I'm not in a writing mood tonight
I was supposed to write a long email to my Danish list tonight. I know pretty much what it’s going to say, it’s been mulling in my head during yoga and sleep and conversations with my wife for the past few days, and when that’s the case, I usually just need to sit down and write it, and it’s going to pour out of me. And I was planning on doing that right now. But I’m not doing it.
Because I’m in a horrible mood. I was at a family gathering yesterday, in celebration of my wonderful niece turning 18. I love her. But these family gatherings always leave me feeling miserable for days afterwards. Perhaps you know the feeling? Ram Dass, the spiritual teacher, famously said: “If you think you’re so enlightened, go and spend a week with your parents.”
I find that the energy I’m operating from will inevitably seep into my work, especially my writing. So I’m very mindful of that, when I choose what to work on. Let me explain…
I very often find that as I get excited about a success, I will immediately make plans to keep that success going forever. And life will immediately respond by kicking my ass to the curb. Ouch.
Back in June, I started writing in on My Book, for the fourth of fifth time. But this time I meant it! And it just poured and poured out of me, and I was alive and in love with life and with my wife (then actually girlfriend) like never before.
And I loved it, so I made a plan to start every day by writing for 2 hours, and I’d write 1500 words per day and then by the end of 3 weeks I’d have about 30,000 words, which is a good target for me. I don’t want it to be a long book. That would leave me with 3 weeks to edit and do cover and such, and I’d have it done in 6 weeks which was my arbitrary deadline. Actually, not that arbitrary. It’s the amount of time it took my good friend Alexander Kjerulf to write his book.
That plan lasted for exactly one week before it started to break down. Then another week, and I got to a complete stop.
Another example: This past Monday I wrote an email to my Danish mailing list. It was a very personal, authentic email. I had a deeply personal conversation (about myself)with my wife, and decided to share the entire contents of that conversation with my list, because I felt like it would be of great value to them to see something like that exposed. And they did. Many people told me it was the best thing I’d ever written, and that it spoke to them like never before. The emails, comments and new subscribers poured in.
And so what did I do? I immediately made a plan to make it into a fixed, permanent schedule.
Sigh. When will I ever learn?
The magic happens when you embrace the moment and respond to what life has to offer you and what life wants you to do.
And when you do that, and the universe consequently responds, your job is to say “Thank You!”, and to remind yourself that “This, too, shall pass”, and then get back into that place of openness to life and what it wants from you, so you can create that new thing that’s asked of you.
Trying to hold on to that great feeling by strategizing for how to obtain it again is not the way to experience that feeling again. On the contrary, it’s the way to strangle it.
To me, this is what pretty much all of the organized religions have done. Jesus was a magical, spiritual person, no doubt. He was a child of God, just like you and I are children of God. Where the Christian church went wrong was in trying to institutionalize that spiritual experience. By setting it in marble, you kill it. Now there’s nothing left but the faintest smell (that, and the pedophile priests and the abuse of power).
Our ego desperately wants to ensure a safe outcome.
That need for security kills creativity.
I’m the most creative when I dare remain open. Okay, so the inspiration isn’t there today? Don’t try to force it, just because the plan says so. That doesn’t mean I won’t write or work. It just means I’ll probably work on something other than what I’d planned.
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