Something I’ve been thinking about lately is the creative process.

You have to completely let go of what it is you expect to see.

You let yourself feel the energy, the drive, to put something forth. You get in touch with what that feels like, and you sit down, and start.​​

But you have to be ok with your efforts going whichever way they will. It won’t turn out like you thought.

It’s Not Up to You

It will have an echo of your thoughts, and hopefully the mood, the desire, the impetus behind your efforts will come through. But what the thing actually looks like – if it’s going to be truly organic, truly created – is going to be beyond your thoughts entirely.​

As a case in point: I sat down to write about something else, and this is coming out instead!

You have to start seeing yourself not as the creator but as the channel. You have a certain influence over what you choose to express and which way the energy goes. You can set some good intentions.

But once you’re engaged and willing to receive the creative flow, it’s really no longer up to you. ​

The Seeds of Creativity

Your job during the actual work of creation is more like a gardener. Setting up the environment, moving things out of the way, ensuring adequate nurture – all of this to allow space for the thing that is not you, that comes from beyond you, to take shape and grow.

It’s like having children. True, they come from you and your partner. They are a part of you. But in a significant way they are not like you at all. They are something entirely different. ​

When I was young, I used to wonder what my future children would look like. I used to think of names and try to imagine them. Well, now that they’re here, I can confirm that I didn’t envision even a shadow of who my children actually are. I gaze at their faces and see parts of me, parts of my husband. But I’m also seeing something completely different. I watch them grow into their own selves and think: Where did you come from?​!

The raw materials, the seed of this little person entrusted into your care is beyond your control and imagination. They pretty much just show up. (There’s actually more to it according to the Talmud, but the end feeling of “Who is this strange creature in my arms – absolutely familiar and yet altogether mysterious!” – remains the same).​

Let it Go

Your work, as the gardener, is to ensure a healthy environment for your little seed to grow into – well, into whatever it is they are meant to be.​

And this requires quite a bit of acceptance and letting go. You have to come to terms with the fact that your child, who came from you and whom you created, also comes from beyond you – and will go beyond you. They will not be who you think they’ll be or who you think they should be. ​

They will be the fulfillment of who they are and who they’re meant to be, if you let them.​

Your creative efforts, your projects, your babies. They are yours and they are not yours. Be there for them, give them space to grow – and the hardest part: step out of the way when necessary.

Let them come into their own.​