The last few years have felt like a lifetime. The never ending solo travel. The stress from creative risk taking. The sacrifice of a personal life in an attempt to make work that matters. The one constant has been contemplation. Hours upon hours alone with my thoughts and emotions. Staring down my inadequacies and doubts has become second nature and I’m damn sure better for it.
The fears I deal with as an artist still creep in at times. Yet I’ve learned to address and move past them with the help of a few simple practices . Over the past few months I’ve received countless dm’s and emails about dealing with burnout and hardships in the modern world. Those of you that have reached out – here’s a few simple, effective practices to help you take the first steps to taking back control of your voice and vision.
THE PEN & THE PAD
1) Write everything down. Everything. I carry a small journal everywhere. Lightning bolts of creativity come at the strangest times. Protect them like the treasure they are. The simple action of putting pen to pad is often enough to slow down a hectic day and center my thoughts. Seeing the words manifest on paper is the beginning of a commitment to myself to follow through on the idea. Building momentum is the ultimate goal – this is the first step.
2) Inspiration comes from moving through life with authenticity and intention. Finding the sparks to ignite your passions begins with getting out of your own head. Watch two lovers pass by on a busy street. Observe the sense of wonder in a child’s eyes. Lift up someone in a time of need. Be present and observe the life around you. Ask what you can give and let your soul be filled by those who give to you in return. The journey is the only inspiration you’ll ever need. Promise.
GUARD YOUR ATTENTION
3) The world is full of meaningless distractions. Learn to be comfortable in solitude and silence. Go for a walk without technology. Practice a form of mindful meditation. My greatest inspirations have come during solitary moments – left alone to deal with harsh realities. Sit with your confusion and your doubt and your pain. Know that those feelings aren’t rock bottom. They’re the first chapter of your comeback story.
4) Write down your mantras. Define your purpose. If I walked up to you and asked what your life’s mission is – you should be able to tell me in 2-3 sentences. Begin a strict process of surrounding yourself with people that push this mission forward. Creative ruts become so insignificant once you’ve defined your purpose.
5) Allow yourself reminders of when you felt lost creatively. Feel those moments again briefly and let them drive your passions. The images below are a small series of images I’ve shot on film over the past few years. They represent lonely moments of isolation and pain. These were the low points. The darkest of dawns. I’ve developed such a deep appreciation for those moments and the growth they’ve given me.
I’ll leave you with words that have always propelled me during those times.
The world needs your art. The world needs the ripple effect you will ultimately create. Chest out, head high. Never ever stop showing up.