Oh my friends, it has been a wild journey this year. And perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to let go. To let go of what holds you back, makes you feel scared, or tells you that you can’t achieve what your greatest hopes are. If we feel those negative feelings, if we feel held back, it is so often because we ourselves will not let go of what makes us feel safe. In a span of one week, between an experience I had in Chicago and hosting my Promoting Passion Convention, I had that epiphany. I realized that I could blame others for failures or, even, a lack of success, or I could own up to my shortcomings. Good things come most reliably when you change. Moving the thing that was blocking goodness from coming in is the way to move forward. And so I decided to remove that blockage.
A couple weeks ago, on the last night of PPC, I gave a closing statement to everyone gathered in our room. I recapped what we had talked about, and the ways in which we had grown together as a group. And then I made my final point, the thing that I felt that PPC was hinged on: Letting go. And so I did. I called for a pair of scissors, and in that moment, I hacked half of my hair off in front of everyone – a gesture, an invitation, for everyone to let go of something that holds them back.
Have you any idea how silly I am for caring so much about my hair? Chances are, you get it! It is just one of many things that we hold tight as something that defines us. Do you know that when I asked around if I should cut my hair, the number one response was “No, what about your pictures!”. Can you even believe that I listened to that horrible advice? “Yes,” I thought, “what about my pictures!”. And so I held on to my hair for the last six months. Until I had a revelation:
What kind of artist am I if the success of my images resides in my hair?
I’ve noticed something fantastic since I chopped my hair off, too. And that is this: When I allowed myself to release one burden, many more fell away. I no longer felt trapped by who I am as an artist, I felt the freedom to grow and change as I wanted, and I felt emboldened to share more of my true self with those around me. Vulnerability comes with letting go, and with that vulnerability comes strength. I would rather be a stronger person because of being more raw and true, rather than building a casing around myself that no one can crack. There are two ways to fight a war.
I am going to be a bit quiet over the next three weeks as I travel. I have videos prepared for you but likely no way of pressing upload on them as I’ll be traveling between India, Cambodia, and Thailand with limited internet access. And I’m going to soak in every bit of it. I’ll update you when I can, and will share lots of videos when I return!
And for an update right now…I’m going to open THE LIGHT SPACE! Thank you all so much for supporting this project through and through. The Light Space is a photography school for survivors of human trafficking in Kolkata, India and thanks to your support, we finally have enough donations (monetary and equipment) to open the school and get things running. The Light Space is in partnership with Blossomy and New Light India, and my dear friend Amy Parrish will be teaching the first semester along with local guest instructors.
And did I mention I’m going jungle exploring in Cambodia/Thailand with Lindsay Adler? I’m still waiting to see if she brings hiking shoes instead of heals! Just kidding…mostly.
All my love during this grand adventure!
And a question…
Tina - You look beautiful and I can’t wait to see those first ‘burden free’ images! 🙂
I’m in the process of letting go of my life and its comforts and securities as I know it. In a couple of months I am leaving everything behind to embark on my new adventure of being a (digital) nomad with no place to call home in the traditional sense. I am beyond excited and can’t wait to hit the road and make experiences & friendships to last a lifetime!
Paulo Carvalho - First I must say that I already see this new look of yours, and I must say you look beautiful. OMG! Lindsay and you, exploring in the jungle! It will be so awesome! Have a great time there! Great act to cut down your hair in PPC. Awesome symbolic act you did! These are acts that define you as a great and lovely person you are. It certainly was not easy, but you did it as a strong person you are. I admire you so much. I wish you all the best for these next events. I will send you an email today, with a something new and also an idea that may involve “The space light”. Stay well!
Paulo Carvalho - Of course, where is “the space light”, should be “THE LIGHT SPACE” 🙂
Patty Maher - Brooke – your new cut looks gorgeous…and really it’s all solved with one word: ‘wigs’ even cheap halloween ones can look great in a photo. Heck you could shave your head bald – which would be a cool thing to try sometime 🙂
I’ve been reading “The life changing magic of tidying up” and have consequently let go of bags of things…it’s very freeing!
Best to you,
Elisabeth Ladwig - Love love love the new look!!! So super cute.
Thank you for getting the wheels spinning. Will have to give some thought to what I’d be willing to let go of.
Congratulations on The Light Space coming to life!
Margherita Introna - Brooke, you look beautiful. I think you would look good with any (or no) hairstyle. You just have one of those looks and auras about you. Having said that, I will miss your beautiful long hair – but that is simply because I have tried for my whole life to get my hair that long and well, I am still working on it. At least now I will have some time to catch up :p I do not agree though that your art would suffer with you having short hair… you have created many images with others of a variety of hair length and those images have certainly not suffered. I also have no doubt your new hair will provide the inspiration for many new characters and stories to follow. So, fear not 😉
What have let go of that makes me feel safe? On 1 September I resigned from my job. I resigned from the position I loved and have held for over 12 years. I have been permanently employed since I was 17 years old, but this is the first time I have resigned from a position without another permanent position to move into. The reason for this drastic change? Well, to cut a long, horrible story short, I was forced into a situation that left me in an uninspired environment. And to me, being inspired was everything. This was a very scary move for me for so many reasons, but now I get to follow my heart and focus full time on my fine art work. Over the last few months I have been creating a studio in my home and I am so excited about the future <3
You can read the full story on my blog: http://www.margheritaintrona.com/#!New-season-new-dreams/c20iz/55e618930cf24e84f75e995b
FIT BMX - I first saw those photos of you and couldn’t figure out what looked different about you, and I didn’t catch it until I read you post! LOL 🙂
You looks great!
Lea M. Callais - First of all, you are beautiful. Love your hair the current length because it appears thicker and has more movement. It gives the impression that it is no longer weighing you down, that you are starting a new phase that is strong and bright.
Second, you are beautiful. THE LIGHT SPACE will not only provide an amazing opportunity for the survivors, but the opportunity to thrive! You are amazing because you had an idea to make a positive change in the world and you made it happen, instead of lamenting about problems. You have created a positive solution – that has prompted other people to take action on your project and assist you in different ways to make this happen. I want to say thank you for making this happen. The world needs more people like you.
Third, I know what I want to let go of, and that is fear and insecurity. Due to the issues I have associated with my Multiple Sclerosis; I have trouble finding words – leading me to hesitate during a sentence, I repeat myself, I frequently go off on tangents, I forget what I am talking about, and I have trouble remembering names, I am hesitant to engage people I am not familiar with in conversations. I need to remember that my loved ones express their fear of my deterioration by being frustrated with me – and they can because I am family and they can do that… I also need to remember that if I were a person without MS and I were talking with someone like me, I would be patient with them and gently bring the conversation back to the topic gently – and that most other people would, also. I know I missed such an amazing opportunity at the Promoting Passion Convention not getting to know other people more than I did. But, I am proud of myself for actually taking that first step of putting myself in that environment. Baby steps got me to where I am not. I just need to start walking – really fast! 😉 At the next PPC – I am sure I will engage with the other participants more. I need to remember that even though I have limitations due to MS, I am beautiful, also.
Rachael - I’ve made a commitment to let go of control, at least in my relationship with my boyfriend, for at least one month. To stop needing to have power over every little detail and just relax and try to live in the moment and enjoy it. That doesn’t mean over looking what I need or desire, but honoring it and owning it without shame and without needing to control how (or if) it gets met. *gulp* Wish me luck. 😉
Laurie Ganter - Thank you. I’m going through a major life changing event and I felt as though you said everything I needed to hear.