Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Useful Insight...

... at the meeting of my men's group last night. I arrived back in Los Angeles from the beach filled with anxiety about the week ahead, particularly the deadline I have set myself for the completion of my next Art of Outrage podcast installment and a seemingly vast number of details to be attended to before leaving for Thanksgiving at the beach--to be followed immediately by a full month down there. What happens is that the anxiety around the details tends to get in the way of the smooth flow of things, and sets up unnecessary obstacles to the work that needs to be done. It delays the moment when I can actually get down to some writing.

So the work I needed to do when my turn came to take a deeper look into where I stand in my life right now was to "get into the flow." And what I came to, in response to thoughtful, probing questions from those around me, was the understanding that I could choose to see those details as a part of the flow, not as extraneous and annoying distractions. Some asked this question: When do you see yourself as a writer? The answer was an easy one: there's never a moment when I don't see myself as a writer. The follow-up: do you see yourself as a writer when you're taking out the garbage? When you're doing the dishes? Of course...

I guess I had known this before, but the questions brought it into renewed focus: I'm not just "writing" when I sit down to write. Clearing the desk to prepare for it is also a part of it. And making the appointments for interviews, if they need to be made. Even answering the ton of email. How much easier it gets to be when I manage to get past the separation that my mind wants to make, between "working" and all those distractions that keep me from it! When I see it all as a part of the flow. The distinction itself sets me up for an unnecessary, time-consuming and discouraging battle.

A useful insight, then... I'm grateful to those who helped me come to it.

4 comments:

mandt said...

"---there's never a moment when I don't see myself as a writer." That's the foundation of how we have come to know you---through the most excellent manifestations of view and art, experience and wisdom. The "tied up" parts are only tiny knots in the golden thread. Peace m

Pete Hoge said...

Not sure what to make
of your last comment on
my blog.

Pete.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, M, for the kind words!

Pete, as I recall, I was trying to express some of my own difficulties with the Christian faith. I honor your embrace of it, but have no call to do the same. I find relief in Buddhism, which seems to me to offer a good, strong spiritual ground without requiring my belief in something/SomeOne "out of this world." I like, too, that the Buddha offers refuge, not salvation. Just my take...

Richard said...

The battle between the distractions and the desire to work is something that hinders me greatly, sometimes it seems like a real fight to get anything written. I hadn't realised that seeing the distractions as adversarial was simply giving them more power.

I think that as in meditation, we can use the distractions to remind us we should be doing something more important, take their momentum and use it against them. Writers Judo? ;-D