Creative Hangover/Mental Hydration (For The Stagnant Creatives)

The hospital room may be spotless and sterile, but birth itself will always take place amid chaos, pain and blood.” –Steven Pressfied

When my cousin De Angela handed me the jewel of a book Do The Work by Steven Pressfield, that was the equivalent of me basically thinking that I had just won the lottery. I felt as if words from heaven were pouring out of this text, but since I was newly graduated with a meaningless English degree in this economy from a rather top university, I didn’t understand why I had trouble finding work in the writing field.

By no means am I embellishing this, but Pressfield literally presented me with step-by-step processes to pursue a career in writing.

Again. And, I mean really.

He devoted an entire book for people just like me, writers and creative souls, to reshape our thought patterns and overcome our doubts and have the confidence to produce material. His message couldn’t be anymore effectively clearer. The man was basically in my living room in a lime green suit asking me if it would be the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

But do you know what I convinced myself? I’m not talented enough. So what did I do? I stopped writing, even just for my own enjoyment. I completely relinquished a craft that I had the deepest of intentions of pursuing and pushed the possibility out of my head because I didn’t believe a shift could happen to me. I wasn’t Fitzgerald and I sure as hell wasn’t going to beat my personal hero at the time, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love.

So, what happened? I reverted to a comfort zone and put out my resumé for jobs in retail sales because I had always worked in a retail environment so it was comfortable to me. That’s one major issue with the faults of our breakdowns; we become intimately comfortable with the toxic dynamic of its impact on us, but accommodate it anyway by the thoughts and beliefs we’re holding onto.

It’s like a friend that you’re not particularly thrilled to hang out with has just showed up at your doorstep, because, “I was just thinking about you and was close by and thought I’d just pop in and say hey!” And, because manners and hospitality are of such importance to you, you force the smile, go in for that awkward hug and, yes, you invite that person in. There is absolutely no distinction here between that person you just let walk through your door and the access that you openly grant your opponent. It’s there and lingering and instead of saying, “My sincerest apologies. I’m actually preoccupied with something else,” you ask if it would like to come in and have a glass of wine. And, now our deepest fault comes, we feed it by feeding into it.

I actually happen to love wine, and am totally guilty of that occasional night where maybe opening up that second bottle wasn’t the greatest of ideas, and suffered the consequences the following day. And it’s unanimously decided that hangovers are the worst.

But, you know what’s worse? The creative hangover. That point in your life where you pursued that passion, started that project, invested time into your creative endeavor and then crashed. You felt depleted, mentally weak, maybe even stuck. Don’t succumb to that. Don’t go back to your comfort zone. Or, as my therapist frequently says, don’t put the Nike’s on and run.

To the quote that I have included above, what I absolutely love about its implication of the creative process is simply put–this shit ain’t easy. But, when we learn how to filter out the distorted messages, the creative process suddenly becomes far more manageable than before because those toxins aren’t impairing our judgment. No. Pun. Intended. I swear.

What chatter are you dismissing today?

What creative endeavor will you pursue now?

What kind of mental hydration are you supplying yourself with?

May the joy and inspiration be with you!

Be LIFTED. –Darryn

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