Yesterday, I stood in front of my computer in a stupefied haze for several hours, trying to compose a 300-word press release. It didn’t matter that I knew exactly what I wanted to write. It didn’t matter that I’ve written plenty of press releases before. It didn’t matter that I have a ton of other, more pleasant, things to do and really want to get this press-release business out of the way. At the end of the day, it still wasn’t written.
A lot of things have gotten stuck in my life in the last few weeks. My meditation practice is snagged on some invisible nail. The last few revisions to my novel are running away and laughing at me. At the end of the day, I often have the feeling I’ve run all the way to the store then coundn’t remember what I needed. Also, I’m mixing metaphors a lot.
This morning, I realized why. I looked in the mirror and saw the palid complexion, clammy skin, and hollowed eyes that are the warning signs of Resistance, a condition that has plagued me much of my life.
Resistance is a wasting disease. Like all diseases, it is natural but dangerous and damaging. It makes you want to go back to bed, spend two hours Googling “French Revolution” (yes, I actually did that), organize your attic, look everywhere for a book you don’t actually need—do anything other than the work that awaits you.
Fortunately, resistance is treatable. I can’t say I have the definitive cure, but I do have a few home remedies that can at least stop the itching. Here is what I'm going to do:
First, I’m going to stop trying to figure out the source of my resistance. In my coaching (and my life), I often stress the importance of looking for the underlying reasons for blocks. But, sometimes, that search can just end up being another way of distracting ourselves. I could go back and think of the childhood experiences that still make me feel fearful of public exposure and unworthy of success. But I’ve been over that territory before. Sometimes, we just have to set it aside. Otherwise, we can get into a weird cycle that goes: “I can’t write right now because I’m too busy figuring out why I can’t write right now.”
Second, I'm going to practice bringing myself back. Meditation is a continual process of bringing your mind to your breathing. When your thoughts wander off to pressing matters like what you’re going to make for dinner or whether that night’s Parks and Recreation is a rerun, all you can do is quietly bring your mind back to your breath. Without self-recrimination. Without stress.
The same thing applies here. When I find myself staring at the snow outside my window or tempted to make yet another cup of tea, I’m just going to bring myself back to the page. No frustration. No guilt. Just a gentle return. As many times as it takes.
Finally, I'm going to practice acceptance. Things are moving slowly right now. I don’t like slow. I like fast. If I could finish a beautifully crafted novel in a week, I’d be the happiest person on earth. But sometimes we have to accept what we’re getting, and right now, I’m getting slowness. And that’s okay. Or at least maybe I can get it to feel okay, if I keep working on accepting it. Repeat after me: Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance.
Causes Jill Jepson Supports
Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Interational Society for the Protection of Burros and Mustangs, National Wildlife Federation,...