January 11, 2018

You belong in the Sunlight. Here’s how to Get There.



The expensive camera gear didn’t fall over until they showed up.

I had spent about 20 minutes in the cold, windy pavilion with no issues whatsoever (other than freezing to death). But within 30 seconds of my photography subjects arriving, my portable studio strobe, light stand, and massive octagonal softbox caught the wind like Mary Poppins with her umbrella and floated forcefully to the ground. Fortunately, the bulb kept itself together, and we were able to move on with the shoot.

As we continued to wait for a few more minutes for the video pro to get there, the cold became more of a problem. But we found that if we moved into the pavilion, we were able to avoid the wind. So, we spent a few minutes huddled behind one of the walls, literally hiding in the shadows to protect our faces from its bite. Eventually, we realized that if we moved out from behind the wall and stood in the sunlight, it was a bit warmer. But, in doing this, we were once again subject to the wind.

Quite the catch-22—and quite the life lesson.

If you want to bask in the sunlight, you are going to have to brave the breeze.

Anyone reading this has the capacity for greatness at something. If you want to chase your dreams, experience the catharsis of fully engaging your creativity, and begin to see those unspoken dreams you’ve nurtured deep inside begin to come to life, you will have to leave the shadows and open yourself to the wind. Only then will you be able to bathe in the sun.

Get Away from Obstructions.

Just like I had to leave the familiarity and wind-free zone inside the walls of the pavilion, we have to leave our obstructions behind. These might be created by people around us, our situation, or self-created. Regardless of what they are, we must leave them behind if we hope to make progress.

The cruelty in this is that the vast majority of the time, the obstructions we face make sense. They will be legitimate enough to give us pause. Most likely, those closest to you will even hand over distractions and blockages that are tempting to embrace. To overcome, we must focus our eyes firmly ahead, square our shoulders, and take that step into the light.

Remember your passion—why you’re doing this in the first place. Remember why you started, and take that next step.

Leave Behind the Safety of our Box.

Here’s the thing with wind—when we are cold, it’s heartless. It will snake its way through multiple layers of clothing and find a way to smack down on that super-sensitive spot on the small of your back. You know the one, the control center for chills and goosebumps? Yeah, the wind must have an inside man at that control center, because every time I step outside, it manages to wreak havoc with my arm hair.

If we want to be a writer, an artist, an *insert creative pursuit here*, we will have to leave behind the safety of our little box. Sure, it keeps us from experiencing the wind, but the same thing that keeps us from the wind keeps us from the sun.

You must overcome the excuses, the fear, the dislike of vulnerability that is holding us caged and break out. Like Pandora’s box, once we begin to break free, the shackles fall, and stepping out becomes easier and easier.

Deal With the Wind.

Say we step out and make it into the sunlight. Guess what? The wind is strongest here. We will face attacks on your self-worth and self-esteem. Our art will be criticized, ignored, attacked, demeaned, and all manner of hurtful verbs. If we want to succeed, we have to learn to deal with this though.

Stand firm in your creativity. Trust yourself and your passion. You belong in the sunlight. How long you remain is entirely up to you!

Accept Discomfort.

While the light of the sun will warm us, there are times when the cold will overshadow it. There are seasons for everything—and, in order to pursue our dreams, we will have to hold within us the capacity to endure. Enduring, expecting, and even using discomfort as a catalyst for growth and change are traits that mark the journey of the masters.

If we can learn to emulate them, fellow Padawans, perhaps someday we will join their ranks.

Universal Truths.

Wind, cold, discomfort, conflict, discouragement, frustration, and setbacks are headed your way. If we are at all working to pursue creative expression or make a positive difference in our lives or in the world around us, it’s best to just expect them. The only thing separating us from the life that exceeds our wildest dreams is our response to them.

How are you handling the wind in your life? What steps do you take on a daily basis to set yourself up for success?



Author: Michael Henson
Image: Elephant Journal/Instagram
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Michael Henson