Flashback: The Art of Completion

September 7, 2016.

Here's a bit of an oldie for you, writers. This piece was published on my personal blog (back when I had a personal blog) on March 27, 2014, after I released my first album of sacred music. At that time, I was pregnant with my daughter, and totally unaware of the new and vibrant worlds that would be opening up for me in the very near future. It's amazing what can change in 30 months! Still, this piece has something to offer for those who have struggled to finish or let go of a creative project, and questioned what it will mean in the world. I hope you enjoy it! 

Love,
Bryna


The Art of Completion

(March 27, 2014)

My very first album went off to the printer today.

There's something incredibly rewarding about bringing a project like this to completion. I worked for most of the winter on these recordings, playing all the instruments myself, recording each and every vocal track separately (and there were MANY, I can assure you!). Then, Caleb Poirier (my engineer/mixmaster and cherished baby bro) pored over each mix for hours, tweaking every little nuance, fixing every little glitch. I know it was worth it, and I hope everyone who hears the album will feel the love, sweat, and occasional tears that went into it. 

And yet, at the same time as I'm basking in the glow of this completion, there's a part of me that just doesn't want to let go. Maybe parents feel this way about their kids, when they realize that they're all grown up and living their own lives. (I supposed I'll find that out in eighteen years or so, when my little moonbeam becomes an adult in her own right.) But there's a sense that maybe there was more I could have, should have, might have done to make this project even more perfect, even more ... I don't know, exactly, just more. And so there's a sense of nervousness combined with inevitability - since, for all intents and purposes, the project is now out of my hands.

Finishing anything requires from us a certain amount of surrender. At some point, whatever we create will leave us behind, and become something unique and independent of us. A piece of music becomes a reflection of its listener, a book becomes a companion to its reader, a painting becomes a window into energy and emotion of its seer. Everything is subjective, because everything a person perceives is filtered through his or her own senses, expectations, likes, dislikes, and discernments. So while I've poured a tremendous amount of myself into this recording project, I have to recognize that, ultimately, I have very little to do with how it's experienced by the people who hear it.

I'm not sure how other people in creative fields deal with the fear that comes with exposing a creation to mass scrutiny, but this realization was supremely helpful for me. Most of my life I've lived in the heavy shadow of my fear of judgment and rejection. This manifested as crippling perfectionism, intense self-criticism, and a steadfast refusal to take pride in my work. Terrified that someone would scorn what I created, I chose not to reveal anything at all. (I have dozens of early song projects on CDs and 4-track tapes sitting in my closet to corroborate this.) I used my fear as an excuse to stop creating for nearly a decade before my yoga teaching practice and my amazingly supportive community helped me find the confidence to crawl out of that shadow and start looking at what I had to give right now, instead of what I could be doing better.

This time, for better or worse, I'm finally stepping forward to own what I've created, and it's
H-A-R-D. Giving myself a timeline helped; if I hadn't had a firm deadline, my poor brother might have found himself at the mixing board until the end of time, fixing issues that no one but me could hear. I know what I've created isn't "perfect," because nothing in this three-dimensional realm can be perfect, and perfection means something different to everyone anyway. What I can assert is that these songs are the best expressions of me as I am right now, at this moment. They are my offering to the ones I love, and to the path of practice and devotion that has led me to a place where I can bring my gifts fully into the world, without shame or doubt.   

So today, as I release my project into the hands of the divine once and for all, my prayer for all artists and creatives is this:

May you know that your gifts are of your highest divine nature, and meant to be generously shared

May you know that what you do will touch someone deeply, even if they never tell you

May you believe in your own creative potency

May you stop, once and for all, comparing yourself to others

May you see yourself as those who love you see you, which is always as the best version of yourself.

Blessed be!