Photo by Author

I smoked a little of my homegrown while soaking in the bath this evening. The tiniest bit, because it’s potent. I figured that out yesterday, when I smoked just the littlest bit more than a tiny bit in my pipe in the late afternoon and felt the littlest bit anxious and uncomfortable for a short time.

T. told me that that feeling is the need to give your energy an outlet. A reason to engage in movement. For me, that also means engaging in expression. I need to remember that. Need to be aware what kind of headspace I’m in when I choose to smoke weed.

Sometimes I think it’ll help me relax and ground down, but if I’m already moving too quickly, it’ll amplify that kind of frenzy and make me feel the opposite of grounded. For just a short period, if I’m mindful and lucky.

How am I expressing myself right now? Today it was in the kitchen baking a batch of E.’s low carb crackers and playing with seasonings to make something tasty and distinct.

Today it was walking through the woods with my DSLR and paying attention. Not a difficult practice for me because I’m always paying attention during these slow and quiet walks, noticing the way the sunlight frames a swathe of ferns with an ethereal symmetry, the way a cobweb catches fire in the shadows or the glossy red cap of a mushroom stands vibrantly in a bed of fallen needles.

Sometimes I feel guilty how much I enjoy capturing nature with my camera during these walks, because “shouldn’t you be more still” and “shouldn’t you be more present”? The fact we’re all constantly running around with our phones trying to capture perfection instead of simply savouring the moment makes me feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong when I go trudging into the woods with my camera slung on my shoulder.

But you know what’s interesting about these walks and the practice of noticing my surroundings especially hard and taking special care to try and shrink the feelings into a photo? I’m more grateful and fulfilled and present than I probably otherwise ever feel.

I focus the lens and hold my breath and finally press the shutter, and I’m keenly aware of everything around and within me. Sometimes the picture doesn’t turn out and I carry on. There’s no point trying to make it happen if it wasn’t meant to be.

Those times, though, when I glimpse a preview and see that what I’ve experienced has been so perfectly captured by the camera? Exhilaration. Elation. A swell of excitement that I’ve done Her justice.

On a Sunday afternoon on which I’d imagined myself being creative, there’s the thought I’ve failed my in intention because I failed to pull out all the remnants of the mixed media project I worked so diligently on last weekend and which I’m now not so sure of.

I allow myself to believe that I haven’t succeeded in making art, in being creative, when in reality, the hours I spent in the kitchen stirring together muffins and seasoning and rolling crackers was art. Was expression.

The 45 minutes I spent trailing through the woods with my camera in tow; that, too, was art. Expression.

I’m hard on myself when it comes to my creativity. I feel like I need to be able to have something to show for the privilege of calling myself creative.

I think it’s why I got so obsessed writing over the spring and summer. It gave me immediate pay-off for being creative and granted me the right of calling myself writer, artist, creator.

A small part of me, a flicker inside, tells me: write. You should write!

And I think that my problem has always been that when I feel that flicker, when I sense that distant tugging inside, I have a tendency to overthink it. To philosophize and question the follow-through and turn the idea around in my mind eleven-hundred times in an effort to assess every possible angle.

I feel like committing to something, actually doing something, requires a careful evaluation of how that something fits into my sense of self instead of just doing it. Instead of just trying it and seeing what happens.

When I take photos in the woods, trying with all my might to capture the hazy sunlight filtering through the trees, I’m literally, every single time, trying it to see what happens. I don’t fuss over the end result or keeping beating my head against the wall if I can’t make it work.

It’s not as though I’m incapable of this practice in my life, so why do I find it such a challenge to implement it elsewhere?

Why, when there’s a flicker telling me just write, do I hesitate and back away and try and figure out if the idea is true and therefore worthy of my time?

Why not just try it and see what happens?

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store