Trusting the creative process

The truly lovely -- although perhaps distracting -- thing about being a photographer in the midst of creative turbulence (what on earth shall I do next?) is that nature keeps providing images that require little or no artistic endeavor to be satisfying.

I shot this one from my living room window on a snowy day; you can see reflections of the snowy bank on the opposite side of the house mingling with the birds and water I was actually shooting.  And doesn't the log itself look like some sort of giant fish?

It seems to me to be a reminder that we need to learn to trust that whatever spirit it is that we were born to manifest will shine through us even when we don't feel we're contributing much to the process.  Shaun McNiff, in Trust the Process, has some wonderful thoughts to share for times of creative frustration:

In my painting studios I constantly see people going through extended periods when nothing seems right.  It can be excruciating, like being forsaken in torment.  But I have learned that there is always a purpose working its way through the difficulties.  Invariably, the blockage generates a new dimension of expression if we can stay with the process.  I try to let the bad days go while accepting their place in my expression.  The creative process knows the way, and I have to trust that it will take me and my environment where we need to go.

...Giving up is also part of the process.  Surrendering. Quitting the chase. There comes a time when I have to accept the inevitable and let go.

...Even after our most successful creations there is the challenge of the next one.  We don't realize how the most successful artists may suffer more than we realize in relation to expectations about what will come next.  They might fear that the gift is gone, that the muse has deserted them, that the inspiration will not be there when they return to the studio.  They are typically never satisfied with yesterday's success.

...As you practice the creative process in any discipline, try to remember that disappointments are inevitable.  They are major elements of the process which somehow contribute to the overall energetics of creative expression.  There has to be an interplay between highs and lows if we are to access the most transformative chemistry of creation.


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