Friday, February 12, 2010

Fulfilling Dreams

I started reading another book today that sent my spirit flying. Steven Pressfield's "The War of Art." It's not a terribly long book, it won't take too long for you to read and it will ask you to set aside preconceived notions of what the creative process really is.

Our resistance to doing what is good and right for us is what stops us from doing amazing things. Before I got too far along in the reading, he had caused 'resistance' to be a real entity residing in each of us.

What do you long to do? Why aren't you doing it? If you don't know what it is that you long to do, why not? What is stopping you from having a bigger life than you have?

Well, it's resistance - the enemy of creativity - and it shows up in many manifestations: self-deception, procrastination, self-sabotage, on and on and on.

There are a lot of books out there that are written to inspire and encourage. This book flat out challenged me to think about how I live and work on a daily basis.

Every little thing that can get in my way - does get in my way. When I sit down to begin writing, whether it's actually the writing or maybe I'm reading and researching, a million things can interrupt. If I look around the room and see things out of place, I can't settle down until I've fixed those things. If I know that there is a phone call I need to make or that one is coming in to me, I can't concentrate at a deep level until that is taken care of. If my stomach rumbles, I have to quiet it before I can think of anything else. I allow these distractions to take over and stop me from doing what I set out to do.

I rationalize that activities that I do, I procrastinate terribly. One of the things Pressfield said was that a true procrastinator never says, "I'll never be able to write that great book," but she says "I'll write that great book starting tomorrow."

Even now as I'm trying to write this blog, I find that I'm distracted by a split cuticle and found myself looking for my clippers to deal with it.

I can hardly dispute the fact that people need to talk to me and I need to talk to them. Connecting at that level is extremely important. But sometimes it's just another distraction. I've watched a lot of authors talk about how their friends and family don't actually believe them when they need to be quiet for several hours during the day, with no interruptions. Once I allow myself to be distracted, it takes a long time for me to get back into the mindset I was in prior to the interruption and send my mind soaring down the creative path again.

I'd bet that every single person reading these words has something they wish they could be doing. Making beautiful quilts, taking pictures, designing landscapes, decorating homes, building robots, feeding the poor and homeless, singing on stage. It could be one of a million things.

The reason you don't (I have to tell you that I typed those words, then answered a phone call from my husband, got up to go to the bathroom, started a loaf of bread and changed my clothes. I may never learn this concept!) ...

Anyway, the reason you don't do the things you dream of doing is because of resistance. Pressfield holds nothing back - he pretty much attacks everything that you are doing in your life that isn't fulfilling your dreams. It hit me hard and made me take a look at some of my habits. Obviously it is going to take more than just reading a book to fix me ... but, I believe that I can make these changes.

Do you believe the same for yourself?

1 comment:

Dianna said...

Hehehe! So true! Writing is one of those things that people want to do because they envy the "flexibility." What a joke! Distractions are innumerable.