Is it possible for you to give yourself permission to do something just terribly? My tendency to lean towards perfection in my work served as one of the biggest hindrances in my writing for a long time. I would spend days spinning my wheels hoping that arrival of inspired thought would touch down inside of me, but because I was so focused on the perfect pitch, I rejected all sorts of wonderful thoughts that actually did come to mind. I started to grasp that the brilliant thought or idea was as important as the practice, or putting even shitty ideas into play. One day I surrendered to the monster that was my thwarted processing and began saying to myself, “Today, I will allow myself to write something awful.”
When I was given that space to just write down a few sentences of nonsense – of even a paragraph, what I noticed was that sometimes these awful beginnings started to shape into something quite powerful. The worse case scenario always has been the removal of a few sentences or a slight revision to the passage or expression. When I wrote a sentence that I knew was complete garbage, I was able to continue because I knew I would go back and fix it another time. No matter how bad the work was, at least it forced me to practice. And this was where my energy would best serve me in the long run anyways.
In a blog post called “How To Get Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like It”, James Clear outlines the importance of this kind of practice.
Imagine if you had a routine that could pull you into “exercise mode” or “work mode”, no matter how little motivation you had at the start.
If you look at top performers in any field, you’ll see similar patterns all over the place. NBA players who do the same thing before every free throw shot. Comedians who recite the same words before they step onto stage. Corporate executives who follow the same meditation sequence every morning.
Do you think these people always feel motivated? No way. There are some days when the most talented people in the world wake up feeling like sluggish lard bombs.
Below is exactly what I wrote today. I have not edited one sentence. You can expect spelling mistakes, bad grammar, and awful sentence structures. On the flip side of things you can also expect to read complete honesty. It may not make any sense to you at all. But for me it was a cathartic experience that eroded an emotional blockage, and allowed me to continue to create.
Feeling stuck is paralyzing. Sitting at the edge of your bed pontificating over what you should do next causes me complete paralysis. Questions circumnavigate my psyche in rumination mode. Should I move? If I was in a different city what would be I be doing there to make money? Do I continue to work on this site even though it isn’t providing me with the means to live life? Could one more year of focus on it be the turning point for it’s success? Do I just get a job selling cars? What am I actually good at? I do want to go to law school, but can I handle being in school again and all the course load that is required to pass? What if I graduate at the bottom of the class? Can I still get a job? I’d have to be selling my self to those companies on why and how I didn’t do well on school and why that shouldn’t matter when it comes to hiring me anyways. Maybe I should just get a mediocre sales job. At least I would be able to pay for rent and food every month. But would I be happy if I took that sales job? How long would I last until those feelings and need to leave a legacy start to pound through my heart and spirit again? I’ve been feeling them very loudly lately, and I want to step up my game. I need God and massive guidance right now. I don’t have clarity on my direction when it comes to my career. “God, do you want me to go to law school right now? If so, what city and what school? God, do you want me to continue working on this web site spreading positive messages to others every week in hopes of increasing their spirits during their own life struggle? I can’t help but think that is something that God would want me to do, but if my belief is that I am a child of God a king in his kingdom, wouldn’t enjoy all the spoils that this world has to offer be at my daily disposal? Wouldn’t my bank account be over flowing? Maybe I do have access to it all but I’m not looking in the right places? Wait, would God make these things so difficult for me to comprehend? Wouldn’t he want his kings or queens to have complete clarity on how they are to serve God and this world? What’s the purpose of toiling with all these doubts and feelings of inadequacy? How long do they need to sustain before that cosmic shift takes place and we are then uprooted from that bondage our minds can take us too? I sure need others. I sure need God. I’m hopeless at the helm of my own voyage far too often. How am I to guide others when I feel so completely lost myself today? Yes, I know what you are thinking, make a gratitude list! My heart and soul is plastered with gratitude, but they only serve as a bandaids to wounds that require such massive cleansing and healing. God, please make that part of me whole again. I want to be operating in that greatness and freedom that Jesus speaks over all our lives in the bible so often. I pray for this to be my own experience in life, and I pray that I can help activate it in the lives of people all around the world when it does come to be in my own very life. Until then? I don’t know! It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about working in an office 9-5 for even a week, let alone the rest of my life? I can’t do it! It isn’t in me. I need a different sustenance and engagement for my life to feel in flow.
Okay, I’m back again. I had to run to my back and take half of a Welbutrin pill. It is part of my daily dose of chemicals that I ingest to help me feel more whole or normal. Sure, we are all small little pieces of chemistry glued together through an energy and force, and yes even the high price organics served at whole foods are filled with chemicals too. The only difference is that these chemicals that have been prescribed to me by a doctor who doesn’t fully understand how serotonin or dopamine function to better depression or anxiety cause massive side effects. Side effects that I’m sure God didn’t intend on us living with. Such unnatural numbing blockages to the body that leave you feeling so very disconnected and incomplete.
I’m once again ripped back into the cycle of defeating thoughts my mind loves to consume. Should I let my girlfriend read this? Will she think I’m very unwell? Will she think I’m brilliant? What about others? Could others relate to this funnel of irrational thoughts based in negative anticipatory vision be of any solace to others?
I feel different then I did 840 words ago before I started writing this. Wow! Did I exhaust some of that tension that indecision has built up inside of me? I definitely feel a peace that wasn’t there 15 minutes before sitting down to pour myself completely out in a meaningless expression. Maybe this was a thought that came from God. Maybe I just needed to remove these small pieces of burning coal from my mind and place them down in words for others to read.
A few minutes later I did actually get my partner to read it, and she insisted I posted it presuming other people would be able to relate to the expression. We often procrastinate in the face of feeling overwhelmed, sometimes being extremely overwhelmed all we want to do is go back to bed, or explode in anxious energy. Both are completely OK, and temporary. I recognize these feelings within myself more and more, but I have managed to limit how much time they are allowed to suffocate me now.