‘Droughts are a necessity’

Dearest reader – I’m back! Thanks for waiting. It’s been nearly 3 months since my last posting (crikey!) and I’ve had to ask myself “have I simply gone off the boil – forever? Maybe the blogging mojo has just evaporated (inexplicably) and I need to move on?” But something inside of me said ‘No – this is temporary – stick with it.’ I know to listen to my instincts but I have to say it was a weird feeling, suddenly switching from weekly posting to nothing, zero, zilch. What was with that?

To be frank, I don’t have clue why I dried up. I was busy but that’s not been a problem before. All I can do is shrug my shoulders and believe that this was meant to be.

We’ve all heard of the metaphor of a field that needs to lie fallow for a growing season in order to replenish itself. Maybe that was what was going on?

My friend Nancy told me today that she saw these times as a gift – an opportunity for silence and to go deep within ourselves.

Julia Cameron (she of  The Artist’s Way) talks about it in terms of a drought. “Droughts are a necessity,” she says. “The time in the desert brings us clarity and charity.’ She adds:

… as painful as they are, they deepen us. When we feel we have “nothing to say” as artists, we are grappling with what it is we do want to say. In struggling to find our sources of inspiration, we find ourselves.

Another thing: drought doesn’t disqualify you as an artist. Rather, it is a rite of passage, an initiation period that while it pains us also makes us better…  we experience a deepened gratitude for those times when art comes to us more easily.

In other words, droughts make us appreciate times of flow. As much as anything else, droughts teach us compassion for ourselves and others. Can this be anything but a blessing?

It’s true – I do feel renewed. Renewed inside of the ‘Why?’ of this blog and what the writing of it gifts me with – conciousness, connection, curiousity and celebration.

I’ll leave you with a couple of snowy pictures from the Stroud Valleys taken today. Just because… !

Edge in the Snow 1 Randwick Woods2

The procrastination challenge

I have a friend who would love to write a novel but she puts it off and puts it off and puts it off. She wrote to me today because it’s her 74th birthday and she says she’s afraid she’ll pop her clogs before she puts pen to paper.

By return email I asked if she was willing to accept a series of challenges from me – with the intention of turning this around for her. Here’s the first challenge I sent her. Think of something you might have put off and try this out for yourself (obviously replacing the words like ‘novel’ with your specific desire). This could apply to anything from a project you want to be involved in, an ambition you want fulfilled or even a desire you might have like earning more money.

        The two ‘Why’s

  • First of all: Why do you want to write a novel?
    • Don’t just say ‘because I’ve always wanted to’ (or words to that effect), really try to answer this question as deeply as possible. List all the ways that it is important to you. Think about what you’d LOVE to be writing about, about the lifestyle, about the process.
  •  Now ask ‘Why?’ again. So if, for instance, you said, “I want to write because I love the feeling of connection that it gives me.” Then follow this up with the question, “Why do I love that feeling of connection?”

The idea behind these questions is to get to the root of what’s REALLY important to you. This is not about publishing a book – it’s about something much deeper than that. Look to see what that is and you’re much further to aligning to your heart’s desire. The book is simply a product – an imagined destination – but what is really vital here is the JOURNEY.

Now answer these questions:

Given what you’ve written above, what is the journey that you are on?

How far has your journey already taken you towards that which you desire? (E.g. you have experimented with connection and creativity with your cooking; you are now a published author and columnist – yes, in a different genre, but this is a big step on your journey, etc.)You are probably a lot further towards ‘Novel’ than you are giving yourself credit for. After all, a novel can be written in 6 months. Age is irrevelant hereall that matters is that you find yourself in the right energetic space to do the writing.

What is 100% true is that whilst your dominant conversation in your head is all about how you haven’t got what you want yet, how hard it is or how you may die being unfulfilled, you will simply push what you desire away. The universe gives you what you think. We need to change that conversation – gradually – to match your desire. That way when your thoughts match, your desire can manifest. Feeling good about your journey and the steps that you’ve already taken is a big step in the right direction.

See this video to have this explained a little more:  

No point in kicking a pea up a hill

What is it with me and doing things at the last minute? I seem to be a hopeless case. No matter how soon I start something in advance I always end up constructing things so that I get into rush-rush towards the end. I can only suppose that I get a kick out of the adrenaline. I know I also relish that feeling of having ‘triumphed over the odds’ – even though those odds have been entirely manufactured by me!

Maybe it’s a primeaval urge to recreate the thrill of the fight-or-flight response? I don’t know. I do know that I have a prejudice against getting things done in good time – it feels ‘sad’, as in dull, surburban, dowdy. Last minute is punk, urban, edgy!

At the end of the day, I suppose, it’s whatever gets your juices going. It’s much better to be working in an energetic state that feels jazzy and alive, than trying to ‘kick a pea up a hill’ and force yourself to perform in a way that you don’t want to.

In my case, then, perhaps it’s better to call procrastination ‘sensitivity to my own energetic’.  If it doesn’t feel right, I don’t do it. When the time comes to go for it, I feel it and I enter into the task at hand with gusto.

Nice reframe!



Delayed Gratification

This is a familiar one for me. Sitting in bed contemplating my commitment to something and thinking “I’m frankly not sure I can be bothered”!

This morning at 9am – still holed up comfortably under my duvet and reading a great book written by a friend of mine – the thought of going for a jog, as I’d promised myself, didn’t feel so great.

I did go in the end and it all came down to me asking myself: “How will I feel tonight if I did my run today?”

Joachim de Posada, in this six minute TED talk, explains how delayed gratification was a good predictor of future success. Curious that it’s centred around marshmallows (we’re all at it!)

See his talk here – it’s quite funny in places!