Appreciation Creativity Prompt

As Osho said,

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.

Osho’s words arrived in my life several years ago, at a time when I was feeling similarly plucked by a partner, either intentionally, or unintentionally. Back then, boundaries were not my strong suit. In fact, I was arguably more fearful of setting a boundary than I was of simply weathering the storm. So, life, of course, stepped in to show me that it would be necessary.

The fact of the matter is, we all offer something. Many of us spend our lives searching for our purpose. I am a firm believer that when something is meant to live and breathe through you, it makes itself very apparent (whether or not we realize it). And, when you aren’t doing that thing, it only gets louder and more painful.

Back then, when I felt I was being plucked, I was on the precipice of a long and winding and heart-breaking-open kind of journey. I yearned to be appreciated for what I offered-and not possessed-so hard that I wanted only to find a sacred space within the world. And in response, the world only doled out harsher and more painful lessons until I realized I had to be that for myself.

I always held the flower. It was time to appreciate her.

There it was: the revelation. The resolution. The process, one of climbing up and out of a hole that had pulled me downward. It became a practice of finding new ways to appreciate myself, whether through touch, connection, hibernation, hiding, emoting, numbing, embracing, owning, etc.

In the years that followed, I learned how to say NO. The more I did so, the more I made space for honoring. Even if it felt like an endless desert. Even if the creature that knocked on my door next felt hopeful, but turned out to be a mirage. Even if I got thirsty, and even if any number of things might happen, and even if I made a mistake along the way. NO was better because, ultimately, it honored my YES, and I would wait for my YESes to arrive in due time, whenever that is.

It isn’t something that happens right away; in fact, it can take a long time. The thing I learned along the way is that you don’t even always have to be your own practice ground. There are beautiful things in the world that we can learn to appreciate, just as we learn to appreciate the beauty of the big and the bold and the quiet within us.

In a literal interpretation of Osho’s words, I developed this creativity practice. I began to capture flowers in their essence. Without disturbing, without possessing. I would photograph them in their un-plucked wildness, sometimes finding my pictures were enhanced by the natural bounce and movement of the elements around them.

Here is one of many flowers I have photographed up close over the years, a vibrantly colored tulip I found in the blustery, late February chill of New York City. I can still feel the freezing rain on my face. This particular bud wriggled in the wind at me from the shelter of a bodega across the street. Upon sight, I rearranged my path, and I captured the world within her before continuing on my way for soup dumplings. Mmmmm.

Of course, the things you appreciate on Osho’s level do not have to be quite so literal. This is what you do.

Appreciation Creativity Prompt

What is something you appreciate? It could be a person, a place, a concept, anything!

Take note of whatever it is you appreciate about it. This is how you find the right dimension.

Make sure you have consent.

Once you have found your subject, capture its likeness in a picture without directing, disturbing, nudging, suggesting, interfering. Photograph its essence, even if it blurs around the edges or it bounces away from you in the wind. The movement can be beautiful, when you approach with appreciating eyes.

Notice how the light hits. Notice its shadows. Notice any asymmetry, any imperfections, any flex inward, outward, toward, or away. Let it occur to you. Let it open up to you.

Then, let it go.

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