I think it’s important to treat yourself kindly; to speak nicely to yourself, to be loving. One thing I noticed when I practiced a week of self parenting is that when I refrained from speaking negatively and critically to myself, I felt less compelled to be so judgemental with others. This knock-on effect blossomed like a flower that I did not expect. And I still criticise people, don’t get me wrong, but I tend to go home and think about it afterwards and it never sits right with me. I’m rarely able to convince myself anymore that what I said was justified.
Throughout my experimenting with different methods of increasing self esteem, I definitely grew as a person; emotionally and spiritually. But I didn’t make very much music – and making more music was actually my intention with all of this. It has reignited my passion for writing but it’s also shown me that all this healing didn’t do all that much for my creativity. As I said, I love writing but I live for music. Music is the fire in my belly, the reason I’m alive, the food for my soul – my potential gift to the world. And in some respects, all this healing has gotten in the way.
It’s given me a reason, a get-out clause, a free pass – to not to make music. How can I make music when I’m broken? When I’m “a depressive”? When I’m exerting all my energy into not repeating unhealthy relationship patterns from childhood?
I never considered that perhaps all these issues would slowly resolve themselves if I did what my soul had been screaming at me to do – make music. The other day, I was grappling with feelings of jealousy relating to someone I hold dear. After I did some painfully bad writing, I scribbled it all out and wrote: “Focus on yourself first. Combat your resistance with gritted teeth. Then attachment is not a problem.”
As a close friend said to me the other day: “I was raised to be a quitter.” The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield has honestly made such an impact on me that any blog post I write at the moment is going to sound like a glorified review of that book. The War Of Art is a book for quitters. For people that start novels they don’t have the guts to finish, for people who yearn to start businesses and passion projects, for people who want to commence and maintain a solid spiritual practice. Pressfield takes no prisoners and he gives you the tools to be as unrelenting as he is.
But it’s not in the typical way that you expect from a self help book. He doesn’t churn out regurgitated advice that you could read on a Cosmo column (sorry to all the writers at Cosmo) – he presents steely and unwavering insights that left me blinking at the page and feeling called out in a Killing Me Softly kind of way.
I was raised to be a quitter but in some ways I am thankful. I’ve been in the grips of depression and anxiety multiple times and when you’re fully riding that wave and in danger of becoming completely submerged, tough love isn’t always the answer – self-care is. Now, self-care is not quitting but it can definitely distract you from your goals.
On one hand, I feel ready to dust myself off, stop letting my past define me and do what I truly set out to do. On the other hand, I feel like I’ll never be ready and I might as well just start now. That sounds more accurate.
“What are we trying to heal anyway? The athlete knows the day will never come when he wakes up pain-free. He has to play hurt.” – The War Of Art, Steven Pressfield
The idea of having to “play hurt” resonates with me. I’ve done it many times. Dragged myself out of bed to go to work when a black cloud is hanging over my head and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks; made myself go to the supermarket when it would’ve been much easier to starve; had my mind and emotions fully convince me that to keep an appointment with a friend would be complete murder and I categorically must stay inside but gone out anyway and found that every cell in my body was lying to me.
Resistance can manifest itself in psychological, rational, emotional and even physical ways and this is why we need to learn to not trust ourselves. At least not all the time, anyway. When my body and mind told me that I was too hungover for music production a couple of weekends ago, it was lying; when I felt like the very last thing I wanted to do last Thursday was go to a hip hop dance class after work, I painfully forced myself to go anyway and had a fantastic time.
What I’m getting at is that we need to ditch this narrative that we’re “too sad” or “too weak” or “too tired” to do the things that will give us supreme happiness and cure all these “ailments” anyway. The only reason we’re feeling so sad is because we’re not fulfilling our higher purpose. If you don’t know what your higher purpose is, it’s probably the thing that makes you feel the most alive without a subsequent comedown.
“Remember, the part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from; that part is far deeper and stronger. The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did. That part is unsullied, uncorrupted; soundproof, waterproof, and bulletproof. In fact, the more troubles we’ve got, the better and richer that part becomes.”
Moving forward, I’m not going to completely ditch self care and healing, but I am going to prioritise my creativity with the belief that everything will fall into place if I do what I love. And it’s a struggle because I’ve been conditioned for years against this line of thinking but then that’s just another excuse not to do my work.
The Ego doesn’t want us to evolve and completely inhabit our higher selves because the two cannot coexist. The Ego wants us to play the victim and kill time with consumerism, laziness and ill-health. Too bad.
Thanks so much for reading.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx