I’ve been stalling. Or stalled. Depending on where the responsibility lays. Oh, yeah. It’s me – I’m the one responsible for this long period of…rest. That’s what I’ll call it.
See, I worked my buns off for 5 months straight before hitting a mid-winter drop in enthusiasm. I’m still creating every day, but there are certain tasks that will move me forward that I’ve been not doing. Every morning I say, “Hell Yeah, today’s the day!” I do my writing session which feels flippin’ lovely. But by evening, when I have the time to do the other side of things, the business(y) side, I sit on the couch and watch Big Bang Theory or read a book. Oh, and did you know there are two cool sci-fi shows I didn’t catch until now? Yeah, I’ve been busy.
Some might say I’m stuck. I prefer to think I’m recharging. My spot on the couch is loaded with books I’ve been reading and it feels sooooooo good. My spirit is feeling better and better. But how do I get myself back into business mode? Gentleness is key. I don’t do well with being bossed around by my big-shot ambition.
I figure it’s about seduction and small leaps of faith.
Back in August, when I started my five-month season of working like a madwoman, I purchased tickets to a writing summit that is happening in less than two weeks. I am thankful to my prescient writer-self that I got that ticket when I did. The lure of other goofy but serious writers in a room for two days is all kinds of magic. It’s the mental and spirit seduction I need.
Seduction is basically about changing your mind. It’s so much juicier than being sold on something. It’s more than a pro and con list or being sold on the benefits of having what I have been working towards. It’s about putting some skin in the game and feeling it intensely.
That is what that summit ticket and my stacks of books next to the couch and bed are about. The glory of story in all forms – memoir, novels, short stories, poetry, self-help. They are all in the mix for me. Beautiful words, funny words, the inner workings of the author. These are people who have spent time really engaging with the world and language and craft. I like people who dig deep and create – books, businesses, families, societies, cultures, gardens, knitting patterns, meals on lovely dishes. Creativity either for play or for work is something I understand.
Time spent in pleasurable pursuits refills the creative pool. Time spent with others who get it refocuses the creative drive. Give yourself what you need to satisfy that longing. I’m sure you’ve spent plenty of time analyzing that longing. If you make it through the slog of questioning your passion for creating and writing with the passion still intact, you’ve earned the right to take yourself seriously.
Getting unstuck happens by tiny steps. You shift your mindset by refilling with fresh insight and then getting to work, one small step at a time.
Make the Leap
And then there are the small leaps of faith.
Scaling back my efforts has given me pains (sharp ones in my gut and pin pricks all over). I see my enthusiasm has waned temporarily. This happens at least twice a year every year. It’s caused me to know this about myself: I tend to be all or nothing. Having seen this pattern in myself, I’ve learned how to navigate around it when it feels destructive. It’s helpful to know yourself well.
Regarding being all or nothing, I feel pretty good that I’ve made some progress with that. I’m all about the writing the past few weeks, and want nothing to do with marketing and promotions. Which isn’t helping me. But at least I haven’t bailed on the whole thing entirely like I usually do when this happens. I think of a thing I heard on how Stephen King advised another writer. He basically told the guy not to announce to the world he was retiring. This from the king of “this is my last book. I’m done.” Still, sometimes, it is just what we have to tell ourselves.
Small leaps of faith look like this:
Do one thing. One small thing. It shifts the energy. And energy is what all of our experience is about.
This weekend, instead of doing what I thought I should do, I cleaned my house and got rid of tons of stuff. The closet. Oh man, the closet I’ve been avoiding. There was a chunk of (I am not kidding) green shag carpet in there from when we moved into the house almost 13 years ago. I just never got around to removing it. Well, Sunday that happened.
Also, old notebooks, piles of paper, magazines, and who knows what made their way into the trash. It’s energizing to let go of stuff that no longer fills a want or need. It’s magic-making!
Tibetan Buddhists call this the Don season. It’s the season before the Tibetan New Year and it is heavy, lethargic, mucky, yucky energy. Perfect for stalling out. There is a whole series of chants and practices that clear the energy. They take tiny steps, small leaps that the work they are doing will shift and clear the energy to start out the new year with clarity and luminosity. I love that.
Even though I cleaned the house, I continued to beat myself up because I didn’t do what I “should.” Argh! What’s a girl to do? Here’s what I did, after some reflection and moaning and groaning in my journal.
I took some tiny steps and changed my mind.
You, too, can change your mind.
We can shift our mindset in the snap of our fingers.
Change your mind.
There. I just did it. Did you see it? Did you do it? Okay, maybe some ideas would be more helpful to you.
Refocus: I’m done thrashing myself over what I didn’t do. Instead, I celebrated what I did. Yay, me!
And now I’m smiling because I shifted a whole lot of baggage and weight into the trash/recycling/burn pile. Yay! And this week, I wrote a bunch of words on my next book. Yay!
That is what creates energy, gets things moving. Focusing on the what you are doing, even if it is small potatoes, is like wind blowing through, refreshing whatever is stuck.
It’s cathartic to give yourself a smile and a nod. Yeah, I did that. Wink, wink, smile!
So, this week, take all those tiny actions and let them breathe new life into you.
1. Listen to or read something inspiring.
2. Don’t complain. Give yourself a compliment.
3. Do something like it is the first time. Wonder and Awe!
4. Notice tiny things – flowers, squirrels, raisins. Notice big things – buildings, furniture, humans. Take a minute to wonder what makes them so amazing.
5. Remember what you did. Celebrate your tiny steps.
6. Get yourself moving. Do something, anything, and feel good about it. You can dance if you want to. (Yeah, I planted that ear worm!)
7. Smile. And Laugh. Laugh Yoga or Smile Yoga – two super simple and quick energy shifts. Literally just turning your frown upside down moves your heart into big open space full of possibility. You can read about and try it out when you sign up for the 5 Mindful Moments (formerly called 5-Day Mindfulness Challenge)
Until next time my friends,