest…the details…I often feel like a co-pilot in my own life, maybe that is the reality of things, that misconception we are in control, when actually our control is depicted by the actions of others and how we react to those actions?
I remember thinking that someday I hoped to travel and see the world, meet people, learn about them, have a solid job and make good money to help my wife and kids have a comfortable life, continue with my love of photography and writing about all of it, then sharing that experience with others with the hopes we can learn from each other.
Funny how that all turned out…everything but the one thing, and yet it still seems to work. Beyond strange.
I pray. I’ve told you about this before. I do say prayers in the sense I communicate with God, meaning, I have conversations with God, talk to God daily. I’ve learned from many years of searching and being pissed off that I never hear back that if you are looking for a response to your prayers, you read the word, and there in lies your response. You want answers to questions, you’ll find them in the word, and in that way, one of many ways, God answers.
I had some questions this morning. I’ve been at a crossroads with the podcast. You will never believe this especially if you know me personally, but I am actually at a loss for words lately. Yes, you heard it, me, at a loss for words.
Why is that? I really don’t know. Maybe, possibly, I’ve said everything I wanted to say in the journal? Not certain. But simultaneously, I do feel compelled to write again, which I find interesting.
So here I am, or actually, there I was, sitting there, opening my bible app, with the question lingering in my mind ‘Am I on the path you want me to be on? Am I doing your will?’
There are no more burning questions in my life than those two. They are the most important questions and I think about them daily, to the point I actually find myself sitting quietly, observing everything around me, listening, which is nothing short of miraculous to anyone who knows me.
‘Quiet Tony? Heck, Dude, what’s wrong with you?’ you may be asking.
I’d respond, we all have something bothering us. Of course all of the testing I’ve gone through the last several months has me in a different mode, but honestly, it’s not that.
I have arrived at a certain place in my life where I am confident everything is going to be good. My children are grown and they are strong, intelligent, independent women who will have excellent careers and more importantly, street smarts and survival skills that will get them through life.
My wife and I have gone away together several times and have realized after all these years we are still best friends and we love each other.
What’s left? Money, fame, fortune, material wealth?
I just believe I have found something worth more than all of that. The band ‘Boston’ sang about it. People have been searching for it since the beginning of time, and yet, me, the kid from the middle-class blue-collar community who on paper never really achieved much, has indeed found everything that truly matters…Peace of Mind…
When you peel away everything that is forced upon us in the material world, you are left with only yourself. I am so very thankful that everything I have gone through, continue to go through, and will go through, will continue to forge the man I have become, and hopefully I will continue to be around to share those experiences and thoughts with you.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading. God bless you.
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