The New Year almost always opens the floodgates to resolutions. Home. Workplace. Spirit. Health. I am no exception. For example, I crafted this glorious schedule for the website: 2 blogs a month, one Thought Leader, and a newsletter. Yet here I am as the end of January approaches, and I have written absolutely nothing.
Not that I haven’t been thinking about potential blog topics and Thought Leaders. Perhaps too much thinking and not enough writing? Resistance! Yet, with all due respect to Steven Pressman’s War of Art, my resistance does not feel malevolent or rooted in Freud’s Thanatos (The Greek personification of death). Rilke’s discussion of doubt in Letters to a Young Poet came to mind:
“And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrassed, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.”
What if I were to substitute resistance for doubt? What if I were to put a face on this resistance that is such a forceful presence in my life and work? When I asked the resistance to show me its face, imagine my surprise at the sudden image of a giant mastiff. It stood there holding my latest thoughts and plans in its powerful jaws, including this blog draft.
Okay. How to dialogue? How to negotiate? Mastiffs are protectors, guard dogs. What is this inner mastiff protecting me from? A book came to mind: Marion Woodman’s Addicted to Perfection. The title says it all! Is this resistance trying to protect me from being exposed as less than perfect? From embarrassing myself.
The Google machine presented me with a wonderful essay posted on the Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences. I highly recommend it. Sadly, no author is listed. Crucial insights: perfectionism
- is a hopeless endeavor
- blocks play
- warps our imagination
- blunts compassion
- opens the door to self-hatred
- blocks change
The antidote (detoxing) is to wake up to our uniqueness and our gifts.
Easier said than done. But that instruction now has a place of honor on my computer. The mastiff has not magically transformed into a golden retriever but we are now standing side by side. The jaws released this slightly chewed version of today’s blog.
Source: Bullmastiff Dog Breed Information.