The return of my blog . . . after a 6-month hiatus!
Are mental blocks bullshit? Do they exist? Or is it the bullshit in our lives that actually blocks us? In other words, what do we do to stop ourselves from succeeding, doing what we love, or falling in love? There are all kinds of labels. FEAR, PROCASTINATION and DISTRACTION are the big ones. But then, there’s just life as well. Work, kids, schedules, relationships and the ever desired “time to ourselves.” These are all very valid and real reasons to block us from doing the things we love, that truly stoke us. The question really is, why do we take ourselves out? Why do we stop doing the things we love?
My block showed up in the form of the dreaded “writer’s block!” I used to think that blocks were bullshit, being the obstinate Aries that I am. In my opinion, blocks are nothing more than procrastination and laziness. I always believed that with good discipline and structure, you could just push/bully your way through the block. In the past, when I have disciplined myself and cleared my head, the words and creativity have always flowed after a few days. Well, I have been proven totally wrong! Your subconscious mind is a very tricky thing, and when it wants to take you out . . . it will! And in ways you would never expect. Writer’s block does exist, but it’s not only for writers, but artists, musicians, choreographers and athletes, too. It can happen to anyone, because it is not just a block of words, music, art or sport. It’s a block of a person’s creative outlet, a block of doing what we love, a block of passion. For me, it showed up slowly and unexpectedly, as a continuous layer of excuses as to why I was not writing. It started with really great distractions and was followed by pure procrastination. It grew so that with every week I didn’t write, the guilt and procrastination got worse. It was kinda like procrastination on steroids because it was more than the typical excuses like “let’s putter around the house for hours and avoid writing” or “I will go for a run” (all of those diversions have gotten me out of slumps in the past). I wasn’t writing because I had all these totally valid, logical and REAL reasons for not writing, like . . . I am super busy with work and weddings, or I need some down time to recharge, or the other “distractions” like surfing, friends visiting, and falling in love with the love of my life. All of these are very important diversions that required my time and energy, and I had many great experiences over the past six months, none of which I regret, but all fuelled the “block.”Finally, the guilt got to me. The guilt, panic and anxiety that I experienced when friends/clients would ask the dreaded questions: “Why haven’t I seen a new blog lately?” “When is book 3 going to be done?” God, those two questions (thanks to everyone who asked them and please never stop!) caused a deep panic in my soul . . . what if I never write again? It would be like never surfing again! But, panic forced me to call myself on my shit and think about all the reasons why I had not been writing and I realized that I didn’t have any more excuses left. Because, if I was honest with myself, if I wanted to make the time to write over the past six months, I would have, but I was scared and hiding! A few times I tried, and I just remember being frustrated because I was trying to turn out a blog that did not resonate. What I wrote did not make me scream or cry from my soul – there was nothing but frustration. This prompted the real question: “Why am I hiding instead of writing?” This question was a lot scarier to answer. One deep, hidden fear that slinked to the surface was . . . “I suck at writing, what is the point, no one reads anymore anyway, everyone just scrolls Facebook and Instagram.” That was an awesome, self-deprecating internal conversation to have with myself, thank God for a night of wine and morning of Advil! The other answer was (you will love this excuse; I can’t even believe I am saying it – again, thank God for wine!), wait for it!
“I don’t have the right chair to write in.”
Yup, that was my reason. I even looked for months in Mexico for the perfect chair to sit in, so that I could finish book 3, “Rescuing Cap’n Tim,” but I never found it. This one made me realize that writers, like a lot of other artists, are habitual, superstitious, or just plain weird. Seriously, a chair! That was my excuse.
However, one month later back in Whistler, what is really interesting or maybe superstitious (or I am just a bit crazy), but I am back in my writing chair and the creative juices are flowing again. Realistically, it’s not about the chair (well it kinda is), but it’s the fact that I am just too freaked out to write. Why? Because, I have always written with the intention of inspiring other people to follow their dreams. That no matter what, you can overcome any obstacle and create the life you dream of. That has been the intention behind my writing for years.
But somehow, that intention got shoved under the rug. It was overshadowed by stress, the constant push to build my brand, post on Instagram, or compose a killer tweet. I found all my creativity was going into creating the perfect picture to show how amazing my life, and brand is. The ironic thing was that all the social media seminars/marketers kept telling me to “be authentic” when I posted. But I found myself battling to be me! Honestly, how can you be authentic when you are scheduling your posts on Hootsuite weeks in advance? Or spending so much time getting the right filter on your photos and researching hashtags? Is that being “in the moment” or “authentic?” Hell, no! But I can tell you what it is. Bullshit, that’s what. Very little on social media is real. It’s all based on the power of “the algorithm.” What social media started out as, is no longer! As is with so many things, the masterminds of social media apps like Facebook and Snapchat decide what we see, who shows up in our feeds and what we absorb! All this crap does is one HUGE thing! It zaps your creativity and helps to feed the dreaded creative block – like a corporate mastermind trying to shut down the outside-the-box thinkers! But, the in-the-moment reality is that the underlying stress and pressure to “do this” or “create that” led me down the rabbit hole and finally I got to the point where I was wondering if I had what it takes to inspire others.Thank God I was reminded a few weeks ago by a great girlfriend, who I shared some wine with (thank god for wine), that if my intention is to inspire others to follow their dreams by what I write, then I have to write! As she put it, “Stop f**king worrying about how many likes or shares you get and just write! Trust the universe (that is what you are always telling me), because the people who you are meant to inspire will end up reading your blog and your books.” Then she raised her glass of wine and said, “Maybe you should just write because you love it and it feeds your soul, and stop worrying and stressing about who’s reading it or “liking” it!
Today on my run, I heard her words over and over again in my head. Now, I sit in my favourite chair with a glass of wine. What I find soooo ironic about this whole “block” thing is, I spent so many years searching for my passion, for what stoked me, then I found it, loved it and nurtured it, only to sabotage it in the end . . . so I could hide away. Kinda sounds like all of our lost love affairs. Coincidence? I don’t think so!
Well, I would like to thank the universe for superstition, my chair for comfort, great girlfriends for inspiration, and wine, because it is the vice that gets me through – and we all have our vices! The words are now flowing and I feel stoked again! Does this blog inspire you? I am not sure, but that does not matter anymore. What does matter is that everyone encounters blocks at some point in their lives and we all find excuses to stop doing what we love, whether it’s artistic, athletic or an affair of the heart. Everyone uses distractions, procrastination and fear to take themselves out.
You can push at the blocks, hide from them, justify them, self-medicate or ignore, BUT at some point someone will say something, you will read something, or destiny will intervene to make you realize that life is about being happy. When we are happy we radiate love, which is our purpose. So find what you LOVE, then DO IT and never stop. But remember, there will always be detours, and as I said, the mind is a very powerful thing. Overcoming the mind with the spirit of our soul is truly every person’s life lesson.
Grateful to be back,