Life is short. Certainly too short to leave creative desires behind… or to do them from an unpleasant, inauthentic sense of push.
I know – this is the balance I struggle with all the time. Yet I always find that moment when the struggle drops, freedom arises and my writing (or other project) flows. When I stumble, I pause and listen, and a way forward always appears. I’ve learned to trust this, and it’s how I continue creating, day-in, day-out.
For instance, let’s take yesterday. As I was writing a new program, I noticed my resistance begin to increase along with fatigue. All I wanted to do was sleep. There were some pieces that I was trying to figure out and my mind was wrestling with my imagination to come up with something coherent and aligned. It wasn’t working.
After doing this for so many years, I know (some of the time) not to immediately follow or believe my inner voices. So instead of beelining to the couch for a nap, I took a step back and noticed the fatigue, playfully nicknaming it Sleepy Sally. Then I also noticed another voice pipe in. I called him Pushy Pete. He wanted me to work harder and faster and get it all done, like, yesterday! It felt like a clammy hand on my shoulder pushing me forward. Ick.
I knew if I listened to Sleepy Sally (when my body really wasn’t physically tired), I would have fallen asleep and nothing would have progressed. Had I listened to Pushy Pete, I would have worked harder and likely moved forward, but at what cost? As I said, life is short. Hours or days would have gone by in fits and starts as I uncomfortably prodded myself ahead with a stick.
And as in the book “Like Water for Chocolate” where the food the heroine cooks is flavored with the feelings she has while making it, my new program would have been flavored with all that resistance and angst.
Don’t get me wrong, some discomfort is useful and should be embraced on the creative journey. But there’s a difference between intentionally moving through necessary discomfort to get to the next level, and trudging through unnecessary discomfort that slows forward movement.
So I observed those two voices, and decided to lay down and listen. Here’s where it got interesting. Instead of sleeping, I stared at the ceiling for about 10 minutes. As I did so, the voices in my head got quieter and quieter. In fact, my thinking slowed waaaaay down. Soon, all kinds of creative ideas for my program began appearing in the spaces where my inner voices had previously been battling. When I got up, I almost dashed back to my desk to capture everything that had arisen. Ideas flowed and energy returned. Win!
As I said, life is short. While I’m on this planet, I want to creatively show up for my purpose in a way that feels good. At least on most days. And on the other days, I get the experience of meeting and climbing over my blocks. It’s a win-win.
Are you in the same boat? If you also desire to move your writing forward in a way that feels good, consider joining me for Women’s Inspired Writing Circles (I have in-person and online versions, so everyone reading this can participate!). The adventure is so much more fun in supportive company.
Meantime, this year I am so grateful for all of you and the gifts you bring in every possible way. I am showered daily with your creativity, curiosity, vulnerability, honesty, laughter and insight. May you see this innate perfection in yourself as we embrace yet another season…