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"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." – Maya Angelou

Images of New York City: Looking at Life and Work with New Eyes

Through a different lens. PART 2

Reflecting on the lives we live, the question remains—how can we look at it with new eyes?


Are we able to look beyond the obvious, the mere physical objects that our eyes, optic nerves, and visual cortexes—our brains, register? For many of us, even that is a haze. We are too busy with our manicured, über-managed lives to notice. And if we do notice, do we register—does it impact us at all?


It’s more than pausing to smell the proverbial flower—it’s about opening ourselves to be inspired again, and challenged, by simple things—the best of which is often free. It’s the things we see, that we read, people we meet.


I attended a writers’ conference in New York a month ago. I wrote about what I saw and observed in my (part 1) post on August 30th. I challenged myself to see if I could capture a different aspect of the city—of its people—of its visitors. My goal was to challenge us as a collective, but also challenge myself—perhaps try and open my own eyes, and look with a different focus.


Many, if not most of us live busy lives. Many have (important) jobs to run to, (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), we have important things to do, to accomplish—deadlines to meet, goals to reach, results to collect and record. And yet, in the process, we become so busy with life, with work, with family, with sports, with self—that we become oblivious, blind to life, to people that pass us by.


We miss much beauty, many opportunities to be inspired.


Let’s open our eyes and look with new eyes. Enjoy.

It can never be said too many times—don’t neglect your friends. Never. And, be a friend. Friends care. Friends listen. Yes, being a friend asks time.


On the left is a black bicycle rickshaw, its driver dressed in comfortable summer attire. On the right of the image, are two black SUVs—unmarked taxis. The journey in all three of these vehicles will be an experience. The SUV will get you in more class, faster, and “unnoticed” to your destination than the rickshaw. However, you will remember the rickshaw ride for years. Why?


“At The Races.” (Ben-Hur)


Actors Jack Huston and Tony Kebbel, who play Judah Ben-Hur and Messala respectively, in the 2016 Ben-Hur movie, had a month to prepare for the chariot races. Every day they would learn, start chariot racing with a single horse, then two, until they could handle four horses. But, nothing prepares you for it, they said. Even if the bottom line is—just stay in the chariot. Simple enough, but hard to follow advice. And did I mention, it was exhilarating and dangerous.


How hard are we willing to work, to learn and master a new skill?


Does your job suck? You feel people don’t appreciate what you do. You have to crawl underground with a headlight fixing cables and pipes and what not, while other “regular people” can do early evening shopping, having fun.


Here’s the truth: No city can function without these street teams! You guys are tops!

The new business model.


I walked, taking pictures, so I didn’t take a ride in one of these bicycle rickshaws. If you look closer you’ll see the minute(ly) rate. Nope, not the hourly rate. $4.99 per minute. (It is possible that I’m wrong—I have astigmatism. It’s $299.00/hour)


Yes, my thoughts too—relocate to NYC! But, his is a dangerous job. And that goes for many occupations.


What is a fair wage? Would you like to apply?


Isn’t it amazing? We all have birthdays. This man’s sign reminded me of the fact. What is our first reaction when we pass a person with a sign, asking for help?


If it’s in our power—do something about it. Why? Because it changes us—irrespective of our choice—doing something or closing our eyes and looking the other way.


Here’s a question—how do we treat our veterans?

We are the original.


Many say it’s impossible to be “truly” original. They say there is nothing new. Take literature and writing as an example—there are those who claim everything has already been said—all we do now is dress the old writings up in new clothes. That is not true. You can have original thoughts. Yes, we are influenced by our experiences and the world we surround ourselves with. Don’t allow others to dampen your enthusiasm. Go—be original. Give yourself the permission.


Who would we rather be? The two actors on the screen, the man keeping the street clean or the people inside having a meal? Often we don’t have that choice. “Life happens,” as the expression goes. But our attitude remains vital. Also being grateful. And, more important, never look at others, down your nose. (We may be off of that billboard or out that shop, faster than we think.)


I’ve always wondered why people fly to New York to do shopping. Now I know (They’ve discovered this shop …)

It may serve us well to remember—you get what you pay for. Then again, simply bumping up the price does not guarantee quality. What’s a man to do? Do your homework.


He has 8% body fat. Don’t worry—I’ve made that up. During the three hours I walked around the perimeter of Central park (okay—it took me that long because I took pictures!), the one thing I noticed in 90% plus of the people, was the total abandonment with which they walked or ran or cycled. It was impossible not to notice. Kudos, New Yorkers! You guys rock!


This guy was going so fast on this new stand-up-peddle device, I had trouble capturing him on film! Fortunately for him, the Traffic cops only came on duty after he left. Who said exercise can’t be fun? And, the fitter you get, the more fun is! Try it.


I kid thee not—this ride is “only” $3.99 per minute ($239/hour)!  I think it should be the other way around—the scenery here is much prettier! I think these passengers were unaware of the water fountains.


The city fathers were gracious enough to those who don’t carry a water bottle around. Don’t let the temperatures dictate too much what you can or can’t do. Be sensible and get out! Stay cool—stay hydrated!


Be a reprieve to others. Be kind. Who knows, you may soon need some yourself.

And, as I left New York City after four days (which were over far too quick), I kept asking myself—have I learned to look with different eyes? Am I looking closer and deeper and noticing the person, the human behind it all—and the beauty?


Or simply open your eyes and enjoy every single experience. You don’t need to fly to Hawaii or New York to have a “great experience.” It surrounds us every single day—wherever we live or find ourself.


Let’s open our eyes—inspiration surrounds us!


If you found any value in this photo-post, do share it with others.


© 2018 Danie Botha. All Rights Reserved.

All photos by Danie Botha.

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