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    Magician's "Mistake"

          The flash that went off when I took this picture not only created the dazzling snowflake reflections in the foreground, but it also somehow allowed the rich pink and sepia tones to more vibrantly explode in the background. I saw the illuminated tree, and the spotlight of fuchsia, before I looked through the lens. But I didn’t see it like this.
           The camera did its own thing. It engaged the flash, even though I thought I turned it off, and it interpreted the rest of the scene the way it wanted. So this picture looks something like what my eye saw, but not exactly.
            I didn’t see the stark contrast between the tree and the rest of the environment. When I look at it now, it appears to me that the tree was literally pasted into the scene. Physically pasted. Not digitally. The way we used to do things before Photoshop.
           When I see a scene that strikes me and I take a picture of it, I want it captured the way I see it. So that I can communicate exactly what I see. But what I’m reminded of here is that my desire is just another way of me trying to control something that doesn’t need to be controlled. To control something that really can’t be controlled. What my eye sees and what the camera sees are sometimes very close, sometimes not. Sometimes I’m grateful that the camera caught it as I saw it. Sometimes I’m grateful the camera did its own thing. Like here.
           One of the issues I struggle with is allowing. I often resist, try to control, and put tremendous pressure on myself to be perfect. All in an attempt to make everything come out the way I want it. To make everything come out “perfect”.
           As I write my book, those struggles show up in my face every time I sit down to write. What that looks like is me trying to write the final book before I write any drafts. I’m trying to write the book in my head first, then just spit the final version onto the page. Sometimes I do that with life. Sometimes I try to create my life in my head, “perfectly”, then just spit it into existence. Like I’m some sort of fuckin‘ magician. Like all I have to do is create it in my head first, because my head is so omnipotent, then just wave a wand and, voila! There it is! There’s the book! There’s my life!
           What this picture reminds me of is something I heard in Al-anon years ago: “I’m responsible for the work. Not the results”. Now, that saying is not to be taken out of context. It doesn’t mean that I’m not responsible for creating my life, or that I’m not responsible for my actions. What it means is that I do not have complete control over what ultimately happens as a result of my actions. For example, when I write my book, a book that I love, a book that I’m proud of, I still have no control over how it will be received. I can do everything in my power to make it the best book I can, and I can do everything in my power to promote it and do all the other things that need to be done for a book to be successful. But the actual success of the book, the result of the book, beyond it being actually written, is out of my hands.
           It’s not up to me if you love the book or hate it. It’s up to you. Anymore than it’s up to me whether you love me, or hate me, or are completely indifferent to me. That “result” isn’t up to me. My actions are my responsibility; trying to be the best person I can be. Raising my consciousness. Making mistakes, and making amends. That’s my “work”.
           This post itself is a great example of what I'm ultimately saying. It started off as a picture, with an intention of maybe saying a little something about it, maybe not. But when I started writing, all this other stuff just started coming to me, then coming out of me. The end result of this post is not due to my controlling the flow of my writing so much as it is putting the effort in, and guiding that effort as best I can. Like an energy that is mine, that I can harness, but that I don’t completely control. I can bring the best of myself to each moment, and from that, the energy gets guided, and thus what it produces, gets shaped into something I’m proud of. I don’t so much control the result as I do bring my best to the process and allow other forces that be, forces that I don’t understand, forces that I can’t see but can feel, do what they’re gonna do.
           Geez. Maybe I AM a magician. Maybe we all are.

    ©2014 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.     

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