Beira Brown | artist seeking life's borderless extravagance »

Create and Release

The unfinished photo book of 2012 felt like a boulder blocking my creativity. While I managed to move forward with some other creative projects, those unedited photos would whisper to me and nag me for not completing my work, for having unfinished business, for neglecting my art. Through a personal challenge I tackled one month at a time, culling and editing, exporting and designing page layouts with hundreds of photos of my beautiful family. Even though that unfinished project had pestered me, I was thankful and grateful for its delayed completion.

The gift of time will often bring wisdom that guides us and steers us in ways we would have missed in past time.

As I sifted through raw images with older, wiser eyes and a fresh perspective on what’s meaningful to my life, I was able to discover treasures I would have discarded as trash and dismissed their keepsake because of their imperfections.

When we give the voice of perfectionism permission to commingle with our creative process it will scream in our ears and pull blinders over our eyes.

It will silence all other voices of encouragement to progress and it will blind us to see the beauty of our creation.

Like a demeaning critic it will always cut at our identity because it finds every imperfection and it stops us from moving forward until each is corrected and perfected.

Perfectionism is never satisfied.

It always seeks out the worst.

It always screams out, “It’s not good enough.”

It always points out the missed details.

Perfectionism is never satisfied.

It drives and pushes and demands more of you to the point where you lose sight of the reason you started in the first place. It tells you that you didn’t work hard enough all the while you lose the sense of your being and the joy of creating.

Yet, when chance graces over you and you do get it perfect, perfectionism doesn’t celebrate you. No, it demands that you repeat it. It demands that you exceed it.

Perfectionism is never satisfied.

Perfectionism, towering over you with its menacing finger pointed at you, makes you shrink back.

Perfectionism leads to paralysis so nothing gets released into the world.

But we have a choice to silence that parasitic voice and allow the best to have our full attention.

“Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Our best is not perfection. Our best is progress, moving forward with imperfections.

Our Creator never demands perfection of ourselves, so why do we? Our Creator is not impressed by perfectionism.

Our Creator, who poured out creativity into our beings when He breathed into us, only asks that we use and share our gifts.








Create your art.

Take the action in it.

Live life creating because you are creative.

Our creator wants us to foster a life of creating. He knows that as we immerse ourselves, our craft will be refined with practice. This process of development as an artist is a journey of creating and releasing.

This process is never about the finished product, but always about the journey. Progress will allow you to complete projects, but it will never devalue your mistakes. Progress will tell you when it is time to release your art, even when it isn’t perfect.

Progress will allow you to explore, fail, learn, and grow. The removed pressure to perform for perfection will open up a world of risks, risks that will enrich and lead you to a wide-open spacious life.

Your progress will always propel you forward if you stay committed to simply creating and releasing.

Silence perfectionism and give the microphone to progress. Then embrace the encouragement to create and release.



In the spirit of releasing, I leave you with portraits I made of my kids this past fall on two separate evenings. Warning, it’s photo heavy!




Risk of Faith

risk and faith

About seven weeks ago I was furious with my husband. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was doing everything right. I had an internal tantrum, screaming at him in my head, because he was wasting his time. That’s what I told myself, anyway.

You know that’s not reality, though. He was letting himself dream and he was teaching our daughter to dream with him.

The problem lied within me. His dreaming rubbed up against my limited capacity to dream, and poked at my lack of faith and my tendency to play it safe.

Play it safe?  I thought I was already outside my comfort zone. I thought the last two years were proof of my enlarged willingness to take a risk and not play it safe.

I brushed off the incident and took a long nap. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to move on. Note that I had not expressed any ill feelings or actually screamed at anyone. Not that it justifies what was going on in my soul, but at least I had kept my mouth shut to avoid sparks starting a forest fire.

Life went back into our ordinary rhythm after my nap, but a few days later I read this:

“Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.”  Matthew‬ ‭9:20-22‬ ‭MSG‬‬ (emphasis added)

Take a risk of faith? Take a risk of faith.



We can’t be well until we take the risk of faith.

Jesus responds to her as if He had nothing to do with her healing. He attributes her healing to her risk of faith. Her willingness to take a step, to reach out, for what she believed she could receive through that risk.

How many times have I read this same passage and been in awe at the instantaneous healing while missing her part? I’d assumed she must have been desperate but I’d never stepped in her shoes. Gulp.

Take a risk of faith?
Take a risk of faith.

Am I willing to take a risk on faith? Or am I going to sit at home with my resistance?

Resistance is what I experienced at the sight of my husband’s dream. His dream shined a light on my resistance. I know it takes a risk, a step, to move toward a dream. Subconsciously, I told myself it was impossible for us to achieve that dream and instead got angry. In reality, it was easier to get angry than admit my unwillingness to work past the resistance I felt. I was not willing in the moment to ask God to enlarge my ability to dream.

Where we most experience resistance is where God most wants to rip down limitations.

Where we experience resistance is exactly where we need to be enlarged so we can be vessels large enough to hold God’s dreams.

We can’t live out a dream if we can’t even hold the dream in our hearts, regardless of whether we believe it to be possible or impossible. We can’t live a dream if we don’t even allow ourselves permission for the dream to be deposited in us in the first place. risk and faith

So with his dream and the Still Small Voice encouraging me to take a risk, I allowed myself to envision what life would be like. I gave myself permission to consider the dream, even though it felt too big and too impossible. I didn’t want to admit it, but in reality I wanted and still want that dream too.

Did you know that dreaming is a risk of faith? It is an inward movement toward it. It requires faith to even take that small step of playing with a dream and contemplating it, even if you have yet to accept the dream as one of your own. It’s the first step in a risk of faith.

What dream have you been avoiding? Are you willing to take that small first step? Are you daring enough to consider what it might be like to attain that dream?

Are you courageous enough to allow the dream to become your own? Are you willing to let God enlarge you to hold the dreams He has for you?

Just when I got comfortable with the dream and I thought it might seem impossible but possible with God, I got stretched again.

Double it. Double the dream. Dream bigger.

I still have some work to do in the enlarging arena. This petite lady needs some stretching in all directions.

It’s  not about my dream that I write here, though. It’s about the push that you are feeling.

You feel the hand on your back pushing you a bit forward, encouraging you to take a step toward that impossible dream. You feel the resistance and it might make you angry being asked to risk dreaming or taking another step toward it.

Take a risk of faith?

Take the risk of faith!

God wants you to let Him enlarge your capacity and expand your dreams.

You can stay in your comfort zone.

You can be complacent.

You can live a mediocre life. (Doesn’t that remind you of being lukewarm and getting spit out?)

Or you can take a risk of faith by dreaming a bit.risk and faith

You can hold on to the truth that you’ve already been granted access to heaven on earth.

And you’ve been commissioned to greater things than He did.

But how can you get to do those greater things if you can’t even take a risk to dream? Can you dream? Can you trust?

Then take a risk of faith.

What is it?

You know what it is, that risk. Go take it.risk and faith

RickAugust 17, 2019 - 10:50 am

Beautiful, fresh perspective!

Roots | Letting Go

Last summer as we walked through the garden, John encouraged me to clear out some sick pumpkin vines to avoid losing the healthy ones. The vines were overgrown and entangled with one another. It was a job that required the gardening shears.

Just when I thought I was succeeding, I realized that I had severed the healthiest vine bearing the superstar pumpkin of the garden. And it was not, according to my measure, finished growing or ready to harvest.

At some point, John came back outside and found me standing in a mess of tangled vines. I confessed my mistake. I think he could see the pain and disappointment written all over my face because in true problem-solving MacGyver mode, he suggested duck taping the vine and hoping it would fuse back together as nature will sometimes miraculously do. But I had left no hope of that. Not only had I cut the vine, I had ripped it out by its roots.

As the big tears welled up, I made my way to the shower to rinse off all the dirt and sweat. I sobbed without truly understanding why I was so upset over a pumpkin vine.

I knew there was something beyond the physical devastation that had taken place in the garden.

Then I saw the parallel between that garden episode and what was taking place within my own life. There were situations that were not healthy yet I was not accepting their reality. I was insisting to continue life as if I could be healthy while surrounded by them. I was ignoring the disillusionment trying to take place.

It’s funny how illusions creep into our lives. It’s not so funny how illusions limit our ability to fully live and experience freedom.

Yet, when we experience disillusionment, we meet it with resistance and apprehension because there is pain involved. But I want you to imagine me looking deep into your eyes saying, “Embrace the disillusionment and work through the pain.”

The word disillusioned has a negative emotion pegged to it, but if we looked closer at the true meaning of the word, we would rejoice each and every time we experience it. Being awakened to the reality that a belief or ideal we’ve held is false is a good thing!

Isn’t being disillusioned a version of the truth setting us free?

Isn’t it a way of breaking deception off our lives?

Isn’t it a shift in our vision to have clear expectations, dreams, ideals, norms, and thoughts?

I wonder if the pain of disillusionment is the adjustment our eyes go through as they move out of darkness into the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of our true life in Light.

God breaking illusions off our lives is His way of getting us out of a crazed way of living.

You know what we most often do instead of accepting the disillusion? We get stuck in the pain. We insist on trying to mend when God has already ripped out the roots.

Like the idea of duck taping the vine, we try to mend it all back together again, pretending like we could possibly go on living the same way as before. It is not possible once you know.

I remember myself scrambling, having a flood of thoughts. Please, Lord, don’t let this be it for my beautiful pumpkin! This can’t be how it comes to an end.

Just as I had snipped the pumpkin vine, God was snipping illusions in my life, bring clarity to situations and relationships I had avoided seeing before. Yet I was holding on, hoping it would turn out just as I had imagined, that somehow a miraculous mending would take place. But instead what I saw were the roots out of the ground and what I heard was a loud yet gentle, “No.”

Our attempts to mend when the roots have already been pulled up are a sign of our resistance to God and His order, His authority, and His plan when it doesn’t look like what we had imagined. It’s a sign that we are crazed by the illusion.

Months later, as I conversed with John I heard the answer to my own questioning and wrestling roll off my lips:

“I need to let go. I’ve been released!”

Sometimes the best thing God can say to us is “no.”

Sometimes the best thing God can do for us is to preserve our soul.

Sometimes the best thing God can give us is an end to the season of having our soul crushed.

Sometimes the best He can give us is a new space where our soul can flourish.

Stop trying to mend what is crushing your soul. Let it go. It’s dead.

I know you might think what I’m saying is rough. I know it doesn’t seem like a good answer, like it doesn’t align with God’s plan. Do we ever fully understand the way God works out His plan for us?

You ask yourself, “How could it come to an abrupt end?”

Make sure it’s not an illusion blinding you from the wise answer, the right thing to do, and God’s true plan for you.

God’s main interest is leading us to a place where our soul is whole so we can flourish. Letting go is a choice to live in that reality.

God wants to release us from the situations, circumstances, relationships, systems, and the things that we’ve built that are crushing our soul, but He can’t do that while we insist on seeing it turn out our way.

Restoration isn’t always the ultimate plan. At least not restoration in the way we imagine it. Our vision of restoration needs to align to God’s vision because while we might be looking at something external, He’s looking to restore the internal depths of our being.

The ultimate plan is to restore the true person He created us to be.

As I reflect on the past two years of my life, I laugh at some of the vines I was trying to mend because, in hindsight, they were dead and I was blind to not see it.

Then there are other vines lying in the compost pile that I must remind myself every time I feel the urge to mend, “Do not go digging for them. They’re dead. You’ve been released…”

…Released to birth a new dream and step into the new season, and to do it with a healthy and whole soul.

We need to be healthy and whole. The pace of His rhythm is increasing and the season is new. We won’t keep up without letting go of the weights slowing us down.

If we don’t let go, it will start feeling heavy and we’ll find ourselves living outside of the unforced rhythms of grace. We’ll lose our rest. We’ll fall behind. We’ll get stuck.

I know that letting go of illusions is painful, but remember whom we are tethered to.

Letting go is not the same as Him letting go of us.

Letting go of the thing that is sitting heavy in our heart will clear the space so He can pull us in closer.

Letting go will create the space our soul needs to flourish.

Will we allow Him to rip down the illusions?

Will we stop trying to mend what is dead?

Will we accept the new season?

Will we choose to live in God’s reality?

The disillusionment and pain are temporary. They will not last forever, but the new brightness, clarity, and vibrancy of your true life will be everlasting.

***I left the pumpkin hanging off the dead vines until it ripened (as you see above). It never did miraculously mend back to life.***


Phil BakerSeptember 23, 2016 - 3:54 am

Beira & John,
I loved reading this and remembering our conversation “way back when!”

Thanks for this glimpse into your hearts as you processed – and are processing this journey!

We love and admire you both greatly, and MISS you big time!