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What’s holding you back?

December 9, 2010

About three weeks ago, a friend brought together a group of people for a 30-Days to Do It Challenge.  The basic idea is that you set a goal to be achieved within the next 30 days.  At the same time, you also create a consequence that the thought of losing or having to do it motivates you to accomplish the goal.

My goal is to draft a chapter in a book I started with a friend last year to give pre-teen girls a fun, smart, amd multi-faceted perspective on menstruation and their changing bodies. Right around the time we started working on it, I found out I was pregnant and ushered in a whirlwind of life-changes.  Needless to say, I’ve gotten very little writing done.

A few weeks ago, I learned about the book “The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win
Your Inner Creative Battle” by Steven Pressfield.  Bestselling author of Jay-Z’s new book/journalist/filmmaker/amateur pilot dream hampton tweeted one day that it’s the only book on writing she recommends.  Being that I admire her body of work and fancy myself a writer and general creative type, that was enough to pique my interest.  I bought the book on sale for $1.99 in PDF form and recently started reading…with only a week left in my 30-Day challenge. (Don’t worry…I’ve been writing…a little)

This guy is dropping serious jewels like every other page. Literally.  The book addresses the issue of “Resistance,” that silent, vicious force that helps us find comfort in procrastinating – or even ignoring – the projects and callings that have gotten buried (or have we hidden them?) under our family obligations, 9 to 5s, and general over-committedness.  Here is an excerpt on Resistance as a motivator of victimhood that resonates with me lately, so I wanted to share with you:

“People aren’t sick, they’re self-dramatizing….The acquisition of a condition lends significance to one’s existence.  An illness, a cross to bear…The condition becomes a work of art in itself, a shadow version of the real creative act the victim is avoiding by expending so much care cultivating this condition…It seeks to achieve gratification not by honest work or a contribution made out of one’s experience or insight or love, but by the manipulation of others through silent (and not-so silent) threat…Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work.  Don’t do it.  If you’re doing it, stop.”

Now, Pam from Road to Joy once tweeted something about needing to “mama up” and do the daily things that must be done and I’ve run with it.  Clearly, parenting is a full-time sacrifice.  Marriage and committed partnering requires the work of cooperation, constant communication, and self-cultivation.  And, I’ll be the first to admit that even though I love my family life and the opportunity to be a work at home mother, but many times I want adoration acknowledgment for my work and can make a production of it.  In thinking about this chapter I need to finish drafting by next week, I’m reminded that for all of my complaining of missed sleep, I could have my chapter written in no time.  I could have my portion of the home office organized.  I could have found and enrolled in those next few science classes I need to take to apply for the midwifery program.  When it comes down to it, it may not take much time to complain, but it does waste precious mental and spiritual energy that are better used elsewhere.

OK…your turn.  I’d love to hear from my family, good friends, and web mamas about something that Resistance is or has been keeping you from achieving.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2010 2:08 am

    Very Nice. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately as my creative self has been fighting her way out. I need to get this book. Maybe it will help me tackle my long list of goals and ideas that are sitting under just what he said, self-dramatization. I have recently become a little more grab-the-bull-and-go, but its still quite a struggle, feeling trapped financially. I need to write a book, I need to get my non-profit off the ground, I need to publish my poetry and this is just the tip of the last five years of ideas iceberg…

    • December 11, 2010 4:45 am

      Thanks for sharing. I’m glad I set this goal and wrote this post because it’s helping me be more accountable to myself. It’s funny that giving birth actually makes me feel so much powerful an invincible, but those moments of self-dramatization are a killer. Let’s persevere!

  2. December 14, 2010 3:20 am

    Anayah,

    I can’t believe you all up in my business! lol. The big thing holding me back is fear coupled with low creative-esteem (is that even a word?) The internet is great because I get to connect to so many amazing individuals–but it also allows me to see (and compare myself to) the millions of creative moms out there. I hope to one day conquer my fears and find my place in the craft world. I’d like to sell modern (modest) clothing and Christian stationary.

    • December 15, 2010 6:50 pm

      Tiffany, have you tried starting some kid of motivation prayer group. I’m sure there are other young women in your church who may also be mothers that could use some sisterhood energy and accountability to reach tangible goals. Y’all should do a 30 day challenge. My husband reminded me that the guy who started these 30 Days to Do it challenges has a website. I’ll post a link to it.

      I’m really starting to embrace the idea that those projects we fear are the ones we should go hard for. The guy in the book talks about Resistance being the force trying to distract you from the projects that are really connected to your life’s passions. Anyhow, I’m curious about the clothing; would you make the clothes?

  3. December 14, 2010 5:02 am

    stationery with an “e”…it was pretty late and my brain was stationary.

  4. Rha-Kera permalink
    January 1, 2011 2:41 am

    This is so true! I am going to forward this to all my
    friends and family. I was just thinking about the things I want to
    do and how I want to take life to the next level but I don’t b/c I
    find any and every excuse, complaint or reason why I can’t do it!
    Procrastination time is O-V-E-R! Keep up the good work! LOVE
    IT!

    • January 10, 2011 9:31 pm

      Ke, I’m so glad we connected around this. Let’s continue to check in with each other for support and encouragement. Love ya!

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