The Balancing Act

Darkness and light

This week marks the Autumnal Equinox. On September 22, the day and night will be of equal length. It's a good time to contemplate balancing the darkness and light within.

As the long days of light give way to longer nights of darkness, summer fades and autumn sweeps everything clean before putting us to bed for the winter.

Autumn brings change and it's beautiful but change brings uncertainty. Uncertainty is scary. These days, uncertainty seems to be the norm. In the news, in recent conversations with friends, from one day to the next, it feels like many of us are surfing major waves of change. Fear goes hand in hand with uncertainty and often directs that fancy footwork required to keep from wiping out. Although wiping out is not necessarily a bad thing, it's trust (the flip side of fear) that really helps keep us steady.

Fear is the darkness and trust is the light. It's good to strike a balance by acknowledging the fear and consciously choosing to trust that the outcome is going to be all right.

In creative pursuits, uncertainty is key. We may think we know what we're creating in advance, but the truth is that (unless we're copying) it's often only after a project is complete that we can see what it was all about. We have to trust the process without allowing fear to keep us from starting in the first place.

Uncertainty is the name of a really good book by Jonathan Fields. It's on the recommended reading list for my online drawing and watercolor course.

from Uncertainty:
Why Uncertainty Matters

"Every quest to create something bold starts with a question, a hunch, or an idea. There are far more unknowns than knowns, and that's the way it needs to be. The only way to know all the answers, all the brushstrokes, words, codes, models, forms, shapes , and data points in advance is to seek to create something that has already been created before. Which means you're no longer creating: you're replicating, turning out work that is derivitative, and that's not what we're here for.

"We are in this game to bring to life art, business, ideas, products, services, companies, and experiences that are signals, not noise—objects and endeavors that in some way add to the experience of business, culture, humanity, and life. That requires us to live with uncertainty and its trusted sidekicks: risk of loss and exposure to judgment. These qualities are signposts, at least in the early stages of any endeavor, that what you're doing is worth the effort. That it matters to you and, one hopes, to others."
—Jonathan Fields
Click here to find out about Jonathan Fields's Good Life Project.


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