Our Inner Pendulum

We all have an inner pendulum.

Almost every aspect of my life swings wildly between extremes. It most often swings between “I am less than” and “I am more than.” It often shows up when Lanny gets more admiration than me and I am suddenly catapulted into the “less than” him side of the scale. It forces my psyche to do mental gymnastics to get me back to the “more than” side of the pendulum.

The opposite experience weighs on me in a different kind of profound way. The “more than” space feels like I am lacking the humility and humbleness traits that I value in life. This forces my psyche to do more mental gymnastics to get back into the “less than” mindset. I can swing between these extremes 2–3 times in 30 seconds.

The craft of photography is the same. I swing between I am a rock star photographer (more than) to I am an imposter (less than). At the start of the wedding day, in particular, I’ll swing between these two states many, many times. These pendulum swings are more distinctly obvious when we’re creating. Because creating feels risky. Creating involves putting so much of ourselves into the work. So the pendulum swings even harder and higher, flailing wildly on both ends of the spectrum to protect you.

What we need is to find our way back to a balanced middle ground with a way to harness the dizzying effects of the opposing sides of our psyche. We need the oppositional dialogue to incite creativity, but without the pain of second-guessing our wins and our losses. Without the pain of being IN the extremes, and instead just observing them from an outside perspective, despite the fact that it’s all happening simultaneously inside our brain.

That groundedness comes from taking a huge leap OFF of the swing. Riding through an empty space, catapulting through the still air, and sticking the landing somewhere on the ground.

This is the place, feet firmly on the ground, having just felt the delightful weightlessness of flying through the air, that sets up our best playground for creativity. Creating from that grounded space is a tiny taste of glorious freedom.

Leaping more often helps us learn how to land with both feet on the ground. We will continue to fall many times. But, the more we leap, the less we fall. It’s the process of leaping and landing, especially when we’re off-balanced, that has the potential to inspire us to create. It helps to grow new neurons in our brains, helps us to shift the inner dialogue towards a humble middle ground. And reminds us that we are both less and more than in the same sweeping breath.

Love, Erika

P.S. A huge thank you to someone behind the scenes (my writing coach Zoë Gemelli) who helps me put my chicken scratch of random thoughts into coherent words.

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