Hi Creative Ones,
As soon as I was old enough to do a cartwheel, my mom stuck a tennis racket in my hand and signed me up for tennis lessons. Life became tennis. I lived in Miami, my mom was a tennis-pro, and my dad was on the court at every free moment. Eventually, my mom entered me in tournaments (whether I liked it or not), and sat on the sidelines grimacing every time I missed a shot; a LOT of pressure for a sensitive, creative soul. She meant well.
I ranked first in the Miami-wide school district when I was 14 years old but at some point the pressure to win turned into a huge tennis block. I choked and the ruthless forehand that won me so many matches now betrayed me and I hit everything out. I had lost something that brought me a feeling of competence at a time when life was turbulent and awkward. The lack of experience and support in dealing with the pain and embarrassment led me to quitting.
Fast forward to my thirties, I found a Zen tennis instructor to help me work through the block because I wanted to return to tennis for fun. He used metaphors and creative exercises to invite less mental interference. He gave me permission to hit badly as a way to remove the pressure. (These tools may sound familiar to those in the KMCC sphere).
My favorite tool was his instruction to “fascinate on the ball" as it came toward me. The words “fascinate on the ball” created an entirely different experience of being present with this round, fuzzy thing being whacked at me. Not only did it move me from overthinking and pressure to getting lost in a relaxed zone of easy follow-through, it was freeing and made tennis more fun. Bingo!
Words evoke feelings and if we repeatedly use ones that entice us to consciously approach our creative passion with more color, over time the subconscious will relax its habitual delivery of pressure, judgment, and comparison and we can shift toward showing-up more effortlessly.
Our blocks will melt.
Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish,
focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing.
On page 53 in The Muse is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creative, (turn there now, I 'll wait...), I have a whole list of words called "Process Fuel" that can evoke a better feeling for showing-up for your work than pressure and judgment. If you’ve had great success in a creative arena or are just starting, it’s not uncommon to have resistance. Often the best way to get through it is with novel strategies that shift the mind out of a pattern that hasn’t worked but automatically engages because it's been established as a habit.
Scan this list and see if your intuition finds an enticing combining of words that may evoke follow-through in your own game of love. Do any of those work for you?
other: your chance to invent one