The Art of Stillness: Adventures in going nowhere

Pico Iyer is a philosopher who looks at the world from the lens of a travel writer. His books have a certain poetic quality to them. And I have been inspired by his work to travel to distant places. His latest book is not about going somewhere. Instead it is about the journey within.

The Art of Stillness is one of his shortest books — you can read it in less than an hour. It is ironic that I read this on a plane, going somewhere. The book is simple, devoid of pretense or pretentious prose. It makes you aware of the virtues of being still, going nowhere. Starting a few minutes a day, we can take this journey within. It is a way healthier addiction than that Xanax.

Or as Pico Iyer says

In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow.
In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.
And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.

P.S. The book is worth buying in print — because the photos by Icelandic/Canadian photographer Eydís S. Luna Einarsdóttir are mesmerizing.

A curious weekend

After a long week, I am on a plane again. Perhaps like monk Matthieu Ricard, “For me a flight is just a brief retreat in the sky.” Or at least that is the justification I make to myself for constantly flying from one place to another. I am leaving behind a curious weekend — one that took me back into time. Normally, I don’t look back; I usually find myself focusing on what’s ahead by worrying less about what could have been.

But I listen to Nitin Sawhney, I lose sense of the control I have on my approach to life. He makes me contemplative, melancholic and at times wistful for a life that I know I don’t want or need. I realize that’s what music is supposed to do — make you feel special things you don’t necessarily desire to experience and deal with feelings that one has buried inside himself or herself for a time. Tides (from album Beyond The Skin) is one of those songs.

The Edge

Svalbard 2017 Copyright Om Malik.

VÂrsolbukta, Camp Millar. Made with Leica SL using Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-90mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. focal length = 90mm, aperture = f4.8. Exposure time 1/1000

Reentry 

Things have been silent around here! I went on an expedition to the Arctic North, accompanied by my trusted Leica SL. I took off the watch, deleted all apps from my phone, turned off the network and got off the grid. All I wanted was ice, snow and the Arctic cold — to cleanse my mind of the ugliness that has enveloped the modern society and instead focus on the gifts of the heavens. It was a meditative  experiences I am re-entering life, and you will hear a lot about the experience, places and things. Looking forward to sharing it with you.

May 31, 2017, San Francisco 

Photo by Chris Michel. 

Taking over Leica USA’s Instagram

leicaSLI have the honor of taking over Leica USA’s Instagram account for two days — today and tomorrow. They are sharing photos made by me on recent trips to Iceland, Japan and the Pacific Northwest. Most of these are made with the y trusted Leica SL and Lecia M-Monochrome M246. As someone who has been trying to make sense of this hobby, it is great to to get this shot in the arm from a company whose products are my preferred tools. Thanks Leica USA!