Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joy in chopping wood and carrying water...

Morning Pages Collage by Lani with PaperWhimsy image.

In my explorations for my "Postgraduate Studies" program I got to wondering about the nature of resistance.  Have you ever started a project or course of study and then dropped it after some time?  Or have you ever known that to get to point C (have more creativity or what ever in your life) you need to work seriously at point B (have an art space where you can find things, where you can practice every day)?  And that point B for what ever reason just doesn't appeal to you at the moment (cleaning, organizing, etc.)?  So you end up in a kind of trap of resistance, not getting to the place you want to get to, not doing what you want to do, and not enjoying much of anything.

So I started thinking about the Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water."   Suppose I looked at my avoidance of cleaning and organizing as chopping wood and carrying water, then before I can have more creativity in my life, I need to keep things clean and organized, and even after I have more creativity in my life, I need to clean and organize things. 

What if enlightenment (or more creativity) isn't something you have between cleaning and organizing, what if it's all a part of the process?  What if the thing outside of the process is resistance?

So perhaps when we are chopping wood and carrying water, or what ever it is we do, if we really do it mindfully, if we show up and focus, maybe the very doing is a part of the whole thing, enlightenment or creativity.  Hmmm.

Something else to consider when thinking about resistance is motivation, what motivates us to get beyond our not wanting to clean and organize.  I really like this talk by Daniel Pink, very fun animated illustration of fascinating research.  He talks about how we are motivated to do more when we feel a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose...

OK, now I've got to go chop some wood.


Anonymous said...

What if you KNOW these things need doing, DID them but you CAN'T now?
I understand the things you write or suggest but SO MANY of us are not ABLE to do things and don't have anyone to do them. What then? Ignore them while inside it is eating at you and making you sad and feel worthless? It's not a "choice" it's a fact for so many of us. Looking for suggestions for the millions like me. Thank You

Lani Gerity said...
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