I’ve noticed. It’s one of the reasons I don’t have very many pictures of my children in their school performances. The other reason is that school performances, and certainly any lines or solos my children may have, are about seven seconds and if I have the camera in front of my face for even a moment or two, it’s like I wasn’t there.
I thought of this the other day when the Black Eyed Peas were on Good Morning America. A camera panned the crowd from the back and all I could see were hands in the air holding cell phones and cameras, snapping pictures of what I’m assuming for much of the audience was once-in-a-lifetime. And I thought, I wonder if anyone is just being there.
In New York, I was determined to do that. I told you when I stood on Bow Bridge, I texted my mom, saying I’d dreamed of actually being there and now I was. How could I be sure I was taking it in? And she texted back, Just breathe. Which was very Yoga of her. I think yoga actually helped me learn to do this more. It’s a very be there kind of thing, yoga. I remember doing it at home once without any music. And I could actually hear the ticking of the second hand on a clock that cost approximately 9.99 (hardly a big, classic one with the musical Tick-Tock to it), and it felt so good to be moving with time for once instead of against it. That’s what yoga taught me and what I determined to do in New York. And almost without exception, I succeeded.
But then, I remembered this picture. Isn’t it beautiful? Taken from the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Top of the Rock. You can see the lower level of the observation deck – to get spacial context, you know – some of Manhattan’s skyscrapers, and Central Park stretching out beyond. I love it. I adore it really, because I was there. I’m the one who took the picture.
But here’s the thing. Like the singing of patriotic songs by two hundred kindergarteners in red, white, and blue, my moments on this platform were miniscule. The group had already told me they were ready to go when I was on the platform below – where I definitely didn’t get enough time for yoga either. But I was not going to come this far and not at least stand on the higher level. So up I went. I didn’t pause to look, I wasn’t even there, but I snapped a picture on the Lower Manhattan side and then on this side, with the view of Central Park. And I thought, I’ll look at it later. And hopefully with the combination of having actually climbed the steps and feeling the wind, then seeing this picture, it will be like I was there.
And I’m so glad I did that. I wish I had done it in more of the places we breezed through, because some things I’ve already forgotten.
So now I realize there really aren’t any rules for how to be where you are and take it in. Maybe a camera puts you more there than not, because you’ll always be able to look back and remember. I only know you’re more likely to be there if you breathe. In the words on the journal I just got from Michael for my birthday: Love the life you’re living. I hope you are.