There was a time, not so long ago, when I couldn’t see what I would be doing in the future. Cancer does that to you. Only the day you are living is relevant. Just get through that. The future is a distant country. Now, it’s clearer, like the view on a hazy day. I can’t see for miles, but the immediate land in front of me has revealed itself.

Over the last year I have been living through a rites of passage. Initially, I severed all contact with past work to just deal with the day to day. I have lived through the threshold stage, where everything is questioned, considered, forgotten and uncertain. Where decisions about how to live post cancer are slippery and insubstantial.

Finally, I have reached the third stage of this process: incorporation. This is where you have absorbed everything you have lived through in the life change, and you have emerged from your chrysalis ready to fly. Or not. I find that it’s more of a gentle walk, noticing what you see along the way, carefully negotiating life’s choices, with one eye on the past.

I’ve got as far as the first port of call: a reflection upon life and mindful photography. Over the last year I have written a memoir of the last twenty years. It’s working title is I blame Middle Age and Margaret Thatcher. It’s with a few beta readers now and I hope to finish and publish it this year. It explores how I became a running obsessive, how that led to a life changing health crisis, how I took the long road to acceptance, and eventually got there in time for covid and cancer.

Meanwhile I have started work on a summative book of Mindful Photography. Over the last eleven years I have written and shared five eBooks, blogged on the topic, run online and live courses and workshops, and have practiced what I preached. One keen YouTuber called me a “stalwart of Mindful Photography”, and the Amateur Photographer magazine interviewed me as a leading proponent. Google the term now and something from leeaspland.com usually pops up on page one.

I have decided to collate a definitive book. It’s working title is A mindful approach to photography saved my life (and it could save yours). It reflects on how to become a Mindful Photographer and the benefits of this approach. It’s full of direction, explanations and techniques. It will be illustrated with my photos and accompanied by practical mindful photography activities. Knowledge and skills will be developed through practice.

Not only will this integrate well established photography skills developed in a mindful manner, but it will also embrace well-known mindfulness courses: the MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, first developed by Jon Kabat Zinn, and the Mindfulness for Life course offered by the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation.

All of this will be offered in a practical and straight-forward manner that I have honed over the last eleven years, a period of time decorated with major life challenges. I haven’t just taught this approach; I have lived it. A mindful approach to photography has saved my life, and it might just save yours!

I intend to self publish the book in traditional form and initially only make it available through my website. If you are interested, subscribe to this blog at the bottom of this page, and you’ll get all the news. In the meantime I wish you a Happy New Year.

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