Excuse me, but I'm going to cough all over you in this post today (#sorrynotsorry). I want to expose you to the contagion of creativity right now because I was re-infected this weekend by an artist named Kiel Johnson. During his talk at the CCCA conference he said he was infected by creativity and so he wanted to cough on us, lick us on the cheek, and do whatever he had to do to see it spread. Watching him share his passion it was hard to not get drawn in and want to cue up to be "coughed on" like a blessing by this passionate innovator.
Below is a short video about a project that kicked off his recent series of work: creating art with others. In this case, Kiel was invited to create with a group of high school kids and they kind of ended up taking over the(ir) world.
What's amazing is that the original idea, reported Kiel, stemmed from a Halloween costume he'd made. Someone saw that, asked him to help their high school students do the same. They did it, got excited; then a large corporation saw it and had Kiel come and make cardboard robots for them. All this prompted Kiel to begin working in a new project, with some cardboard (a cityscape), which he shared on social media, someone saw it and invited him to a TED conference. There he turned it into a community art project, and other people invited him to their countries to help their people create art based on their cities. Just writing it out now I'm struck by how fitting the contagion metaphor truly is.
All this got me thinking about (well, a lot of things, but in particular) why I create and offer photography classes (as opposed to only teaching through other venues, which would be simpler). It's much easier to show up, teach, and go home. But when I craft a class for you I get to cough all over you. We have the time and space to stop what were talking about, go on a mini-assignment to capture something. We can break up into pairs so those who need a little more attention from me for a moment can get it. We can imagine together what we might photograph next. And because we go about learning this way, you get to cough all over me and everyone else there. We learn together.
Ah! I'm so excited. I can't wait for our next photo time together: Saturday, March 26 from 2pm-4pm, where we're going to explore the more creative aspects of photography. If you want to come get coughed on, dust your camera off and register today, or click below to learn more.
Today was amazing. You were amazing. You came to a room full of strangers, camera and flash in hand, eager to learn, uncertain of the outcome. And you showed up anyway.
We talked, shared, experimented with our camera flashes. I offered suggestions, you asked amazing questions. We tried new things; you were brave. Together we each left knowing more about flash photography. It was glorious.
And then, as if that wasn't delightful enough, your parting words were an unbelievable gift. Some of you said things like, "I learn so much from you!" Others said, "You have such a way of explaining things so I can understand."
I left filled to the brim with delight, and utterly exhausted, as it should be. I poured myself out and you filled me back up. Thank you.
I can't wait till next time.
Saturday was a complete and utter gift. It was our third Art & Prayer Workshop, and although I'm no longer surprised in the ways Jesus often shows up and works in our lives during this experience, it's always a surprise to see where and how he works.
Feeling a bit in the groove of the timing of the day (and no longer feeling the neurotic need to keep checking the time to make sure we're "right on it," whatever that even meant) I was able to sink into the experiential space, to process my own feelings surfacing through this visual and Scriptural process.
Sitting on the pebbled front porch of the home we met in, with my Prismacolor markers and a technicolor rainbow pencil, over and over I heard with great comfort: "Trust the process." It's a message close to my heart these past years, and in this moment it not only applied to the process I was facilitating for those who attended the workshop, but also in my own life. As I sat with it a deeper meaning emerged.
I'm invited to trust the process not only in the workshop, in my journey with Jesus -- but in the details, too. Trust the process in my health, in my finances, in my vocation. Trust the process. Just show up, and let Jesus do his thing. It's not a recipe for success, but a relinquishment of the control I fool myself into thinking I have. I can't guarantee the outcome, I can only respond to the invitation. And that's a really uncomfortable thought for me. I love control. It tastes and feels so good at times. But there's no adventure, no risk, no freedom ... no life in security and control.
I walk from this workshop with a beautiful reminder to trust, to go out, to speak forth ... and watch what happens. Like a seed underground, I can only plant it there. I cannot make it grow. I can participate, but I cannot control.
Jesus, have mercy.