Leap of Faith

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.

68 thoughts on “Leap of Faith

  1. Wonderful observations, Otto — and what a beautiful story about the woman in your workshop! I hadn’t really thought before about how much courage it can take to let go of control and be open to creative possibility. Thank you for continuing to teach us, and for encouraging us to push outside our comfort levels.

  2. Hello Otto,
    I knew I’d love reading about what you wished to share about the topic of Creativity.
    To liken it to a flowing river where we just have to jump in and see where ‘the current’ takes us…just wonderful. I resonated with this very much.
    I’ve taken the leap of faith you and loving every minute.
    Thank you, a beautiful and well written post 💐✨

      1. Oh you’re very welcome Otto and it absolutely did. I love the metaphors to things in our life alongside nature.
        You wrote also in a creative way to make a lovely point.
        Until next post,
        Have a lovely week 💐✨💐

  3. The rapids and risk taking in life…a beautiful analogy. It’s frightening but we will not regret the things we did but what we did not do…in most cases 🙂 Inspiring dear Otto.

  4. Hej Otto! Roligt att få några rader från dig på bloggen…den som nästan somnat in? Ja, jag tycker att det är synd, känner att bloggarna gav mycket mer, då de var aktuella. Mycket mer än FB, vilket verkar vara det enda mediet där man kan nå ut, nuförtiden. Ja, det är som det är och jag är inte mäktig att förändra det mediala flödet, tyvärr:)
    Hursomhelst, så har jag koll på dig och din (gamla) blogg, utöver FB.
    Har följt dig och sönerna på er tripp till Dubrovnik, en mycket fascinerande och sevärd stad, som jag inte besökt efter “Balkaneländet”. Nu närmar det sig dock, framåt våren blir det en biltur genom alla “nya” länder i forna Jugoslavien.
    Och, jodå, vi är hemma från Svalbard och om en vecka åker vi till ett annat intressant land…Island.
    Ha det gott både i Norge och i Seattle! Hoppas att du har återfått lite FLOW i jobbet och Raftingen gick bra, vad jag kan se:)

    1. Bildet av raftingen er nå tatt for en stund tilbake, men jeg håper at jeg skal komme i flyt igjen etter en lang og veldig avslappende ferie. Når det gjelder FB kontra blogging, så har du rett. Jeg trives bedre med bloggingen – som deg, men det krever også mer jobbing å holde den i gang. Nå får dere ha en riktig god tur til Island. Det er jo også et veldig fascinerende land.

  5. When you say that creativity is about letting go of control, not knowing what will happen I think of parenting. But that’s a creative process too

  6. Great post, Otto.
    “The more we let go and the more chances we take, the more possibilities will open up for us.”
    This is something that I know for sure is true, but it never comes naturally to me. However, I do remind myself, and it works beautifully.
    Thank you!!

  7. I recently shared some of my conservative oil painting techniques with a fellow artist, whose work I really admire. It was she who told me to go ahead and lose my control– and my courage with my brushes and colors will be more satisfyingly enhanced. Nice post, Otto.

  8. 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. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 💫

      1. Har alltid stor nytta av dina inlägg Otto. Allt är väl här hos oss och nu ser jag fram emot en riktigt vacker och färgstark höst. 🙂

  9. I would go a step further… Your wonderful description goes just as much for how you live your life, not only photography, I think… When you take the leap, sometimes it can get rather chaotic – but that, too, opens ways into creativity… 😉

    Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

  10. Creativity is a leap of faith, Inspiring, Otto. One of the reasons that I don’t do street photography often is because I have passion for capturing the beauty of nature. 🙂

  11. Wonderful blog. Sometimes it is hard to take that leap – but sometimes you are driven to it out of necessity. It is like opening that door to new possibilities.

  12. Thank you, Otto. This is something I needed to read. I’ve been having trouble taking an initial leap. This is a great reminder that all I need to do is take that first step and all kinds of possibilities will open up. 🙂

  13. Trusting the process… This leap of faith is so hard to take sometimes, even if previous experiences show that “in the end” it all works out and a nice finish product is the result. But I do think that after enough experience, we gain confidence in knowing that while what we hope to do will be a struggle, there will likely be a light at the end of this process to reward us. Photography has actually taught me quite a bit, but I only understand this after reading your posts 🙂 🙂

    1. It’s a continues process, isn’t it. You gain some confidence while working you way through the artistic learning process. Hopefully, at least. And do believe in the light in the end of the tunnel, even when there is no glimpse of it even. But it might be harder to trust the process, then. Thanks again, for your comment, Randall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s