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Emails to my Therapist

Wading Through Mud Today

I’ve noticed that there’s a rhythm to my productivity and my get-up-and-go. Mud-wading periods are followed by flying-faster-than-light periods when most things are easy. The mud periods inevitably feel to me like a failure of nerve: as if timidity were slowing me down. This may not be true at all; it may be just a cycle, like waking and sleeping.

Today I was having my monthly cafeteria lunch with four mystic-philosophers I know (the group I refer to as Mystic Pizza). One of these wise individuals said that her theme for the year was Confronting the Resistance.

The idea of The Resistance comes from the excellentWar of Art book/CDs by Steven Pressfield. The Resistance is the great invisible force that can get between any of us and the good that we intend to do.

My friend’s resolve/theme isn’t to beat the Resistance every time. Instead it’s to recognize when she’s justifying not doing the right thing and instead make a conscious decision about which way to go.

For example, she finds herself saying: I’ll go to the Y and work out after I finish this Sudoku. But she knows that what she needs is exercise and not more mental games. Her resolve is to simply acknowledge that exercise is the right decision and decide yes or no. I’ll do the right thing and get moving. Or, I’m going to sit here and do this puzzle because I want to.

Her idea is to acknowledge when she’s using gradual procrastinating rationalizations and instead admit that she’s making a choice, on the probably correct theory that this awareness will lead to making good decisions more often.

I think she’s on to a good plan. Maybe I should decide to wade through mud for the rest of the afternoon–doing easy things slowly. It would at least be better than brow-beating myself. (If I had a resolution for this New Year, it would be no berating myself.)

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Categories: strategy, time management, war of art

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