Sacred Breath of Editing

motor block reclaimed by sea

I question the concept of relying on divine intervention to complete a finished work. I have heard many times from writers, painters, photographers, musicians and gardeners that their creative muse works through them and it is not them creating. It is the divine, the muse, their sacred self. However, I believe it is a mistake for us to stop there. Allow me to explain beginning with this quote:

When you breathe in, breathe in the whole universe. When you breathe out, breathe out the whole universe.” – Koryu Osaka

I admit to slicing through ego thinking and allowing intuition, my muse, the divine to “have its way” with the page, the brush, the lens of my work. It is this first blush of inspiration, of whole body mind and seeing that comes from a still point where we connect with all that is… seeing, hearing and being as if for the first time. However, that is not the end point. As John Daido Loori, author of The Zen of Creativity, confides, we must continue our journey straight ahead from the mystical peak “down the other side of the mountain, back into the world. It is in the ordinariness of our lives that this intimate experience of the self merging with the absolute can begin to express itself.”

view from the top

This is why we need to learn the sacred breath of editing. Creative work is rarely ever completed in a single session or in the first instance it comes to us or is given to us. We receive or are inspired by the essence of what must be expressed. Now we must also complete the work. We must edit, taking away the extra, closing in on the core essence of what we intend to convey. The sacred breath of editing is the breath that allows us to reconnect with the resonance present when we first created the work. Then we remove what is not absolutely necessary. If we lose the resonance we know we have gone too far.

all that is - reclaimed

So just as your muse, the divine, your sacred self has a role to play in your creativity so does your critical mind applied to the sacred breath of editing. To bring your gift of creativity into its fullness requires a critical viewing, a reviewing and shaping. We must bring our whole self to our work. Trust your critical mind and strengthen its ability just as you have learned to listen to your muse. Yet remember not to invite your critical mind too soon. Savour and complete that first blush of creativity without review, editing or engaging in critical thinking. Allow the work to rest then breathe it in again and begin editing. Ruthlessly edit – with purpose, care, passion and regard for the essence which inspired you in that first instance.

Sprout Question: What might your sacred breath of editing sound like?

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Purchase photography at http://www.redbubble.com/people/terrillwelch

Creative Potager – where imagination rules. Be inspired.

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

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10 thoughts on “Sacred Breath of Editing

  1. This is very valuable advice Terrill. It was very helpful in my creative efforts this morning.

    Yes, I feel it all serves….

    Loved these parts:

    “We must edit, taking away the extra, closing in on the core essence of what we intend to convey. The sacred breath of editing is the breath that allows us to reconnect with the resonance present when we first created the work. Then we remove what is not absolutely necessary. If we lose the resonance we know we have gone too far.”

    Following the resonance is key to everything I do in my world.

    Deep Bow!

  2. So beautifully put Terrill. Creating — editing…it’s such a careful dance. I guess the key is to have confidence both when you are creating and after when you must carefully shape it. I find it is still so easy to fall in love with what I create that it isn’t easy to give myself permission to do the necessary editing. Although, as my skills develop it is getting easier.

    • I feel the same way Leanne. I actual said something similar to Jerry today on twitter…. “starting to figure out how I can digitally “paint” using my photos as a starting point… been hard to give myself permission” All of this work is editing from the original moment of creation.

      Note to readers: we have winds tonight but not very fierce so I expect we shall keep our power but one never knows… so if you don’t hear from me it is only that the power has gone out.

  3. Wonderful post! I find that I enjoy editing as much as capturing the original images. In the editing process I finally get to see the images on a larger scale. I get to find my voice in the photo, ensure that the feel is correctly conveyed.

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