Surrendering to the Present and the Muse

Sleeping Hollow - Brooke Shaden Photography

Sleeping Hollow - Brooke Shaden Photography

The above work is from Brooke Shaden, a great photographer and composite artist I follow. This is just a snippet.  You really should go look at her work

This photo always catches me in the stomach a bit, clearly it speaks of jumping into the rabbit hole. Metaphorical for so many things we have to jump into on a daily basis, like our fears and obligations. We do it so much, in fact, we often don't realize we are jumping into the unknown unless it evokes a sense of fear. Which photography often does for me. But it is this surrendering into the present, the muse, our work that we must do. 

Recently a great email of profound Dharma wisdom came across my desk. Be it photography or general life, surrendering to the present or being in the present moment is tossed around much. It's also very misunderstood. This quote from Phillip Moffett nails it pretty well. 

When we surrender, we are relinquishing our demand that the present be something other than it actually is and we are fostering a willingness to be present with what is.

We, as humans, spend more time crafting what is to be, by the time it arrives we don't recognize it. We are already thinking about how the next thing or the future will be. We worry that the next thing will bring happiness; if we only had more love, money, and things. 

In photography, we often spend much time in pre-work, setting up the location and our gear. Waiting for the weather and people to align into the perfect moment. When the clouds don't clear, our hearts sink. It could be a year before you can take the time to return. All the while, you have put your hands to your ears as the muse tugs on your shirt to show you something better. Your disappointment and frustration overtake and your day is ruined. 

Practicing the art of surrendering to the present moment is an art. It takes time. Choose to practice. You've planned, let things unfold. In doing so, you shed the attachments to things being as you want. Instead, you let them just unfold and listen. Look away from the dark clouds raining on your landscape shot and just enjoy being where you are. The muse is tapping on your hand as you look down. She might be pointing you to the best shot you've ever taken.