The last few months I’ve been trying to be consistent with content (recipes, tarot cards) during certain weeks of the month. Although this goes against how I like to blog, I figured it would help me to fill up my blog during the weeks when I’m feeling less creative.
Lately, however, creativity has not been a problem. The regularly scheduled programming has. I have had all these genius ideas, which I then force myself to write down and relegate to the back burner while I put the finishing touches on my tarot card for June blog.
You may be wondering to yourself: I haven’t seen this tarot card post. Did I miss it? No need to go searching. You didn’t miss it. I didn’t finish it. Or any of my other great ideas for that matter, because I fell into a cycle of guilt.
I’d pursue my awesome ideas. Then I’d feel bad for not working on my scheduled post. So I’d switch over to that for awhile. But there’d be no passion, and no passion=crappy writing. Of course I’d happily switch back to the stellar post I’d started in the beginning and the light would be gone.
This is not the cycle of creativity I want for myself. I remember one of the reasons I told myself I wouldn’t blog on a certain day was so that I wouldn’t stifle my creativity.
Yes, I know there are lots of ideas about how to blog, how to get more of an audience and blah blah blah, many written by bloggers I respect, but I’ve decided not to buy it.
I mean, yes. Of course I would love to have huge success with my writing. I’d love to change people’s lives with it. But I also wanted a supportive man in my life and I didn’t get that by following someone else’s rules and changing myself for him.
Perhaps it’s a jump for you to compare blogging to a true, life-long relationship, but not for me. Writing is my first love. It’s my refuge. Most of the time, there’s really nothing I’d rather be doing.
And I know I should take advice from others that have come before me, navigated these waters and had success. I realize that. But this is the river of creation. Why not just create in my own way? When my heart is in it, that’s when my work is at its best.
And that, my friends, is my really long-winded explanation of why I didn’t post last week about a monthly tarot card. I have a great post almost finished. Maybe I’ll post it later if I feel like it.
What I really wanted to dig into is this idea of feeling. Feelings. I wrote awhile back that I didn’t want to censor myself anymore. Before I wrote that, a friend of mind gave me a poem to read. Maybe you’ve read it?
This has been the key I was missing. For so long I would despair about being depressed, which only dug me deeper into a hole. If I was angry, I would try to figure out a way to turn it off and then later it would flip back on for no good reason.
This confused those closest to me. Of course, I thought these were excellent methods to keep up a positive mindset, but I wasn’t allowing myself to feel.
In the past few months, I have allowed these guides to come into my life. I’ve even welcomed this a few times. I’m not saying I’ve graduated to a Dalai Lama status, but I’ve definitely learned a lot already and here’s a few things that have helped me in this process.
Create a morning ritual. Posting this poem on my mirror and reading it every morning framed my mind to accept these feelings. The morning is a very powerful time and only in the last five years or so have I really been OK with even getting up at all. It took me many years to add journaling, meditating and exercising to that.
But now I have a morning ritual, and adding this really helped. If you don’t have a morning ritual, I suggest starting with this one. It’s simple. It takes me less than a minute to stop and read this to myself. And maybe you’ll notice such a difference in your attitude toward your feelings, you’ll be convinced to keep it up.
Kick your addiction. This was something that was really stressed in The Artists Way, but it took me a while to build up the courage to deal with it. There is always something that stops your from pursuing your creativity.
You know what it is. This is the thing you must stop.
I maintain that your addiction, whether it be to pastries, soda, booze, cigarettes, people, or even reading, is what you use to stuff your feelings. And you may not even view it as an addiction, but deep down, you know it’s a problem. That’s what has become obvious to me, anyway.
Last spring I stopped drinking for 30 days. This year I joined Team 100, which means that I won’t drink for 100 days.
I’m somewhere in the 70s as far as days go, and boy do I feel things! Honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to handle them if I had been drinking, which makes sense as to why they didn’t come up until I stopped.
I wasn’t drinking until I passed out every night of the week, or at all really. A few drinks with dinner most nights. Maybe catch a buzz on the weekends. But I knew it was a problem, just like Julia Cameron said.
So search your heart. What are you using to stuff your feelings? Where do you turn when you’ve had a tough day? Now consider stopping.
If every ounce of your being screams NO!, you’re probably on the right track. And further down that track your feelings are waiting for you.
Exercise. OK, this is something I know not everyone wants to hear. I didn’t want to for years. “I know I know,” I’d say, “but I am waaaay to busy for that. Plus it’s super-uncomfortable. Why would I do that to myself on purpose?”
That changed several years ago, but in the past few months, exercise has taken on a whole new dimension. I started running and it became a place to work out my feelings. I would seriously think of something I was feeling and then decide that on this run I would process that.
So maybe I should change that up a little bit. Exercise with intent. That’s better. Use all those new feelings to fuel your workout. You’ll look better, feel better, sleep better. It’s a no-brainer if you’re looking for a way to become a better version of yourself, which is one of my favorite pursuits.
So yeah, feelings are scary sometimes. In fact, before this all began, I’d shake in my boots every time I felt something aside from happiness, elation, contentedness and calm.
Since this is all so new to me, handling fear, anger, frustration and sadness are still freaky, but suddenly I don’t feel lost in a cloud of confusion. Those sort of emotions wouldn’t allow me to think clearly, make valid arguments and generally act like an adult. It was a problem. And now it’s less so.
The side effects of running my first trail race, waking up hangover-free, more cash in my bank account and mornings on the beach aren’t so bad either. What about you? What helps you feel your feelings?