You’re sitting in your big chair in the living room. Staring into space. The TV is on but you have put it on mute. You don’t want the noise.
You may have called in sick today. You are not. But you are sick at heart because of a problem that will not go away. It hangs on and on and you don’t know how to solve it. It could be personal – business – family.
It doesn’t matter what it is. You are stuck. You can’t go forward and you can’t go back. You feel paralyzed. And you are afraid.
You’ve thought about calling a friend but you really don’t want to talk about it right now. You should probably go out for a walk but it is too much effort. You don’t even want to put a load of wash on.
We have been there. All of us.
There is only one thing I have found that works. It does require a little effort but not too much. Get up and find a yellow pad. And a pen. Start writing. Write about the news you are seeing on the TV on the banner that is going by. Write about your paralysis. Write about the cleaning you should have dropped off yesterday. The laundry that is not done. Just keep writing. Write about any thought that comes into your head. Write without punctuation. Write and write until you feel your hand will fall off.
After about one and a half pages, an interesting thing happens. You start writing about your problem. Curse it. Defame. Criticize. Complain. Bewail your fate. Talk about your hopelessness in solving it. Get mad. Really mad. No one is going to read this, so you can say anything you want on that paper. Write things you would be ashamed to say out loud, even to yourself. About this time, your brain, which knows everything, will start to clear a little. Strange and weird solutions start coming out on the paper. That’s OK. We are not trying to solve anything. We are just writing.
By page three, you are coming into a point where you are going to start examining your options. Most of them are bad but keep going. This process may not enable you to make a decision. But it does one very important thing. It clears some of the blocks in your mind which are preventing you from taking action. Gets them out of the way.
OK. Stop. Do not read what you have written. You can even tear the pages up and throw them in the garbage. Or burn them in the sink. You should be able to get out of your chair now. Do not expect too much of yourself. Ask yourself the question, “What is the next right thing I can do for myself right now?” It could be brushing your teeth. Maybe taking a shower. Having a bowl of cereal.
You have just gone through a self exorcism. You need some time to recover. Let the problem go for now. No decisions today. Tomorrow is another day.
Consider doing this writing again and again. Until everything is extremely clear in your mind. Your subconscious mind knows the answer to your problem and exactly what to do.
Let this wisdom speak to you in your own time frame.
Don’t rush the answers. They may not be pretty. But, they will come.
This article was inspired by Julia Cameron’s wonderful book, The Artist’s Way