the Me Ra Koh Blog

1500+ Posts to inspire

Artist Living

Bits of Nourishment from Underground

Me Ra Koh

As the new week begins, I wanted to share some bits of nourishment that I’ve received in the last couple months.  Remember the post I wrote back in December “Journey to the Fallow Fields”?   I heard a clear invitation within my creative spirit to go underground and allow for space–time–for new life, new ideas to come forward.

A woman named Beth graciously left a comment in that post.  Her words rang with such truth that I have turned them over, again and again, in my heart the last couple months. She wrote; as the farmer allows the field to fallow this season, she is already planning ahead to the next. She knows the soil needs to be cared for continually. She knows that the wheat from the previous season took a heavy toll, so she will not ask the soil to do so much again soon. She will ask for clover. Maybe the next year oats. She knows that even with a rest, high demand with no change will slowly wear away the ability of the soil to sustain the life that relies on it.  The last sentence is what rocked my world.  Beth has no idea how divine her comment was.  She was speaking right to my heart.  I love how this community does that for each other over and over again. 

Even though my travel schedule has been full since that December post, I’ve been dedicating time each week–each day if possible–to allow myself to go underground; to willingly sit in the dark where answers are far from obvious, to ask hard questions, to listen, to unpack, to wait.

Bits of nourishment have seeped through the ground.

I LOVE what Julia Cameron writes on the idea of going underground “Hatching an idea is a lot like baking bread.  An idea needs to rise.  If you poke at it too much at the beginning, if you keep checking on it, it will never rise….Open that oven too soon and the bread collapses.  Creativity requires a respectful reticence.  The truth is that this is how to raise the best ideas.  Let them grow in the dark and mystery.”  Let them have space to rise. (Happy Birthday Julia!)

As these new ideas rise, I’m invited to revisit what I want.  It’s hard to give new ideas time to rise, but the next part is even tougher for me.  Answering the question “What do I want?”  A wise woman recently told me “Be sure you know what you want because you will surely get it.”

Do you know what you want?  Have you taken time recently to get real specific with what you want?  Doesn’t it feel awkward?  Almost selfish?  And yet, this same wise woman continued to say “Get as specific as you can in regards to what you want!  Get detailed!  Write it down!  Me Ra, why work so hard for something you may someday realize you never wanted?”

So I took the journal out and wrote down a few of my wants, trying my best not to edit along the way for the sake of just starting!

-continue homeschooling the kids

-travel less with work and take more adventure trips, like Thailand, with the kids

multiply the mission to empower women by finding new ways to empower women so they can take the next step and empower other women (TV Show or something else that is totally different?)

-go on a spectacular 15 yr. anniversary trip this July with Brian

-create even more space for Brian’s ideas take flight

“Get more specific then that Me Ra!  Hammer out what those things look like.  The more specific you can be, the more likely these ideas and goals will succeed.”

The goals we set must be birthed from a clear understanding of what we want.  I’ve met countless photographers who are working towards business goals that sound good, but they don’t necessarily know if meeting those goals will give them what they want.  They haven’t taken the time to write down what success looks like for them.  Do you know what I mean?

In the book Five it says “People who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t, and yet 80% of Americans say they dont’ have goals.  sixteen percent do have goals, but they don’t write them down.  Less than four percent write down their goals, and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis…”

As I’ve been spending time underground–as I’ve been creating space to let new ideas rise–I’ve also been simultaneously asking myself, “What do I want?”  These wants are starting to shape up into revised goals.  The goals are a mix of last year’s goals with new additions–new life from underground.  I have a feeling that this little bit of tightening I’m doing is going to make all the difference in years to come.

Jon Acuff was the opening keynote speaker at Blissdom.  I’m so bummed I didn’t get to hear him, but I got a copy of his book Quitter.  There are some wonderful bits of nourishment within the pages of his book.  I love how he challenges us to Define our Enough “…you are guaranteed to get to enough when you define it.  You only find enough when you tell enough where to be found…The first taste of success, of winning, awakens the giant of enough.  And if it’s not already defined, it will grow out of control.”

Brian and I were talking in the car yesterday about when and why the switch happens from looking at other photography websites and being inspired to looking at other photography websites and feeling like your work isn’t good enough.  I wonder if it’s because some of us haven’t taken time to define “our enough”, and thus we haven’t defined what success means for us (more on this later), and in turn, everyone looks like they are better, smarter and more talented.  Does that connect with anyone?

What about you?  Did you make goals in January for 2012?  Have you been able to pause from working on them to make sure they are still what you want?  Did you know it’s okay to change what you want?  If your wants change, it doesn’t mean you’ve wasted anytime.  But here is the thing…I think sometimes we are afraid of this being true, we fear wasted time, and so we don’t step into the dark.  We don’t go underground.  We don’t allow ourselves to ask the question “What do you want?”  The answers don’t necessarily scare us as much as the fear of hearing wrong to find we’ve wasted our time.  But there is no wasted time when building a dream.  Each step, each project, each work gives us something more we didn’t have before–taking us one step closer to our dream.  (Even if our dream transforms along the way.)

Before the week is in full motion, take a few minutes and write down three things you want.  Or revisit the goals you set earlier this year.  Are those goals still matching up with what you want?  Do you know what success looks like for you–not for anyone else–but you?



*See Me Ra speak in Dallas, TX this Thursday night and Friday for the Legacy Women’s Conference!



  1. Sarah Nguyen says:

    Love this, Me Ra!!!! This is exactly what I needed to hear! Time for me to write down some goals for this year. 🙂

  2. Jennifer Leigh says:

    I write down weekly goals of what I want. And annual goals. But the big picture is still out there somewhere. I’m gonna find it this year with the promise to myself that the big picture is allowed to change and morph as I grow. Thanks for the reminder, Me Ra. Spot on.

  3. Me Ra says:

    Yeah Sarah!!! Makes my heart sing to hear that!!!

  4. Rhonda says:

    So GOOD!!!
    You ask what makes the difference between being inspired by others vs feeling like your not good enough & I think that, when we don’t know what we want, it’s easy to let what others do define that for us. Of course we’ll never be our best if we let others set our definitions. What encourages me in this is that I know that only I can be the best me. Once I figure out what I really want & get that in writing I can finally be on the RIGHT path instead of just meandering about, hoping to happen upon the destination.
    Love you friend!!!

  5. Where is the LOVE button? I ask these questions over and over again. Lately , for many reasons, I have been thinking that Photography to me is like Motherhood. I may not be the BEST MOM in America, or even my neighborhood, but I’m definitely trying really hard to be the best mom for MY kids (and they think I’m doing a pretty good job LOL) ! So, with this being said, I often remind myself not to compare my work with others and I ask myself: what is it that I really want? where is my life heading with this new adventure of photography? Who do I want to photograph and capture THE moment or THIS moment of their lives ? is it Kids being Kids? Or, Families interacting and trying to capture emotions an moments through an image? Or maybe Events that will be frozen in images for generations to come? I guess I will need a lot of writing down to figure things out, to figure my future as a photographer. One thing for sure is that it will be something i feel nothing by PASSION and pure JOY. BTW, it helps a lot when I think of what MeRa read to us during our workshop in Tampa about “looking for Progress, not for Perfection”. It does take a big load off my back! So long for now, have some writing to do (lol) Luv Ya MeRa

  6. Hanifa says:

    Luv it Me Ra exactly what I needed to hear today! Thanks!

  7. Kristie says:

    Thankyou Me Ra! Until I met my husband, who has clear well articulated goals he shares weekly, goals to me we’re dreams that lay unattended, hanging out there waiting for some love and action. Problem is our shared goals are moving in the right direction but my personal ones are still lying in the clouds. Think it’s time for some work on this new mum 🙂

  8. Beth says:

    So very humbled that simple words could help so much in a time of need…

  9. Once again you have the uncanny knack of writing just the very words I needed at the moment I needed to hear them. Thanks for the beautiful post.

  10. Me Ra says:

    I know what you mean Beth; it blows my mind all the time. Thank you again.


  11. I love what you said here, Me Rah, enough that I came back to revisit it this morning, and read it to my husband. I’m turning it around in my mind from the perspective of being a Christ follower. My goal in life is to do His will, to ask what He wants. But it’s the funniest thing: He designed and fashioned me uniquely, and even though I’m a older than you, I’m STILL just now at this point in my life discovering the gifts and talents with which He has designed me. I believe He designed EACH of us uniquely, with gifts and talents and works that He prepared in advance for us to do.
    So, I’m hearing the call to go underground, and sit with Him for a while, and ask Him:
    “What do You want?”
    “What do You want me to do with these gifts, talents and desires that You have placed inside of me?”

  12. Hey: would you forgive me for misspelling your name?
    Which I CAN spell, Me Ra!
    Doinking myself in the head. I coulda had a V-8.

  13. […] Photo Contest! Enter Today! HomeBlogKidsPhoto-RecipesWorkshopsWeddingsSoar!Behind the ScenesStore« PreviousMarch 6th, 2012Associated Press, The Washington Times: “Your Baby in Pictures” is Still […]

  14. Cyndi says:

    Me Ra,
    Once again, you’ve blown me over! This is a great blog! Love it!
    Of course, I’m a huge fan, so if you mention a book, or website,I’m gonna look into it. That being said, I’m looking for the book Five you mentioned. Can you let me know who the writer is and is that the whole title?
    Keep on keeping on!

  15. Michelle S says:

    I swear that sometimes it feels like you are in my head and answer my qeustions when you write these post!!!

    With the move and 2 kids now full time in school, I am given the opportunity to have time to focus on my business and have a chance to grow it to what I want it to be. Up until last week, I had no idea what I wanted it to be and it bothered the bejeezeez out of me.

    Then last week, someone posted a video on Facebook about Tyler Perry’s “Focus on one thing” YouTube video. While watching it, I figured out what I want. I want to focus on photographing primarily kids. More specifically, I really want to work on building up the special needs photography.

    Being a photographer, a mom, and an advocating mom of a special needs child defines who I am right now in life and I want them to be harmonious. I want other moms to feel the pride I feel when I look at my child. I want others that aren’t blessed with a special needs child to see how beautiful these kids are. That’s what I want!

    Thank you, Me Ra, for this refreshing post. You (and my fellow Me Ra blog stalkers 🙂 heehee) always remind me that I am not lost in this world of business, photography and self growth.