I usually make things way too hard for myself. And I tend to choose the hardest path. Then when I don't live up to the ridiculous standards I've set for myself and get scared about just how difficult I've made it for myself I give up.
If I can't do it perfectly... And if I can't do the most challenging version...
I procrastinate. I avoid. I tell myself tomorrow. Next week. When I feel like it.
"When I feel like it" is a total disaster. Because I never "feel" like the doing the things that I want to do when the moment comes.
Especially when I've chosen the most difficult way possible.
That is when FEAR shows up. And fear is pretty much the opposite feeling of wanting to do something.
FEAR is a tool of the Ego.
And it is also the Ego that usually chooses the most difficult path, whispering in my ear, "It's not good enough if you don't take the most challenging way." He also likes to say, "If you don't do it by yourself then it's not good enough."
This is self-sabotage I regularly have to watch for in my life.
Ego loves making things hard and keeping me in isolation
This is often what happens with the things that I deeply want to do. The things that I know if I did regularly and consistently would bring me great fulfillment.
Case in point... my writing and blogging. I started a blog at www.LifesRake.com with Wordpress. Although Wordpress is probably the most robust blogging platform it also has the steepest learning curve and needs a lot of maintenance (at least mine did).
After 2 years I have spent more energy trying to figure out the platform and fixing things as they broke that by the time it came to the actual publishing of my creative work I don't have nearly as much to show as I would like.
I basically spent all of my creative energy trying to build and hold together a blog platform versus doing what I really wanted to do which was create and share.
The same went for photography, videos, audio recording, etc. Again, I have spent so much time trying to figure out the technology that when it comes around to actually creating and sharing something I am so damn exhausted from just trying to learn the tools of the trade I have not been releasing shit with any sort of consistency.
The impact of this is that I feel imprisoned and unexpressed. Constantly plagued by anxious thoughts and feelings centered around the limiting belief that I am not actually doing what I want to do with my creative expression.
I got so lost in the technology of everything and the perfectionism that accompanied it that I missed out on the actual point of it all which was to reawaken the artist/creator part of myself and share my work in service to others.
I freely admit that getting lost in the tools & tech was likely yet another subconscious way of AVOIDING the actual creative work.
Now that I am fully aware of the impact of this self-imposed creative repression the first step towards self-liberation is to create a new possibility.
Here is my possibility:
I am building an ever-growing & living body of creative transformation work that is available & of service to others.
Self-created possibility creates a clearing. And from that clearing I am able to answer some questions that will empower me to move forward. Those questions are:
- How can I make this easier?
- What would this be like if it were easy & fun?
To answer the first question I realized that having allies who shared my creative vision and could support was crucial. I could spend years trying to figure out all of the technology.
Or I could fast-track my growth and development by actually taking on support. It's amazing how much farther and faster you can go when you work with a team.
So, I enrolled a partner who was way ahead of me in the realm of digital production & all things internet.
One of the first things he suggested was moving my blog to Squarespace. I was so resistant to do this because I had invested so much time and energy into my Wordpress site. He patiently pointed out that Squarespace was so much easier and didn't need to be constantly maintained and that unless I wanted to hire a webmaster or continue to spend all my time maintaining my website it was probably best to move on on Wordpress.
My ego balked at easier. "We've invested so much energy already. We can't start over."
I've been lost in the illusion of sunk costs. Inside I cried that I spent so much heart and energy building my website. How could I just move on and start something new.
This has taken me a long time to accept.
I sat with it for a very long time. I even wasted a ton of time trying to convince myself that Wordpress was better because that is what all the bloggers I admired were using (or at least thats what I told myself).
What's even more ridiculous is that at least two other people in my creative clan also suggested I use Squarespace because of its ease, reliability & beauty. Yet still I resisted...
But at the end of the day the second question (what would this be like if it were easy & fun?) got me to move on.
I read somewhere online that Squarespace and Wordpress were like Apple & Android. Apple (and Squarespace) is all about intuitive user experience coupled with beautiful design. Android (and Wordpress) is all about customization and options. That was the linchpin for me. What I needed was less options and more easy-beauty.
I also got really present to the fact that just because I've invested time and energy into something doesn't mean I should continue. I've left relationships and careers after realizing that it was no longer right for me. Why should something as mundane as a blogging/creative platform be any different?
We all have preferences. And these can change as we move through life.
Is Squarespace better than Wordpress? Is Apple better than Android? Is one career better than another? Is this person better than another?
That line of thinking is pointless.
What matters is: "does it empower me now in this current stage?"
The answer to the second question (what would it be like if it were easy & fun) is that writing & blogging would happen in a way where it was super simple & reliable to create and share creative work in a beautiful way.
A state where I wouldn't need to worry about shit working and could instead focus on creating.
So here I am...
What I Learned From This Experience:
- Old me loves to make things as difficult as possible. Alchemized-me loves to makes things as easy and fun as possible.
- If the system or process is too difficult it will not be sustainable. It is only a matter of time before willpower runs out. Always look to build the easiest most fun & sustainable system possible.
- Be wary of falling prey to sunk-costs situations. Just because you invested an enormous amount of energy & time into something doesn't mean you should stick with it if you realize there is an easier or better way or if it is no longer serving your highest path.
- Listen to the people in your creative clan. If you hear it from more than one person the Universe is attempting to get through to you through the people in your life.
- Better to begin all over again than to wait and hope that your willpower to work through a difficult system will return.
- There is nothing wrong with beginning again (despite what my ego says). It is through trial and error that we learn what works for us. And the best way to learn is to learn-by-doing.
Alchemical Opportunity For The Reader:
- What is an area of your life where you are experiencing difficulty & avoidance yet you still think about it daily/weekly? (ideas: exercise, eating, creating, work, a relationship, etc.)
- How could you make this area easier?
- What would this area be like if it were easy & fun? What would it look like day-to-day, week-to-week? What would it feel like? Who can you enroll in supporting or partnering with you to make it easier & more fun? Can you create a team around it to continuously empower you?
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- If you know someone who is stuck forward them this post and have them answer the questions.
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In alchemy & service,