This morning I'm re-reading Steven Pressfield's Do the Work. It's become a go-to-book when I need to remind myself how to start creative projects and move through the massive resistance I face whenever I want to bring something to life.
Lately, I've been sifting through various options for where I want to go next, noticing that I've lost some of the passion that had fed what felt like awesome ideas only a few months ago. And then I read this:
You may think that you've lost your passion, or that you can't identify it, or that you have so much of it, it threatens to overwhelm you. None of these is true.
Fear saps passion. (my emphasis)
When we conquer our fears, we discover a boundless, bottomless, inexhaustable well of passion.
This is true. This is what happens. I will feel inside me a great excitement about a potential path and then, just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the fear will rise inside of me.
If my creative project is a potential money-making venture, then most certainly the fear that it will NOT make money comes up first. This is followed by a whole host of other fears--that I will fail or look stupid, that others will react poorly or that it's not really a great idea after all. Also endless permutations of these basic fears. You know the drill. It is the work of my "rational" mind (which I think is really just my nay-sayer mind) that can quickly overwhelm the initial thrill of knowing that I've hit on something important.
Pressfield reminds me, though, that this fear is just part of Resistance (with a capital "R"). And that Resistance is an inevitable part of the creative process, an external force that rises up to meet us when we try to bring something great into the world. He says:
We can navigate Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or purpose that we must follow before all others.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. (my emphasis)
The passion-sapping fear I feel is just a tool from the Resistance toolbox, a trick of the mind meant to dissaude me from pursuing those things that are most important for me to go after.
Increasingly I realize that we all know in our hearts what we really want to do. But then Resistance sets in and saps the passion that would helps us move through to what we want. It uses its Jedi mind tricks of fear and distraction to keep us from creating what we know we want to create.
This morning I'm working with my fears, using the List of 100 technique. Just recogizing the impact of fear on passion and getting those fears down on paper is doing wonders to restore me.
How do your fears sap your passion? What happens if you work with your fears? That may be the best way to get the passion to return.