What happens in any of us that makes the difference between doing something and not doing it?
I'm not talking about getting in the groceries or finally changing the battery in the smoke alarm, I am talking about why we procrastinate on anything that is really important to the heart and soul.
After all, that's what we save our best procrastination for, Right? For me, that was writing a book.
- Why is it that now I have a accountability group?
- Why is it that now I have goals I'm setting and exceeding?
- Why is it that I'm not struggling to keep promises?
One, I really do like (enjoy, want, genuinely desire) both the end product the process of doing it. Just because I do.
Two, I enjoy being engaged in something in my life that is meaningful to me. I've worked out that the other way is not all that great.
Three, I know that I am able to feel good whether or not I ever write the book. No matter what.
Of all these things, here is what I notice. One and Two are not new. Number 3 is.
I never knew how to feel good about my life without a condition of some sort. I'd agreed with myself I'd feel good when I was successful. I'd feel good if in a great relationship... etc. As for writing, I spent years making myself unhappy because I wasn't doing it. I thought I'd be happy when I did.
I can't pinpoint the day or hour of the flip, but in the last few years I've learned that my own wellbeing isn't dependent on some thing happening (or not happening). I've learned how to stop measuring my inner state of being by the things or people outside of me. I know, how self-evident is that!
So if you have ever said to yourself or someone else "well, you can't buy happiness" or "happiness isn't 'out there'" - let's get wise to ourselves. We said the words without ever having had the experience. Period.
That experience is new, it's totally unfamiliar, and life changes almost immediately when you feel it because it is a living force. That force says to me "So, Elese, we're cool, what would we like to do next?"
It's as if I unhitched the old 'happiness-when trailer' that was towing all my self-love and self-approval and success strategies and just left it on the side of the road.
There is no 'happiness when' attached to my writing anymore. There is just writing.
What really happens is without all the noise about what you need to do to be happy, you actually begin to feel good a lot of the time and from there you see for the first time what's really important to you. Up until then, it's just guessing, hoping and stabbing in the dark.
Learning to feel good for no apparent reason is essentially the best thing you can do for yourself. For me it meant finally getting off my duff, and writing without caring how it turns out.
And if I hadn't decided to write, I guess the downside is I'd simply feel good regardless.
Radio show with Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, on the psychology of creation and Overcoming Blocks January 28
(free workshops in January if you are interested in what I learned and how to do it yourself
enroll in my program Foundations of Wellbeing