I wake up in an I-don’t-want-to-do-anything mood this morning.
I push through my morning routine. I do my set of shoulder and neck stretches. There is a flash of “that feels good” when I finish my last stretch, but it’s not enough to crack my mood.
I feel, as I eat breakfast, the desire to remain here at the table, reading. The book is good, Closer To The Heart by my favourite fantasy writer Mercedes Lackey. I do not want to put the book down, but this is more than desire to read a good book. I am resisting moving into my studio and beginning my creative day.
I love drawing and writing. Yesterday I played in the small sketchbook I received from the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project 2018. No resistance showed up.
Today, though, there is a brick wall, ten feet high with “I don’t want to” stamped all over it. I’m on this side. My drawing and writing are on the other.
I know the trick. Find the door in the wall. If no door, then a ladder. Maybe a bulldozer (I like that). Or maybe I need help.
Asking for help is never my first choice. Sometimes it should be. Okay, help it is.
I reluctantly drop my book mark at page 148 of Mercedes’ book, leave the kitchen table, and move to my studio. I take my morning pages book from the pile of papers just to the right of me. I pull a Mickey Mouse pencil from the collection sitting in the Starbucks grande frappaccino cup. Morning pages are my first and biggest help. I’m ready.
I start where I am. Kicking my toes against this brick wall of resistance. Leaning my back against it and muttering, “This feels crappy.” And then adding, “You’re in my way.”
I built this wall. I’m in my own way.
I begin wondering what it is I don’t want to do, that has put me in this mood.
I fill three pages in the book, asking repeatedly what I don’t want to do. I come up with lots of answers. Too many answers, and there is the clue in the words ‘too many’.
There are too many projects on the go, and I am feeling pressure to complete all of them in too short a time. It’s not that I don’t want to do them, it’s that I have too many to do. I love these projects, so letting go of any is not the first choice for a solution.
Clarity is needed. I make a list.
Most of these projects have no time line other than what I choose. The pressure to complete them comes from my creative self, curious to see what shows up next and what the finished pieces will become. This is passion, excitement, and anticipation, not stress and not pressure. I have given the wrong names to what I feel.
Three of the projects have outside deadlines, which makes my choice of action easy. The sketchbook project comes first, and that’s what I was doing yesterday.
Funny how yesterday I knew where I needed to be and what I needed to do, and today I started out all resistance and underlying panic. It would have been much easier to wake this morning and think, “I need to prioritize my projects.” Instead, my mind and emotions gave me the brick wall.
I know why. I am an artist and writer. I work in emotion, image, word, and metaphor. I feel and envision what is happening, rather than thinking coolly and logically.
I am used to the necessity for sorting out what I am telling myself. Writing morning pages works a treat when the need for explaining me to myself arises. I ask the pages for help, and they provide.
The resistance is gone. The brick wall has tumbled and vanished. The ‘don’t’ has dropped away and left ‘I want to’.
Yes, I do. I want to create.
Yay for morning pages, my maker of doors, ladders, bulldozers, and help when in need of resisting resistance.
In this post:
Brooklyn Art Library, Sketchbook Project, https://www.sketchbookproject.com/libraries
Mercedes Lackey, my favourite (and wondrously prolific!) fantasy novel writer, http://www.mercedeslackey.com/
Morning pages, Julia Cameron and the Artist’s Way, http://juliacameronlive.com/