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.