Sacred work

Someone once asked Somerset Maugham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”
What is the thing(-s?) that makes you feel restless when you don’t do it? The need, the desire, the obvious benefit of you doing it every day is there, and yet resistance or interruptions arise. It ends up being bumped to the next day, and this continues for weeks, months, or years even. Is it a change in what or how you eat? Maybe it’s committing to a few stretches in the morning? Meditation practice? Some part of your work or creative expression?

For me it is sitting down at my laptop to write. I feel this increasingly intense knowing that I have stories within that are so very very important to me and I want to express them. Each time I spend even a few minutes working on them, there is a sense of immense relief, like a weight has been lifted off of me. A day when I sit down to write feels more complete, like I had made the most out of it. Yet WHY is it so hard to actually sit down and do it?

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”

Last week I read a book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, and it brought me so much clarity about how to approach the work or practice that is often blocked by resistance, despite of how important it feels. What if instead of striving to become “more disciplined” or get stricter with myself as I battle this resistance, I begin to see it as work that is necessary for my soul, sacred even. What if there are tiny rituals that can help me turn it into a daily ceremony? Maybe not a huge amount of writing will happen on some days, but at least I will have spent some time with these stories, acknowledged their importance, and greeted the creative force within me that wants to express them. And suddenly it feels like there has been a shift, it has become easier to have this daily negotiation with myself. Forcing myself to sit down at the laptop has transformed into an invitation to have a little ceremony, a ritual to invoke inspiration and creativity.

So what is it going to be for you? A three-second mindful pause to welcome your salad to your plate? Ten conscious breaths when your kids woke up earlier than your intended meditation time? A short prayer of gratitude to your body as you allow it to move intuitively for a few minutes? Or – maybe like me – a little moment to make a cup of cacao, light some incense next to the laptop, and invite the power that creates worlds to do the sacred work through you?

“Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose. This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favour in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like magnetised rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas comes. Insights accrete.”

Steven Pressfield “The War of Art”
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