What is this thing that we do as artists, musicians, writers, photographers, etc... where we look for the next thing? Most of the time we create to participate in the act of creation. We surrender to something much larger than ourselves. We give ourselves, our time, our energy to produce a object, a sound, a collection of words, a capture of a moment, that become greater than ourselves. And we fail. We fail over and over. Most of the creators that I talk to about their work are never happy with a piece. They want the next one. They want to change the current one. They will burn it in a funeral pyre, spilling a little whiskey for its lost soul. This becomes the edge where fear and surrender dance lightly with each other in the awkward steps of teenagers at their first dance. As we produce more and more of these things. we learn to edit - which, by the way, can be another expression of fear, of holding back, or an intellectual reasoning of 'knowing where to stop'. But that is a different topic to explore...
What if we look at failure differently? With the 'lessons learned' type of mantras set aside, what if our failure is our success? What if we choose to look at it a little bit differently? Our courage to create the next object comes from that place - our willingness to surrender to failure. We find a place of intuition that guides us and there we touch trust and faith.
Therein lies the magical equation: Fear, Trust, Faith, Intuition and the Desire for the Next Thing leads to extraordinary advancements in our art and ourselves. To reach an audacious goal, we sometimes benefit from having it lie just beyond our grasp. The strength to linger over the long-left unfinished reminds us that something inexhaustible in us is empowered by striving, that we sense an unnaturalness in blunt ends of creating, of journeys.*
To surrender means not giving up, but giving over. There is power in that. As surrender is not only an act that finds you on your knees in the darkest of hours but it is a falling into a grace that gives you courage to make the next move. There is a beauty in being able to move forward from that space, it makes us human.
just show up,
* passage taken from and inspired by my current reading: The Rise, by Sarah Lewis