The Growth Process

I’m borrowing the title of a prompt given to us in our now finished Picture Black & White class because it reminds me – well, because it just makes me feel better. “The Growth Process”, what comes to your mind when you hear this?

I have been struggling lately, and a lot, with everything. The flow is weird. There is a lot of static. I feel like I need to always catch my breath; like I’m running to stand still, but the floor keeps shifting. I want to move, stretch, fly, but I also want to land. Safely.

I worked on two paintings – and as I’m typing this I realize I may have forgotten one ingredient: “play”.  I lost track of my 365 project, and in my mind the wicked gremlin keeps judging: “you failed, you are failing, can you really cope?” while the wiser and gentle part of me reassures:  “it’s okay, start where you are, there are no mistakes.”

Embrace Imperfection. Soulful and Silly. Are you really? You impostor. 

It hurts. And you know you often times hurt yourself the most. I know.

It seemed like the latter part of May and the whole month of June was this thick land of mud I had to tread on. If I stood still, or paused, I felt like I was sinking. “Walking” to get somewhere, to do something, to accomplish tasks, had become this elephantine effort. It may sound so dramatic – well, it is. A fragile elephant walking in the mud, merely wanting to participate in the beauty of the world – but is afraid sometimes, alone sometimes, doubtful and lost – looks at herself in the mirror and wonders are you really getting anywhere with all your dreams? 

A terrifying thought for such a simple and willing flower; this image is my photo-heart connection. I posted it in Instagram some weeks back with a quote and it got a lot of likes and comments. It was like medicine. I think when you are able to express your vulnerability through an image, and some chosen words, you mend something that is torn inside. Or, you open up a little bit more, quivering, yet stronger. Maybe that is growth. It’s not always so pretty. It’s not always a grand celebration. Sometimes it is what struggles inside, silent,  and somehow loud. Alone, but one with the world.

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” ~ Mark Victore Hansen 


Note to self: Write about the good stuff; the little victories that happened “while you were treading on mud and was able to (actually) lift your legs”.


7 thoughts on “The Growth Process

  1. Your work, both photographs and words, are inspiring to me. I have been desiring more from my photography, a deeper relationship with the images I capture. Your posts have been a part of my learning how to make this happen. Also I am in Kat’s Finding Your Eye class and will be taking part in the Photo Heart Connection after reading and seeing your work. Thank you!

  2. such truthful and beautiful words, Jennifer. thank you so much for sharing them. I can relate so much to what you write about treading in mud, and about feeling afraid at times, alone, doubtful and lost, and about the gremlin inside and how I know how to hurt myself. and I do believe that telling your truth as it is in this moment is growth. this post is growth. I would be so happy to read also about the steps you take while feeling in the mud. but your beautiful photos already share how you can see and create beauty also when you don’t feel like a superhero. and it’s such a joy to be able to see them.
    xx Marina

  3. Beautiful photo, and great photo-heart connection. I can relate to your words and love the quote. As far as I am concerned there is always ups and downs, struggles and stagnation… and then, serenity and joy and a sense of movement, but this doesn´t have to be good or bad , this is only my path and accepting it as it is, surely is the best thing I can do… of course, this doesn´t mean that some moments can be more pleasant (at least in the short term, and even in the long term) than others.

  4. So much beautiful here… the acknowledgement of the uncertainty and hurts we cause ourselves, while at the same time recognizing that we need to give ourselves a break. We need to play. Enjoy what we are doing, and everything will unfold effortlessly. Celebrate our victories, however small, as they come along. Thank you for sharing your journey and reminding us all of these important things in the Photo-Heart Connection.

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