the Me Ra Koh Blog

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Overcoming Fear

Becoming a Successful Artist Means…

Me Ra Koh

I was reminded last week of how critical some people can be when you are pursuing your passion to becoming a successful artist. A number of you emailed me about how to deal with criticism, how to hang in there when you feel unwanted, unwelcome, and most of all, how to know whether or not you really have what it takes to pursue your passion.

First of all, everyone has the right to pursue their passion no matter how crazy it sounds or how high the odds are against you!

I think of my Korean dad who came to America with a single briefcase.  Everything he owned was in that suitcase; an English dictionary, two pairs of underwear and a Bible.  Some would say he was completely crazy for coming to a foreign land to find success–he didn’t even know the language!  But he had a vision for something bigger, something that others called impossible, and he knew that even if he didn’t have a dollar to his name–he owned the right to step into the unknown and follow his impossible dreams.

In 2002, I walked into a camera store. 

I was going to shoot my FIRST wedding that weekend.  I asked the man behind the counter if he could show me the external flashes.  Instead of saying “Sure!  Let me get some out for you.” 

He looked at me and said, “What are you going to do with it?” Fair enough question.  I stood up with excitement in my eyes and said, “I’m going to shoot my first wedding!”  He shook his head, rolled his eyes and said “What makes you think you can shoot a wedding?  More importantly, what makes you think you have the right to try and document the most important day of some one’s life.” 

I was speechless.  I walked out without a flash. 

But, I still went on to shoot that first wedding and would later shoot million dollar weddings.  I had a vision, a passion burning inside me. If I wanted to do the hard work to see it happen it’s my choice.  I get to choose over and over again to aim for the impossible, and so do you!

When I was immersed in the writing world, I was told that once your first book was published, you had to write follow up books in a similar vein.  If you write historical fiction, you have to stick with historical fiction.  If you write self help, you have to stick with self help.  This was the only way to find success as a writer.  Makes sense. 

Well, I wrote a follow up book to Beauty Restored.  I’ve got all two hundred and something odd pages in a file downstairs.  But there was one key problem.  The book didn’t ask me to write it, to give it life.  I did it because I thought I had to.  And when I submitted it to the publisher, I ended up withdrawing the submission, because I knew this book was not something that had asked to be created.

We all know that question when it comes. 

You are minding your own business, going about day to day life, and something new and unfamiliar comes knocking on your door and says “Create me!  Let me live and breathe!”  And we say, “But I can’t because the time it takes to try and create you–with no guarantee of what you will give in return–doesn’t make any sense.”  We close the door, abandoning and ignoring our own dreams.

On March 20th 2001, my first book was published, Beauty Restored (the same day my daughter was born!).  On March 15th 2011, five days from the ten year anniversary of my first book, my second book, Your Baby in Pictures, was published. 

One book is for women who have been sexually victimized and are desperate to know that healing is possible. 

The other is for new moms who want to capture their precious babies.  Two totally different books with two different subjects.  But there is one message.  Empo, I published my first book, Beauty Restored.  On March 15th 2011, five days from the ten year anniversary of my first book, my second book, Your Baby in Pictures, was published.  One book is for women who have been sexually victimized and are desperate to know that healing is possible.  The other is for new moms who want to capture their precious babies.  Two totally different books with two different subjects.  But there is one message.  Empowering you.

Photography as a business, not hobby, came knocking one day on the heart of this little mama. 

You want to talk about the knocking not making any sense!  I had spent the last ten years writing and speaking to women about restoration after sexual victimization.  Why would I set that all down and pursue the business of Family Portraits?  But you all know that knock, and I knew it too.  No matter how crazy it sounds, no matter how much it doesn’t make ANY sense at all, it comes and says “Create me.  Give me life.”  I knew I had to answer and so do  many of you.  And what I have found over and over again is that the answering is vital, not the end result.

You may answer the knocking at your heart and find that your predictable life has been turned upside down.  (You are in good company.  🙂 )  But losing your footing isn’t the only loss.  The day to day grind is lost too because you are stepping into the unknown and your heart is excited.  Terrified too?  Sure.  But EXCITED!!  You are stepping into a world that is full of possibility and wonder.  Life is all of a sudden infused with inspiration for your creation.  The path isn’t clear, but the excitement of what’s ahead–what’s to come–lifts you up.  And you get to answer if you want too.

Shoot, wouldn’t it be the perfect picture if those critics weren’t there? 

But they are.  And guess what, they aren’t going anywhere.  They are camped out till the end, right next to your fears, doubt and lies.  Frustrating, huh?  So what are we going to do?  How are we going to endure all the fears, doubts, and criticism?  As someone who is working toward an impossible dream, can I share what I’ve found?  This way, when your storms hit (because they will) you will know you haven’t lost your way.

As you pursue your passion, your impossible vision, you will experience storms as others stand up and say that you are crazy, offensive, silly, a disgrace and most of all, unqualified.  This is a storm that will come again and again.  So don’t be afraid.  Try your best to not let it take you off guard.  It’s just part of the journey.  And it’s okay to cry it out.  But promise me you’ll get up the next morning and try again.

Sometimes you will feel like the ship that carries your dreams is stuck in the middle of nowhere. 

You will feel like you are going nowhere.  It will feel painful and at times, incredibly lonely?  This is when I play one of my favorite songs that says, “It’s okay to be lonely as long as you know you are free.”

You must also ask yourself if you are willing to accept the fact that trying to achieve the impossible may also ask the impossible of you?  If yes, there is good news.  ALL your fears and limitations will eventually be proven wrong!  But to know this–to REALLY know this for yourself and not just because I or someone else said it–you will be asked to face them one by one.

With this information in hand, if you still want to push forward, here is the incredible news.   You will find reward that is beyond anything you can fathom now.  Your initial dreams will flourish into something more powerful than you imagined.  You will find that you are much stronger than you realized.  You will have not only taught yourself how to build a dream, but your little ones too (as they witness your success but most of all, witness you endure the disheartening days too).

As time passes, the ship that carries your dreams will gain more ground.  This will take time.  As mothers trying to pursue a passion, we often feel like Time is our enemy.  Time is not your enemy.  Instead, Time is essential and strong.  You will try to speed up the process, but in her grace, She will not let you.  Trust Time.  She is trustworthy.

Trust the creative attempts that end up being a mess.

Stay humble because the creative process is a humbling journey that is meant to serve and endure.  For example, if you fail at a shoot, reschedule.  Let yourself be a beginner.  Let yourself be a learner.   An expert can never inspire the way a courageous beginner does.  Trust the process of “making a mess”.  You will need to make a mess to get out of your own box and limitations.

If you answer the knocking at your heart’s door, nothing will be easy.  But everything will be worthy. 

The following is my Artist Creed.

May it give to you as much as it gives to me.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is not about having it all together, but the strength to allow things to be messy enough to discover something new.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is not about mastering the art, but serving the art and those who encounter it.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is not about accolades and awards but witnessing your creations bring healing to you and then to others.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is…

not about living in security and familiarity, but growing accustomed to living in the dark–surrounded by mystery.

Becoming a successful and confident artist does not keep you safe from doubt, fear and criticism, but rather gives you the opportunity to face doubt, fear and criticism so that you can be strengthened–so that you can practice forgiveness–and in the end, be transformed.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is not about beating yourself up because of how far you still need to go.  It’s about pausing, looking back and celebrating how far you’ve come.  (Christina, that’s especially for you my dear.)

Becoming a successful and confident artist is about setting sail, even when the journey itself is unclear.

Becoming a successful and confident artist is about answering the door when the Creation comes knocking.

This week is going to be full of encouragement for you.  I want you to feel replenished this week in multiple ways.  In fact, set your DVRs for this Thursday on The Nate Berkus Show! It’s an inspiring, honest show about how to turn your passion into a paycheck. One of my heroes, Marlee Matlin, is on the show, and it’s an incredible honor to be sharing a few of my own stories of how I got my photography passion off the ground and into a business. 

For all of you who felt beat down and devalidated last week, and emailed me with a heavy heart…One, I’ve been praying for you.  Two, today’s blog is for you–know that you are not crazy and especially NOT alone.  Three, Thursday’s show is especially for you.  Four, you are loved.

Where are you at this morning? Today is a new day of discovery. Was there a line in today’s post that connected with how you feel.  If yes, here is an exercise that I have found helpful time and time again. 

Write down the line(s) that spoke to your heart. 

Copy them in your journal.  Then set the timer for five minutes and write how your hearts feels as you consider those lines.  Let your words be messy, jumbled, awkward–just let them come out–let the heaviness lift.  When the timer goes off, take a moment and thank yourself for taking the time to nurture your passion, your impossible dream.  Because little did you know, that’s exactly what you did.

May you feel a lift in your wings this week!

xo,

m

  1. Gretchen McFarland

    March 28th, 2011 at 6:21 am

    Oh Mera! How timely! As a boudoir photographer and homeschooling Mom, I get raised eyebrows all of the time! I feel like I’m always explaining myself – even to my family. I usually end up smiling, handing over my business card, and say “take a look” and let the images speak for themselves. Low and behold, I then get contacted from someone who wants to book a session! It’s so easy to lose your footing, stay focused and remain consistent when you still want to evolve as a photographer. Perseverance is the key!

  2. Diana

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    It does feel very timely. Lately there seems to be a backlash against the photography moms “trend.” What I tell friends is this: Everyone has to start somewhere. A talented photographer will thrive, bad ones will fizzle out. You can’t really say we’re competing with established, more expensive studios – our clients likely couldn’t afford them anyway. And if you are really talented, then clients are getting a great deal! It’s probably fair to say that we’ll be the ‘pros’ complaining about the start-ups in a few years! It’s just the way it goes! 😉 But I agree that everyone has the right to follow their passion and see where it leads! And hopefully we can all be supportive of each other!

  3. Shelly P.

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:24 am

    As I read your post this morning, the tears came. All the fear and insecurity in myself & in this crazy idea that I could actually do this came forward. The unknown of what will come, how I can do it and all I still have to learn…overwhelming. I am so excited that I have found this outlet for my creativity that has been starving to get out but so, so scared at the same time. This post spoke to me in ways I can’t thank you enough for! It is hanging on my fridge as we speak! A million thanks to you for all you give each & every day in helping us find our dreams! THANK YOU!!!

  4. Jen

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:53 am

    This was really good to read….
    I’ve only dealt with the fact that I have no kids…and now I have felt looked down upon because “my story” isn’t maybe as powerful as someone else’s….I simply have a passion and i’m following it. I didn’t have a traumatic past, I don’t deal with the hussle & bussle of juggling 5 things at once. I know we are all given what we can handle….and I’m juggling MY pieces…and I’m handling what I have been given. I feel sometimes, if I stood in a lineup with the photog-moms and myself- having to compete with another’s story is kinda a lose-lose situation for me. So I try NOT to get caught up in that game anymore.

    I asked God recently…”what is left for me”….and I think what is great is…those that truly have the CALLING to do this…keep walking it out….MeRa I came to your workshop at Covenant Church in 2006 and I’m STILL walking this path. Matter of fact, right after I took the workshop – I started working with people. I have since been able to capture folks that maybe wouldn’t normally have their pictures taken or felt ugly…but now it seems that my gifts/callings keep evolving too. Thankful for the transformation in myself, and my ability to help others. It only gets better every day I’m walking the dream. 🙂

    Keep going ladies.

  5. Lara

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Wow! This is very powerful. I’m struggling with the idea of whether or not to start my own photography business. I work full-time in corporate accounting (which I have done for 15 years), but after having my children & having thyroid cancer, I struggle with actually taking that leap & totally changing my career to something so artsy & passionate! Add in the facts that I carrry our health insurance with my job now, I haven’t even done my first real shoot yet, and I’m terrified, makes this decision so hard! I have done a couple of shoots at a workshop I attended, and I do have 4 shoots scheduled within the next month! It’s all so overwhelming! I love to come to this blog & to the Soaraity blog for inspiration & encouragement! I keep thinking, baby steps! I’ll get there I believe, it’s just going to take me taking one step at a time!

  6. Wendy Roob

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    “Becoming a successful and confident artist is about setting sail, even when the journey itself is unclear.”

    LOVE THIS!!!!!!! And o so timely! Thank you my friend Me Ra… your post today is ever so inspiring! Thank you for keeping on… and thank you for being you!

    xoxoxoxoxo
    Wendy

  7. Christine Barker

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Me Ra, I love this post! Beautiful.
    It can sometimes feel so overwhelming. I cherish the support I get from those that give it. I cherish you my friend.

  8. Addie

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:25 am

    “If you answer the knocking at your heart’s door, nothing will be easy. But everything will be worthy. Remember that…”

    Exactly why there is no such product as “Obstacles Be Gone”! Either in a spray or a powder 😉 There is so much to learn from finding the way over, around, or straight through. But it is always a much-needed joy to hear the encouragement and cheers from those who are on the journey too and somehow have the right words to help you regain that strength and courage to take one more step.

    Beautiful post at a worthy time. Thank you, thank you.

  9. Debbie

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:38 am

    MeRa, you have spoke to many hearts today. Mine included..
    I honestly believe as “woman” , we are hard on ourselves, and that we don’t always believe we have the right to pursue our dreams.
    It’s in our nature to put everyone and every thing before us. We are the nuturers, providers, caregivers, nurses, taxi drivers, teachers, etc to our families.. Nothing wrong with that, its how we are created.

    But I also feel, that if you wake up and think,read, take the camera every where, and dream about photograpy.(or any other passion for that matter), then you were meant to be a Photographer. Maybe not one as well known as you are MeRa, but one, who leaves their mark on their families lives or someone elses life. It might just be leaving a family legacy, or sharing your passion in your area of town, or state. It’s your own dream, you can make it as big or small as you would like.
    Sometimes unforseen circumstances, changes your dreams, opens new windows for you. My dream and passion for photography,didn’t really fuel itself until I was in my later 40’s. I wish it had in my 20’s, but I honestly don’t know if in my case, the passion would have been as strong as it is now.
    I have so much to learn, and many days I am so afraid. My mind is telling me, I am in my 50’s now, what am I doing trying to chase after this dream.. And then I close my eyes, take a deep breath and realize, this is right where I am suppose to be. This is right where my heart is the happiness and most content.
    I may take 100 pictures, and out of those 100, there maybe be just that 1, that has the right everything, the emotion, the lighting, the coloring, or as MeRa would say, the right “story”. And thats all I need. That one picture, when I look at it, and smile and I can’t believe I took it, captured it, and in that second, created a memory and moment that can never be recreated in the same way again. But I captured it, the tears fall, and my heart just “soars”
    I believe this is where God wants me to be. And then I also realize, that I want to keep the dreams coming, whether I am 54, or 60, or even 90. They may change, but I never want to stop dreaming or stop feeling passionate about something.
    I am so grateful MeRa for your words of wisdom, for your love that comes through your words. For your understanding, that woman sometimes need that extra little push, to be the best that we can be. You are one very special “young lady”….Thank you for touching our “hearts” and lifes. You are definitely a “blessing” in my life and many others.

  10. Susannah Gill

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Me Ra! Wow!! My hubby and I saw you in Vegas and when you got your standing ovation I cried. Hubby looked at me with wonder and I couldn’t talk til we got in the hallway. I was actually stalling because I didn’t know why I was crying myself (I’m 9 months pregnant- I cry a lot now!) But as we stepped out I was able to explain that I was overwhelmed by what an inspiration you are. I think of you often when I am feeling negative or down- the thought of you always makes me feel strong. I have a funny game I play where I imagine that I can shrink some people down and have miniature versions of them sit at the top of my computer to cheer me on…the second I saw you at NYC photo expo this past year I secretly said to myself- I need a miniature Me Ra for the computer!

    THANK YOU of all that you do!!

    Cheers!
    Susannah

  11. Christina M

    March 28th, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’ve been a wedding photographer for 10 yrs., have had a studio for 4. Something was missing, the excitement and challenge in the portrait area. Last week I decided to close the studio and concentrate on developing property I own with outdoor sets and to concentrate on location photography. Big step to give up a fantastic commercial space. Yesterday, as I’m questioning my choice, and question why I feel SO EXCITED about this change and my long-standing dream of the outdoor studio, I read your post, and you even mentioned me BY NAME! LOL (I know I’m not THE Christina you’re referring to, but still I took it as a sign 🙂 Thank you!

  12. Amy

    March 28th, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Just what I needed to hear this morning. You are so inspiring!
    The biggest critic in my life is myself. Funny how God gives us what we need. He knew my self-critical side, and gave me an amazing supportive husband. Positive thoughts today!!

  13. Lynde

    March 28th, 2011 at 9:07 am

    What IS it about camera/lens rental places??? LOL!! There is one close by that I went to as well for the first time…at first I thought it was a candy shop…after my first conversation with the store owner, I never returned.
    I determined that they were possibly threatened by the gloriousness of our fresh spunk and ravenous desire to play! A few months later, some “fresh blood” opened up a store similar and they are thriving because people catch on…quickly. Dream catalysts unite! <3
    L

  14. David Martinez

    March 28th, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Vulnerability is power for creatives. Great article.

  15. Staci

    March 28th, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I have followed your blog and I really appreciate your passion and enthusiasm. One thing, though that I often wonder as well, is how many people you have given encouragement to, intense will power to…who had a dream, but it wasn’t the right time. I think often times, people who are on the fence about taking the leap are there for a reason. Because what they may embark on could change everything. Some things for good…but some things not for good. When a person such as yourself is in a very influential position, I feel you need to be really careful with making this pursue your dreams idea and how it relates to many, many people. This passion & ideology that I see rampid in the world of photography world can take an incredible mother who is influencing her family to be amazing, amazing people into a mother who suddenly doesn’t think being an amazing mother is enough. She finds herself thinking that everyone around her has a career…a passion…a success. Where is hers? And the danger of this thinking…this influence is that life is lived in seasons. Sometimes we forget that our children are ONLY little once. Over a span of 5 years before we send them off to school…that is all we get. A passion…a dream can be followed ANYTIME. Sure, the cards of circumstance can fall in favor at the most opportune times which makes us believe it is urgent that we act now…but sometimes it is about which path to take right NOW. I really appreciate you, MeRa and how you can influence and encourage almost anybody…but please be careful how you influence mothers of small children. It IS enough to be at home with little children. It IS enough to make every second count in their lives. It IS enough to know that no one ever regrets spending time and those years with their children…but many people do regret giving up that time for a dream or a job. I 100% believe in following our dreams…but I also believe that our culture tells us that we must follow the dream TODAY…regardless of who’s little lives must be altered or neglected because of it. I have done both. I have put my little ones in daycare for a job. I have worked from home to pursue my passions. But, more recently, I have realized that this is all I get. This one life. And before they all go to school…I am pursuing my passion of being the BEST wife and mother I can be. Which means allowing myself to dream and have passions…but knowing that they will still be there when I have more time during my days to do so. It’s a choice that flies in the face of this culture of pursuing our own dreams…but I will never regret being “all in” for my family and my kids.

  16. Heather

    March 28th, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I loved this post…and it brought tears to my eyes…No surprise. I am so emotional these days! I work 8 hours a day in the corporate world, then come home and work another 3 hours editing photos every night. I absolutely love it! But giving up time with friends and my husband is soooo hard! I am chasing a dream that I can’t see yet, but I know each shoot is bringing me one step closer to it…both with confidence and experience. 10 Months ago, I bought my first camera. My life changed that day! I decided on the spot that this was going to be a hobby that I would turn into a profession one day. The next day I signed up for a class, and spent countless hours studying photography on my own. Then signed up for Me Ra’s Confidence Workshop. I don’t know what got into me, but that camera brought me to life! There was a fire burning in me and nothing was going to put it out! I immediately booked 2 free weddings and started shooting co workers’ families for free. The more joy that my photos brought to people, the more joy, I in turn, received. It was fuel for the fire! Now, 10 months from the day I bought my camera, I feel sooooo blessed and thankful that I have 9 weddings booked for 2011. I am beyond terrified! Can I pull it off? I don’t even know if I can do it and yet all these people have entrusted the most important day of their lives into my hands! Convincing others that I can do it seems not to be the problem…convincing myself is. I feel like I am getting so close to making my dreams come true…to quit my full time job, become a full time photographer, and start having babies! haha! My first paid wedding is this weekend and I just need to remember to take a deep breath and tell myself “You can do it!” Thanks for the confidence boost Me Ra! Wish me luck!

  17. Linda Keeney

    March 28th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    The phase I loved…” An expert can never inspire the way a couragous beginner does.” I feel very much the beginner these days. Thanks MeRa.

  18. BreAnna Schumacher

    March 28th, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Me Ra, you are always so encouraging, full of inspiration and motivation, but this post…wow. I feel like this should have been part of a paid seminar or something! Being a stay-at-home mom is something I’ve always wanted and I absolutely LOVE it. It’s priceless to be there for all of my little one’s “firsts.” That being said, I feel like I was put on this Earth for more than one thing. Being a mom is wonderful and it’s my top priority (along with being a wife), but I’ve discovered another calling…photography. I felt silly and doubted my ability. I was scared to tell my husband, but his support and encouragement have been refreshing. There’s really no one else who knows my little secret just yet, but after my camera comes next week I’m sure word will get out!

    Photography isn’t my calling to be something more than a mom. It’s a wonderful blessing that is paired perfectly to where our family is now and where we are going. What our future holds, we do not know, but you have definitely inspired me to not only think about others, but to bring action to my own passions. Mothers (or any woman for that matter) should never put themselves on the back burner to forget about. We don’t know when we will leave this Earth and it’s important to make every moment matter. Thank you, Me Ra.

    I think Pascaline’s prayer that you posted the other day fits perfectly here: “God, I thank you that people have opinions. We may not always like their opinion, but an opinion you don’t agree with is still better than someone having no opinion at all! Thanks for the right to vote and freedom to always have our own opinions.” I will remember this the next time someone criticizes me or the work I do!

  19. Natalie Johnson

    March 28th, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I love when I sit down and read the blog and it says (forewarning: It’s a long one today), I have to stop, go get my coffee and get ready for the read. For those are the days that I know something has been stirring in your heart for a few days and the lesson learned has seeped to the surface and you are ready to share with all of us (your friends). Then in your own beautiful way with words you pen an experience that most of us can relate well to. Love what you shared!

    In my former profession I finally realized those that criticize the most and loudest have the least to give and invest in whatever the business. They don’t show up for you, they don’t input positive ideas, they don’t give back to others, they try to suck the life out of you, and they have strong opinions of what you should or should not be doing. I learned my focus needed to be on those that do show up, do give back, fill you full of life, and are encouragers, for those are the people who deserve our time, energy, and respect.

    So this little mama joins you in becoming the best successful and confident artist that I can be. Our dreams are what keep us moving forward and no one can rob us of what is inside our hearts. Praying this week for you! Still celebrating the book launch with you! Much love:)

  20. Lynda Kennedy

    March 28th, 2011 at 11:42 am

    beautiful! thanks again stirring up the courage to keep reaching for dreams. love YOU girl!

  21. Kelli

    March 28th, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Ahhh Mera! Thank you..thank you!

    I, all the time, feel the journey is unclear. I second guess myself on a daily basis. One thing I do know is that since I started this journey I have grown as not only a person but as an artist as well. Photography has taken my hand and led me to places I had never imagined. By photographing other people I have, in turn, found myself…emotionally, spiritually..you name it! And for that I am so incredibly thankful. I know this is what I am meant to do. When I am immersed in my art my heart literally aches at times..(the good ache of course!) Feelings like those have never led me down the wrong path and so I continue to believe. I can’t even describe the feeling. I just have to remember to keep looking forward..this is my passion. And as long as I can ignore that great big elephant in the room (self-doubt) then this passion of mine will continue to take me to places beyond my imagination..:))

  22. Lisa Novitsky

    March 28th, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Me Ra:

    You are extraordinary and what you do is extraordinary – and extraordinary by its very nature, provokes.

    I’m not exactly sure why our dreams, and more especially, our successes are so threatening to some. It is a limited view of the world – the idea that somehow pursuing your passion and your dream would diminish anyone.

    In the face of obstacles and fear we need to remember “why” we do what we do, and that that “why” is unique to each of us.

    We are, all of us, part of something greater and limitless and we CAN dream together and support one another and approach each from a place of gratitude and abundance.

    Thank you Me Ra for your continued encouragement, for always baring your heart so that other’s might be emboldened to open their door when Creation knocks.

  23. Cyndi

    March 28th, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Beautiful post, Me Ra, thank you. I could feel your emotion, for sure.
    In a family of four, I think only my 11 year old really truly believes I can
    make a business of this passion of mine. Reminds me how pure and wonderful young hearts are -full of possibility and free from criticism. Thank you for reminding me of this dreams potential and TRUE possibililty. If it’s to be, its up to me!
    God Bless all of you on your journey whatever it may be…

  24. Juliana Patrick

    March 28th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Me Ra,
    As always, you are an inspiration. Thank you for this!

  25. Project 365: Day 4 | Katherine Christiansen Photography

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    […] on March 28, 2011 by Kat C Inspiration. I read this article today from Me Ra Koh called “Holding On As You Evolve Your Passion” it was such an inspirational read that it got me thinking. In yesterday’s post I wrote […]

  26. jeramy

    March 28th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    oddly enough…I wrote this bit of a chorous this morning….

    when the wind won’t stop blowing and the waves won’t subside
    my eternal conviction stays fixed in my mind that this life’s still worth living and I won’t give in anymore…

    there’s so much more to come. thank you my friend!

  27. Freida Hall

    March 29th, 2011 at 7:34 am

    I have so much to say on this blog – however my mind/thoughts are jumbled as I have had sick babies at home all week with pneumonia.

    I came upon a review last week that made my mouth drop open and it just hit me that misery likes company. When the harsh judgements come out, I just remind myself not to take it personal (that’s a hard one) – but to try to have compassion for them as obviously they are not in a good space in their own head.

    I had to re-read a few times all of your “Becoming a successful and confident artist” lines. Just fantastic. Thank you for sharing those.

    On a side note – I’m so eager to make it down to the mailbox… it just hasn’t happened yet with all the babies being down. But your gift is a highlight of my week, so a very heart felt thank YOU!

  28. Call Out for Babies to be on TV with Me! Respond ASAP! | Me Ra Koh Photography Blog

    March 29th, 2011 at 8:44 am

    […] Out for Babies to be on TV with Me! Respond ASAP! My heart is so full after reading ALL your comments yesterday.  I spent a lot of time writing last week and over the weekend, pushing through  my own […]

  29. Rachel Leib

    March 29th, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I saved this as a PDF and put it on my Kindle to have as a reminder

  30. Cathy Mores

    March 29th, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Oh, MeRa, you continue to inspire and evolve in your own right even as you push your boundaries in writing this. Breaking through glass ceilings of our own self-imposed limitations and expectations is hard, hard work; not to mention the confidence to know that we’ve set upon a worthy path for ourselves (I’ve found) can be the most difficult part of the journey. But when you’ve looked back, hasn’t the journey been SO worth it?!

    There are some days, that evil, negative voices will try and bring you down. Look them fearlessly in the eye and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t forget to look back, too, every now and again, and see how far you’ve come — but always continue moving forward. After all, as one of my favorite sayings goes, “don’t hesitate to take the undiscovered path; you can’t stumble on anything when you’re sitting still.” Your dreams, ALL of our dreams (even the impossible ones!), are worth pursuing! 🙂

  31. Beryl

    March 29th, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Thank you for knowing exactly what I needed today. These words of encouragement and keeping me going.

  32. Keisa

    March 29th, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Me Ra, I just read your post today and I am so glad that I did. Your words jumped right off the screen and into my heart! I am right there in the middle of pursuing a dream and it’s like you said, “sometimes you will feel like the ship that carries your dreams is stuck in the middle of nowhere.  You will feel like you are going nowhere.  It will feel painful and at times, incredibly lonely?” After reading your post I was encouraged and reminded. If pursuing your dreams was easy then everyone would; wouldn’t they? Thanks for sharing from your heart and thanks for encouraging me to hang on….I needed to hear that today.

  33. melissa Cornell

    March 29th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I started my photography journey around Sept 2009 and stumbled upon your blog. I don’t believe in coincidences, So I believe God knew I needed someone(whom Ive never met, but feel a connection to) to encourage me though this journey. It never fails that you write something that gets me right where I’m at. I dont think Rich Mullins knew how much that one lyric of that song would touch many. It is a great reminder that we are on this journey of growing and learning, but if we are always waiting on someone elses approval, we will never be free. Thank you MeRa.

  34. denise karis

    March 30th, 2011 at 4:54 am

    Got a chance to finish this just now! My journey has always been a slow one….ive never gotten the chance to devote all my time and effort into my passion – but if i click back and back and back on my blog, the photos get worse and worse and worse. Which is completely perfect for me – I’m so glad that even though growth has been slow, its been steady and its taken me a long way in the last couple of years 🙂 Thank you for the words of encouragement
    xoxoxxoxoxo

  35. Lakeicia

    March 30th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I too must echo the thoughts and feelings of the other sisters. My oh my this message was right on time. I really appreciate your willingness to share with us and let us know exactly what you’ve felt and without us ever having to say so you KNOW we are feeling it too. What a blessing your gift of photography is, but I must not forget to thank you for sharing your gift of communication and connection to us that aspire to be great communicators as well through our pictures and through our voices.

  36. Me Ra

    March 30th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I’m at a loss for words as I read your comments. Thank you so much for taking the time to share as much as you have. Feeling alone and isolated can be almost toxic to keeping our passions alive, and by you sharing your own journeys–we all know that we are not alone. We all become stronger for whatever part of our journey we are in. And this makes all the difference because when we know we are growing, we feel alive. It doesn’t matter how big we grow, we just need to know we are growing, healing, evolving, transforming…yes? It is such a honor to growth with all of you and inspire each other along the way.

    Much love to all of you,
    Me Ra

  37. Laura

    March 31st, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Me Ra, I feel like you wrote this as a letter directly to me. Your words pierced my heart and brought tears to my eyes. This post couldn’t be more perfect for how I am feeling this week. I’ve been praying for encouragement and I believe He sent me here. I am in the process of trying to get my business off the ground…again. I am at one of those disheartening times in the process and I know I need to just get through it, shake it off and pursue my dream. But it’s feeling harder to do this time, at this moment. Thank you for your transparency and your encouragement. I am printing this as I write and will read it again and again until it is permanently engraved in my heart.

    <3
    Laura

  38. Tina

    March 31st, 2011 at 11:21 am

    All I can say (as I have tears streaming down my cheeks) is thank you Me Ra. Thank you for pouring your heart out. Thank you for taking the time to write this. Thank you for your support and thank you for being you!

  39. Tara Bradford

    April 1st, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Me Ra, thank you for continuing to encourage, support and inspire so many of us. You are a light in this world. x

  40. Kimberlyn Totten

    April 2nd, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Step by step and day by day the journey goes. The ebb and flow of storms come and go. My spirit has been strengthened through each passing trial and the beauty that longs to be created is so worth it’s while. All I can say is I’m still standing…and the dream and passion is alive and well.

    What a beautiful post MeRa!!! Thank you! I’ve copied and printed this blog post. I’m placing it in a special place…to be pulled out as a reminder and encouragement. I’m taking time to nurture my passion and my impossible dreams. I am at that place. The place you speak of so beautifully… The day to day grind is losing it’s grip and I am so EXCITED!! You have taught me how to step into a world that is full of possibility and wonder. Life truly is suddenly infused with inspiration and creation. The path isn’t clear, but I am moving forward with more passion then ever!. Thank you dear one…. I love you!

  41. Meet Brooke Snow! An AMAZING Mom! | Me Ra Koh Photography Blog

    April 6th, 2011 at 7:30 am

    […] This photography journey is just that–a journey!  I love what Me Ra said recently about not looking at time as the enemy, but instead we need to learn to see time as an essential source of strength. Anything that truly […]

  42. rileyphotographic

    April 14th, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Really very much interesting.

    Thanks ……………

    New Hampshire Wedding Photographer

  43. Tim

    June 15th, 2011 at 2:27 am

    your a great photographer really cool & interesting …

  44. Time is not the enemy. « Amalie Orrange Photography

    June 25th, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    […] love what Me ra koh said recently about not looking at time as the enemy, but instead we need to learn to see time as an essential source of strength. Anything that truly […]