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  • Columbia Hillen

Caressing Creation

Updated: Nov 16, 2018

I have tried three times today to light the fire. Tried the usual methods – paper, sticks, a little turf and wood. Added coal. Nothing. Change position of sticks, blew in it, covered it with paper. Nothing. I kept staring at it, poke it, shoved it, trying to understand what I was doing wrong. It would not come alive. Then I just let it be and went for a walk.

When I came back, my fire was smiling at me, small flames, but strong enough for me to know I would have a fire that night.


I began working on my photos, content with my fire. That’s when the spark just hit me, a thought just sank in while I found this photograph, that I had taken several years ago in Kerala, India. I remember watching the simplicity of the man whose hands were molding this clay, sitting on the floor, his big smile on his face encouraging me to try. He was not staring at this work, not forcing it into shape, but merely caressing it into finding its own form. He did not speak English and I did not speak Hindu and I did not get his message until today, while trying to light a simple fire. ‘Hands on’ had a different meaning.


I have been trying to boost a project since the beginning of the year. Worked on it for hours, conventional methods and less conventional ones. And I was staring at the plans last night and could not understand why it was not taking off.

I still don’t know, but I think I will just go for a walk on it, for a while, and see if I can find a way of ‘caressing’ it rather than ‘manage’ it. Just like my fire, maybe it needs a break from my demanding energy to find its own course.


Neale Donald Walsch said “...that trust is not necessary when you don't want or need anything.” But we always do, don’t we? That’s the fun part. So we need to trust and then we may feel the detachment necessary to release the creation. But then here is the question: how can one be detached and still remain passionate?

I really want to light the fire under this project. Deep down, I trust it will work, but, just like any of my generation peers, I want it all and I want it now.


Many a walks I might need to go on to, until I learn that it takes time for a caress to gain meaning, until I learn to detach myself but retain the passion.


How do I caress creation without controlling it?

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