Noted with pleasure: When you are stuck

I came to know that blocks are the price of avoiding surrender, and that surrender is not defeat but rather the key to opening out into a world of delight and nonstop creation.

One of the great traps at times of blockage is that we may accuse ourselves of a deficit of concentration and focus, a deficit of discipline.  We then take a paternal or militaristic attitude toward ourselves.  We will force ourselves to work, we will go on a schedule, we will take vows.  The most dangerous trap is to get into a contest of strength between “will power” and “won’t power.”  Discipline is crucial, but we do not attain it by stiffening up.  We attain it by sitting still and penetrating the emptiness within, making of that emptiness a friend rather than an adversary or bogeyman.

 When you are stuck, meditate, free associate, do automatic writing, talk to yourself and answer yourself.  Play with the blocks.  Stay in the temenos of the workplace.  Relax, surrender to the bafflement; don’t leave the temenos, and the solution will come.  Persevere gently….

Like the rules of the universe, the whole matter of personal creativity is baffling and paradoxical.  To try to control yourself, to try to create, to try to break free of the knots you yourself have tied is to set yourself up at a distance from that which you already are.  It is like looking around this way and that for your own head.

 

~ From Free play: Improvisation in life and art by Stephen Nachmanovitch (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1990).

 

 

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