I am writing my first book. It's almost as scary to write these six words as it is to tackle the several thousand to be contained within.
On this particularly scorching and smoggy Toronto day, its pretty easy to summon the will to stay inside, and immobile at my desk.
Getting words down on the page (or screen that is), is a different story. Today my wall is not incentive, or inspiration, or distractions: today, the creative edge that I need to work with is fear.
Knowing from my yoga practice that I need to gently stretch and expand past my edge instead of pushing and forcing my way through it, I close my eyes, breathe, and listen to the subtle inner dialogue that sits between thought and feeling.
Feeling: "I am scared"
Thought: "What are you scared of?"
Feeling: "I am scared of failure"
Thought: "What would failure be?"
Feeling: "Not meeting the expectations of this project that I don't even know I have."
Thought: "What would that feel like?"
Feeling: "That I don't like my writing."
This is something I think everyone who at one point in their lives pursues a creative project deals with: the fantasy of their art, and a fear of the reality of their art.
I pick up my copy of Pema Chodron's "The Places that Scare You" and flip around until something strikes me, which happens to be two mind-training slogans developed in the 11th century by Atichsa Dipankarar as part of the bodhichitta teachings:
"abandon any hope of fruition"
"don't be so predictable"
For the rest of the afternoon, I am going to write like I have never written before: no neat and tidy lessons or endings, and a ton of dialogue.
For the rest of the afternoon, I will abandon hopes of success, and in so, fears of failure.
For the rest of the week, I won't dislike my writing, because it's not even mine, but that of my new 'genius'.