Throwing yourself into the creative process is a leap of faith. You don’t know where the flow will take you, you don’t know where you are going to end up, you don’t even know if you will make it to the end. It’s like throwing yourself into a stream and see what happens. And trust the process. In the beginning, we dare let the stream be only so forceful—probably not much power at all, to be honest, but as we gain more confidence in the process, we take more risks and let ourselves be carried away by stronger currents.
Creativity is about letting go of control, not knowing what will happen. Any creative progress is made by leaps of faith, some small and some large. At first, we may want faith to take the first photo course, the first step toward learning a new media. Later, we may want faith and funds for further classes, seminars, a workspace or maybe even a year’s sabbatical. Later still, we may conceive an idea for a large project, a book or maybe putting our work in a gallery. As each idea comes to us, we must in good faith clear our inner barriers to act on it and then, on an outer level, take the concrete steps necessary to trigger the process; not knowing where it will takes us or whether or not we will succeed. When you start writing a novel, for instance, you don’t know whether or not it eventually will be published, at least not if you don’t already have a name.
The more we let go and the more chances we take, the more possibilities will open up for us. We find that we change ourselves and become more susceptible to the process and own development. We more clearly see that our moods, views and insights are transitory. We accept changes as something positive. We acquire a sense of movement, a current of change in our lives. This current, or river, is a flow of grace moving us to our right livelihood, companions, destiny and opens up our creativity.
Creativity is the process of finding the river and saying yes to its flow, rapids and all. We start to say yes instead of no to opportunities, maybe startling ourselves in doing so. As we begin to pry ourselves loose from our old self-concepts, we find that our new, emerging self may enjoy all sorts of bizarre adventures. By replacing “no way” with “maybe”, we open the door to mystery and magic.
Many a time in my street photography workshops I have experienced participants not seeing themselves taking close-ups of people in the street, not daring to approach strangers. Not a few times participants have cried because they didn’t see how they could dare doing it. And then suddenly they just jump into it. Not long after they can’t believe how much they enjoy it. In my last photo workshop in Cuba there was a woman, who was very reluctant to approach strangers on the street. By the end of the workshop she was going inside homes and house, photographing people up close, that for must people takes years to be able to accomplish. She took the leap of faith, jumped into the river and was washed away in a way she hadn’t anticipated.
Creativity is a leap of faith. And as we get more comfortable with the slow stream of the creative process, we will soon find ourselves washed down a river of unimaginable creative power. It all starts with letting go of our control. Do you dare?
Facts about the photo: The photo was taken a Panasonic TZ5 with the lens set at 13.1 mm (the equivalent of a 77 mm for a full format canera). Shutter speed: 1/320 s. Aperture: f/4.6. The photo was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.