Sometimes things just sort of fall into your lap and it’s clear there’s a thread that you are supposed to follow. That’s the way it’s been with this writing. It began on a whim, joining a friend in a blogging challenge. My writing voice has been silent for years. Years and years. Oh, sure, there were a few poems published here and there, but mostly….radio silence. The camera became my pen, and as I have found my visual voice, passion and purpose with my camera, I was satisfied. Mostly. I was and always will be somewhat creatively restless and hungry, but mostly, as I developed my photography skills I felt creatively full. But in the background: gestation.
And it has surprised even me, all these words come forth into being. It’s made me realize that I miss this area of my life and the unraveling that comes through the process. Most surprising is people’s strong response to it. With any creative expression, the artist is usually the worst judge of what comes forth. Often we are our own worst critics, of course, but what I mean is more than that. You just can’t even see the lenses through which you see the world because they are just part of how you see. So when someone reflects back to you what you see, or the fact that you might see things others don’t, well… it’s surprising.
Here’s a funny story: an acquaintance and fellow photographer commented today on yesterday’s blog post suggesting that I check out an author named Danielle Laporte. Her book, Desire Map, sounded familiar, but vaguely so. Fast forward to tonight while I was waiting to pick Mr. Uhler up from the bus. I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed, exploring this and that, looking at this adorable new blogger I found, rabbit-holing onto a profile of someone she tagged and I found this:
Your most valuable currency is the one that comes the most naturally to you.
Well, turns out, that was Danielle Laporte from her awesome looking book The Firestarter Sessions. Needless to say, it’s going on my shortlist.
It also reminds me of this quote by one of my favorites, Frederick Buehner.
So, it just has me thinking about my deep gladness; behind a camera watching life unfold bathed in light and shadow, color and texture. In the pages of my journal or blog unfurling my heart and hearing it echo back to me as readers resonate. But what is the world’s deep hunger? It is too much for me to bear, too much for me to taste and enter into. And how can my deep gladness begin to touch the world’s deep hunger? Does the world hunger for beauty? For authenticity? For vulnerability? Or does the world want works of artifice over works of art?
Does the world need to see what I see and hear what I say? Maybe. But the thing of it is, I just can’t help it. I can’t NOT see this way or offer let my voice be heard. It’s how I’m made and every year it becomes more refined and more authentic and I get greater joy from it and turns out others do too. The more I am true to who I am as an artist, the more people seem to be blessed. The more I hone that which already comes naturally to me, the more valuable this gift becomes.
So, what is your greatest currency? What is your deep gladness?