Practicing

I’m currently taking an online documentary photography course in order to stoke a little fire in my creative loins.  So far it has been somewhat inspiring but kind of the same old rules I’ve heard before.  This week however, hit me like wrecking ball.  The topic was Blocks.  All the reasons that photographers, and people in general get blocked.  There were several listed, and they all had one thing in common… fear.  Ugh, fucking fear.  This one little four letter word.  It’s the root of all evil, right?  I don’t normally like to dwell in past regret but I decided to do a quick scan of my life to see where fear kept me from living out my dreams.  Doggone it, it popped up so many times I stopped counting.  Fear of being judged or not being liked seemed to run through most of these regrets.  We’ll just call that fear of rejection for simplicity sake.  So what about my heroes, are they just more likable than me.  I doubt it.  In fact I have a special affection for those who live their truth in the face rejection.  It makes them all the more relatable and endearing.  Some of my favorite artists, comedians, actors, musicians, and politicians, have a very loyal following of haters.  It only makes me love them harder.  So why do I stumble when my own soul asks for the same unconditional love and freedom of expression?  I think it comes down to a lack of practice.  

I recently had an epiphany about the idea of practice and how big a role it plays in our emotional well being.   We accept that practice is paramount in the arena of physical health, and the acquiring of knowledge.  We cannot show up to the gym once, or read one book and expect to see big changes.  But I never really thought about my emotional health in the same way.  I know I’ve heard it told to me before, and this isn’t some novel idea, but for some reason it never clicked until now.  It’s a gradual building up.  I’m not gonna have lasting peace from one yoga class, and I’m not gonna conquer my fear of photographing strangers the first, second, or 50th time I attempt it.  It’s a practice.  Seems easy enough, but it doesn’t really start to make a lasting effect until you push against the edges, over and over again.  It’s a lifelong practice to keep ourselves running at our fullest potential.  If we slip in our practice, we slip in that potential, and that’s okay too, because we can always begin again, exactly where we are.

 

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Welcome to 2018

Before I jumped into the new year intention setting I did a little reflecting on the past year and all of the good, bad, and ugly.  Like every one before it, there were many changes, many lessons, many hellos, and a few goodbyes.  But 2017 was kind of monumental for me.  It was the year I began to let go and put faith in the present moment and all the emotions that came with it, acknowledging things for what they were without making a jump to change them right away.  For most of my adult life I have struggled with depression which sometimes presents itself with anger and frustration and sometimes with apathy and sloth.  But this year was different.  I seem to have found myself dug out from under all that sadness.   I can't put my finger on one certain thing that did it for me, and truth be told, at times there is an impulse to warn my heart that this may not be over.  But it feels so damn good, and I feel for the first time that I am back in the driver seat of my own happiness.  This is not to say that I'm shitting rainbows and walking on clouds, and some days are better than others, but it feels sturdy and steadfast, and un-extraordinarily miraculous.  Which is, I think, how it's supposed to feel.  Though many things played out this year, my suspicion is that I was present more than I have ever been in my life.  It's hard work holding onto past pain and trying to force the future into your vision of perfection.   And after all these years I don't want to live that way.  I want to tuck those learned lessons into my toolbox and then burn the story, I want to set intentions for my future and then sit with open palms to receive what is meant for me, even if it looks nothing like my vision.  So for this new year I won't make any bold moves as being present is enough for now.