Life goes in circles; it pulsates like waves—up and down, again and again. Nobody is constantly happy and most people aren’t constantly miserable, either. As sure as daylight is replaced by night every day, so does our emotional state rotate back and forth—it swings from one extreme to another. Relentlessly. It’s part of being human being, and it’s part of our human psyche. To be able to feel moments of happiness, we need to take the occasional trip down into the darker states of our minds, and vice versa.
Our creativity is no different and only part of this emotional roller coaster we are all riding. Sometimes we feel completely in flow; there is no end to what we can accomplish, ideas and revelations seems to bombard us effortless from a place outside ourselves. Sometimes, however, we feel completely in a rut, the flow has gone, our head feels like dead meat; no matter how hard we try, nothing comes out of our efforts. Again, we need one to get to the other; nobody can constantly be a cornucopia of creativity.
I know this, and still when I am down, feeling like I am groping blindfolded and see no way out, I can’t wrap my head around this acknowledgement. I can tell myself consciously that soon I will be on my way up again, but it’s like my body and my unconscious mind won’t believe it. There is no conciliation in the fact that it’s always been like this that I have been down— and up— many times before. Yet, I can’t give in. I just have to wait for the turnaround, because I do know it will come, even if it doesn’t feel like it will.
Right now I feel in a rut. Feel like nothing I do is worth much or anything. I have lost faith—temporarily I know, but nevertheless. The last, maybe six month has been quite a struggle, many of the project I have pushed forward have crashed. Hope and aspirations have fallen along with each project crash landing. I tell myself this will soon turn around, but then instead another project goes down the drain. It affects my creativity, it changes my perception, it disturbs my flow. Lately I haven’t done any photography I can truly be proud of. Yes, I am professional; I can flow on my many years of experience, but it’s not flowing, the photos aren’t standing out—at least not in my eyes.
When I get in this state of mind, I usually push even harder, trying to force myself out of the misery, forcing some flow to happen, pushing new projects into being. Sometimes it does work, gets me back on track, but often it does the opposite. The more I push forward, the more I fall back. The more I analyse what is going wrong and how can I get out of the rut, the more I lose traction, the more hopelessness is taking a grip on me. The more I search for the light in the end of the tunnel, the more I go astray in the dark.
This is when I know I have to let go. I have to stop pushing. Just be with whatever is. Instead of pressing for a change, I need to discover once again the small wonders that surround me all the time—and right now; the budding flowers sprouting out of the soil, the gentle rain falling on my face, the love from those who are close to me, the sound of friends laughing, the sent of curry from a nearby vendor, yes, life in all its shadings and mysteries taking place all around me. Stop and just be. And I have to be willing to accept the feeling of misery that I carry right now, that it’s a natural part of being human being, not something I should try to push away. Accept it and embrace it. Just like I need to accept that my creative well right now needs to be replenished, that the flow is not available for me right. If I start to embrace all this, things will soon start to change again—whether I want it or not. Only then I will find my bearing again.
Facts about the photo: The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 5D MII and a 16-35 mm lens set at 24mm. Exposure: 1/40 of a second and f/22. It was processed in Lightroom and the app Camera Zoom FX with the filter Faded Night.