The thing about writing

is that it always seems impossible when you’re not doing it. The finishing line always looks too far away, and the process always too tedious, difficult. But that’s because to write is to struggle — that’s the very essence of writing.

I have sometimes gone back to read what I’ve written and been amazed that I was able to string my thoughts together at all, and to sometimes be impressed by the flow, structure and clarity (according to my own low standards of course). Then I recall that the process leading to that was always painful, always filled with doubt, and always required a lot more pacing in the room and talking to myself and editing than writing.

I’m talking about even those moments when inspiration strikes. You have a “brilliant” thought and you sit down to write but what comes out is banality. Your sentences don’t flow and your words can hardly express what’s really in your head. It all feels like a farce.

But when you trudge on despite the pain and put your head down to organise the words on your screen, to pull this sentence out and put it somewhere else instead, and delete entire sentences that add nothing to what you’re trying to say, and work hard to hack away at the weeds and the overgrown brush in your head, you eventually come to a clearing in the woods…

That’s when you click “Publish”.

The sweet spot

A reminder to myself: You don’t have to choose between solitude or engagement. There is a sweet spot between time for yourself and time for the world. You go inwards to find peace and you go outwards to spread peace. Seek your treasures from within and share them with others as you find them. Solitude without engagement or engagement without solitude — none of these states are healthy.

So remember, the middle way is the path. Veer to either extreme and the balance is lost.

Love yourself first, then love the world. But never forget to love the world. That, after all, is the sweet fruit of loving yourself.

We are all one.

A break

I’m on a break right now from my photography work — a much-needed break. Still pending the completion of a couple of projects, but when they’re all wrapped up in end March / early April my break will officially begin.

Things are already slowing down. Today I had the whole day to myself. I read and meditated and ate a good lunch. I spent most of the day sitting at my balcony on my favorite chair. The weather was wonderfully rainy and windy, with occasional glimpses of sunlight. My favorite kind of weather.

I’ve longed for a proper break for a long time. I have always had mini-breaks and have always tried to take time off work, but I always ended up traveling or going somewhere else and getting myself even more tired out. Then I hop back into work immediately and get more tired again. It’s an endless looping cycle of being tired.

A break will be good for my creativity. I feel I have reached a stage with my photography where, without time to play and meander and be bored, things will simply continue to be business-as-usual. I can continue to take on more jobs and continue to make more money, but the truth is that I’m not happy with where I am creatively. In order to continue down this path of photography, it is almost essential that I take a good long break and come back re-energized.

I will be “off the grid” for a few months to allow myself space, lots and lots of space, for new possibilities to arise. I want to rest and to rest well, but I also want to rest so that my creative energy can be allowed to build up again.

And not only to connect with my own creativity again, but also with my own self. I know it sounds woo-woo as hell, but I want to come home to myself and to know — to remind myself of — what I really want. I want to further loosen the grip society has on me, to slowly unlock the door that has been keeping me imprisoned in a world of other people’s ideas.

And I think a break like this might be pretty useful for achieving something like what I’ve just described.

I’ll update on my progress here, of course =)

Some thoughts

1. Sometimes I’m forced to do something I don’t particularly like and I end up enjoying myself, which reminds me that there is a great deal I don’t know about life and the world.

2. It’s not that we’re living in apocalyptic times, we just have catastrophic thoughts.

3. The days are short, the years shorter still.

4. If you can’t make yourself sit and meditate, wash dishes and meditate. It’s equally effective.

5. Do something different in order to create a day that looks nothing like the ones that have gone before.

6. Every day adds up to make up a life. Hence the small things we do every day matter.

7. I’m always happy when I wake up at 6.30am. (Even when I’m forced to.)