“The working artist will not tolerate trouble in her life because she knows trouble prevents her from doing her work. The working artist banishes from her world all sources of trouble. She harnesses the urge for trouble and transforms it in her work.”
“Creating soap opera in our lives is a symptom of Resistance.”
“When a writer begins to overcome her Resistance, in other words when she actually starts to write, she may find that those close to her begin acting strangely. They may become moody or sullen; they may get sick; they may accuse the awakening writer of “changing,” of “not being the person she was.” The closer these people are to the awakening writer, the more bizarrely they will act and the more emotion they will put behind their acts.
They are trying to sabotage her.”
Steven Pressfield - The War of Art - Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
If we allow it, the majority of our time will be dedicated to dealing with “drama.” Feelings, problems, fears, worries – all things that will pass.
I have kept journals for almost forty years. Sometimes I’ll look back at an old one and see that I have written about my fears over a certain problem. But I didn’t write about the problem itself. Now that problem, whatever it was, is gone. And I don’t even know what it was that seemed so important at the times. Sometimes I have written about the problem. It is also gone.
There are things we obsess on, sometimes for years, and then one day it’s gone, as if it never existed. We have put all this time and energy into solving something that couldn’t be solved – because it wasn’t a real problem. We made it up as a way of getting attention and to keep us from doing our work.
It’s not that there aren’t real problems or concerns. It’s not that our feelings are invalid. It’s just that most of the time they aren’t the real issue. The real issue is that I’m not doing my work. This makes me irritable and petty and distracted. Life is a burden. People are a burden. I am a burden. But when I do my work, suddenly things clear up. Well, not suddenly. I have to get focused. I have to put some time in. But eventually, I begin to see that much of what was bothering me were phantoms. They weren’t real. Oh, they seemed real, but they have lost their hold on me somehow. I am back to being my true self. I can love and be present again.
What if I’m dealing with something that still has me in its grip, even after I have done my work? Then I have two choices. I keep working until I’m at peace or I deal with the problem. This might be a real problem, not just manufactured soap opera. I might need to move out, or get a job, or clean my space, or apologize, or get my car fixed, or pray. I might need to spend more time with my loved ones or make a meal or exercise.
But most of the time, most of the time, I need to do my work.
Here are some things I probably don’t need to do:
· Call someone just to chat.
· Eat (unless I’m genuinely hungry).
· Do household chores in order to avoid my real work.
· Watch TV.
· Play an online game.
· Go on social media just to “see what’s up.”
· Allow fear to take over.
Increasingly, I am convinced of the following:
· Each of us is here for a very specific purpose.
· There is nothing more important than this purpose.
· There are forces that are dedicated and determined to keep us from fulfilling this purpose.
· Only we can free ourselves. No one, not even God, can do it for us. We can get help. We can (and should) pray. But only we can do what we need to do. I cannot do your work and you cannot do mine.
As I’ve said before, conditions will never be perfect, or even right. We have to create our own conditions or choose to live in fear. It’s better to create than to accept what others have planned for us.
Today then resolve to avoid drama, others’ and, more importantly, your own. Do your work. Do your work. Do your work.
Put aside irritability, pettiness, self-pity, fear, anger and apathy. “Don’t let petty things annoy you or get you down,” says Earl Nightingale in The Strangest Secret.
Just do your work. Get Started and Keep Going. That’s all there is.