The Secret Equation of Creating the Work You Love: Dedication Minus Anxiety

keepcalmCan you do the work you love with crazy dedication– but not anxiety?

I want you to drop the mindset that starting your own yoga studio or pursuing water color painting is like handling a radioactive substance, and that every move and minute counts.  The only thing that counts is your commitment to keep showing up. If your heart remains open, the currents of abundance bubble and circulate. Everything takes shape from there.

Make ardent efforts– but make your efforts no big deal.  I know it’s kind of like a Zen koan: “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?”  It’s impossible, until you leapfrog into another state of consciousness.  But that’s the point.  When we do the work we love, we are learning how to work in a new way.  We are learning how to become servants of the flow, passion-keepers, those who enter another dimension to bring back drops of ambrosia for humanity and ourselves.  It’s a far cry from punching a clock.

When I first began writing, I made everything way too important.  It would take me practically an hour just to light my lemongrass scented candles, arrange my journals, and set up my “perfect” writing space.  Everything I produced underwent the test.  Did the result justify my choices?  Was this effort worthy of having left my swankadelic legal career behind?  Did this sentence show talent, a talent that would deserve giving up thousands of dollars a year?

One part of me surveyed everything from a guard tower as though I was deconstructing ticking bombs instead of trying to write a paragraph for an article. Everything mattered.  Everything was a sign, a portent, and a trend.  If I felt uninspired, it would always be this way.  I was taking everything so seriously, because I didn’t take myself seriously enough.  I didn’t trust the power and the promise of my calling.  I didn’t understand that I would unceasingly be gifted and guided.

And years later, here’s what I know about writing, at least for me.  I suck when I begin.  It’s a given as surely as a cow will moo.  I will grope around for words and grasp at transient ideas.  I will fight the urge to lick the insides of the fridge.  My sentences will be ordinary and okay, not a sequined Rockette among them.  There will no lifted skirts or golden butterflies.  I will not want to kneel in gratitude.  More likely, I’ll want to kneel and scream “Dude, what’s up?  Throw me a bone, okay.”   I will write desperately and visit the tourist traps of triteness often.  I will write myself into dead ends, where nothing grows but dirt.

But this is the joy of being seasoned.  I will barely blink.  I am unfazed.  I am clear that the talent lives within me and will arise in its own time.  I am not worried.  I am not literal, putting too much meaning on the fleeting result before me.  I have seen this all before and I am no longer afraid.  I’m not the new kid on the block anymore.  I am not fooled by the momentary lack of desired outcomes, even if my ego bangs the bongos of scarcity.  I know what I know now.  I trust the alchemy to kick in as long as I keep showing up.  And I keep showing up.

So let’s do a mini-check in, shall we?  A little blog-therapy, if you will.  Where are you putting too much weight on something?  Where does everything count too much?  That’s not devotion.  That’s a gamble.  I urge you to lay your chips down. It’s too stressful and inefficient to create this way.  Instead, I ask you to cultivate detachment.  Detachment is the secret ingredient in devotion.  It’s what makes things come alive.  It lets you throw everything into the game, and keep coming back for more.  The lack of evaluation allows you to deepen and mature. Otherwise, you’re so busy judging results you have no energy and time to create them.  If you really want something, then make the commitment to give it love and time, no matter what.

Make the commitment to practice.  Your talent, purpose, and dreams deserve that much.  They will give you everything— if you give them anything you can in any given moment.

I want you to decide you’re going to go into that room and do what you need to do. You’re not going to gauge how you’re doing.  You’re just going to keep going. You’re going to enter the realm.  You’re going to eat dedication for breakfast and detachment for dinner.  You’re not going to back down.  You’re not going to blink. You know you’re meant to do this somehow, or you wouldn’t have the desire.  It doesn’t matter what kind of results you get initially, because you know the results will come inevitably, once you’ve decided to go all the way.