... At least it always works for me. I generally freeze up when I’m afraid I don’t have the chops for whatever the job is: an article that requires synthesizing interviews about a topic I don’t feel totally in control of (especially if one of the people I spoke to intimidated me); a book chapter whose concepts are so complex that I fear I’ll never be able to fit them together in a satisfactory way.
So I tell myself that I’ll just sit down and write something. It doesn't matter whether the copy is any good, since it doesn't count—it's just for practice. This little maneuver relieves the pressure, and I do produce “something.” If I’m lucky my energy starts moving, I get connected, and the “practice” turns into a productive session. Even if it doesn’t, and what I write turns out not so great, I put it away and don’t look at it for a day or so. In the meantime, I’ve given my unconscious a chunk of material to work with. When I revisit my copy, either I discover it’s halfway decent or I suddenly know how to really do it right.
The funny thing is that this trick has saved me time and again, even though I’m totally aware that it’s a stratagem I’m using on myself. It breaks through whatever the resistance or the fear is. I don’t know exactly why—I’m just grateful.
Causes Stephanie Golden Supports
Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
Brooklyn for Peace
New York Insight Meditation Center
Coalition for the Homeless