When I let myself be quiet enough, I notice the lessons everywhere.
I had been feeling ill-at-ease about not writing or creating that coincided with record rainfall and dreary dark days. Finally the sun made a brief return and I ran out with my camera, eager to record as much Beauty and Wonder as I could. It was during this photo junket that I realized something profound.
I have to be willing to follow the butterfly.
Even if I had a plan to take photos of something else. Even if it means changing direction.
I have to be willing to keep my focus and risk losing the butterfly.
Sometimes what is in front of me, directly in my camera’s focus, won’t be there for long. A water drop. A busy bee. The light falling just the right way. If I don’t stay and take this photo, I may chase after a fickle butterfly who refuses to pose.
I may lose both pictures by chasing one.
And I have to do both at once.
I have to always be willing to shift my focus, and always be able to stay in focus.
This works for business, too, by the way, and love and friendship and my daily schedule and pets and food and, well, you get the picture. (you see what I did there, right?)
When I’m taking photos, I am constantly reminded that I can’t get every image I see. Yet, often things I didn’t see will be revealed in my photos. It’s the plus side of not-knowing: that beautiful seemingly-magic revelation.
The facts of the subject matter can be so tenuous. Water drops, stretched beyond their limits, will succumb to gravity. Light from the sun will swing from softly bathing to washing out every detail to darkening beyond visibility in moments. A snail will turtle, a bird flush and a bee buzz off to the next flower.
And don’t even get me started on the butterflies that won’t pose!
Yet, despite all those misses, all those beautiful images never recorded by my camera, never revealed to you, I still run outside to get photos like a kid following the ice cream truck. And I always seem to have exactly the images I need to share with you.
I have to be ready to follow wonder. I have to be ready to let wonder pass. I have to be ready to choose.
In that oxymoron, that seeming contradiction, that’s where my spark is.
The birthplace of creativity.
It’s not so much a balance but the point where my contradictions meet.
In every moment I have to choose. And in every choice I can not know the outcome.
If I follow her will the butterfly pose for me? Will the light stay this perfect – or become even better – if I leave and return?
If I don’t share some photos today, will I disappoint my soul-family? If I don’t write something soon, will my people still be able to find me?
I can not know the answers. I can never know all the answers.
And, believe me, I’m the sort of person who wants to know all the answers. All the time.
But if I knew the answers, would it still feel like wonder? If it were a sure thing, would those pictures still feel like magic?
Even without knowing, I have to choose.
And I can choose to trust that I’ll make the best choice.
I have to breathe deeply in trust that I’ll get the right pictures, that there will be another butterfly, another water drop, another day of sunshine.
I have to trust that the days without writing, without feeling the inspiration of the photos, will reveal something I couldn’t know I’d see.
Trust. It’s only as easy as being willing to follow the butterfly.
It’s only as hard as revealing something I didn’t see.
How do you breathe trust into your life? Where do you need help growing trust?