July 21, 2008

On being held back

On Thursday night I got together with two friends to talk and discuss some things we're going to be writing about together. It's sort of a long story and I don't really want to explain right now. Besides, it sounds a little California new-agey (the kind of stuff I usually roll my eyes at) but I decided to give it a shot. One thing that I will be doing as part of all this over the next several weeks is taking on some various thinking/writing tasks. Some of them will inevitably end up here starting in the very near future.

We were reflecting on the automatic things we tell ourselves that hold us back from being creative, and for me one statement that really does it is, "I will have only one good piece of work in me." The more I think about it, the more insidious it seems. It's not that I think I can't do anything, or couldn't accomplish something if I put my mind to it. It's that I seem to operate under the premise that I don't have much to work with and will use it all up--in a sense--to make one good thing and the rest will be scraps and shards and crumbs that won't be useful or interesting to anyone.

I've felt that way about relationships, meals that I've cooked, writing that I have done and aspire to do, research projects, jobs, dates, and on and on and on. I'm only realizing how pervasive this has been in my thinking just now. It's pretty astonishing. But how does one get over this? By "proving" it incorrect? By willing oneself to believe otherwise (this way seems fruitless)? I don't know. I suppose at least recognizing it is important.

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