Sunday, December 2, 2007

I should stop it now!

My sister and I are doing "The Work" every day. Today, we are "working" on this statement: I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. We are both artists, and I found the dialogue about this subject really interesting, so I'm sharing it here. I hope she doesn't mind.

Grace: I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. True. My art commissions come and I accept them with reluctance. Opportunities are everywhere for me and I skirt them, ditch them and avoid them. Even the work I do get is subtly sabotaged by certain thought processes about it - especially about its worth, value and monetary symbolism.

The last time I framed mementos for the Race for the Cure, I put a hex on them so I would never have to do them again. They were gorgeous and they haven't called me since! Some of the commissions I get that require me to use artistic licence are fraught with such a subtle fear of failure that I can't really be original, creative or even enjoy the work (because and especially because it isn't original or creative).

I feel like I don't maximize my artistic potential because I sabotage that potential from the get-go. I wonder how much more money and work would come to me if I took the jobs I do get with wonder, joy, enthusiasm, excitement and gratitude and speedy love...


Shirley: I have got to stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me because if I don't stop it, good things will stop coming to me. Why would the universe continually present me with opportunities if I am too stupid, too lazy, to inadequate, and/or too frightened to take advantage of it. How many times would YOU offer something to someone if EVERY SINGLE TIME they either turned it down flat out, or made a huge freaking mess out of it? My guess is that pretty soon, those opportunities would stop being offered at all.

As for opportunities as an artist, I make damn sure that those opportunities never even arise. Look at this blog for example. As you can see, other than a few half hearted stabs at selling stuff, I have done absolutely nothing all year long. And the year is almost over!

Would my art be selling like hotcakes if I put myself 100% on the line with it? Would my cafe press store, my etsy store, and my finer works page be well traveled and and well shopped if I put some of my energy into that direction? I don't know ... because I haven't done it. Those little online shops aren't successes and they aren't failures. They are dead in the water.

And I don't exercise my artistic potential, nor do I exercise my other potentials because I am too busy putting all my time and energy into projects and ideas that will NEVER turn into anything. And I am too busy putting all my energy and my drive into avoiding anything at all that might actually turn into a success. As a matter of fact... "Much Ado About Nothing" pretty much sums up how I spend the majority of my time.

If someone came to me tomorrow and said, "Shirley, I will give you $1000 if you will do a Middle of the Night art piece... you choose the content, you choose the subject... do it your way... and I will buy it." OMG, I would be paralyzed. I would lose my paper. I would lose my art supplies, suddenly I wouldn't have any time at all, nothing I put on that piece of paper would be good enough, I might not even be able to get out of bed in the morning. Would that picture ever get done? I don't even know. Maybe... Maybe not.

Grace: I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. Is that true? It feels true.

Shirley: Yes, I do think it's true that I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. It does feel true. Desperately true.

Grace: Can I absolutely know I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me? No. I can't absolutely know anything.

Shirley: Can I absolutely know, beyond all doubt, that I should stop sabotaging every good things that come to me? Well... maybe not EVERY good thing. I don't have to be open and receptive to EVERY good thing. And actually, instead of sabotaging, I could simply say "No, not this time, thank you!" So, while I can say that yes, I should stop sabotaging the good that comes to me, I can also say that I do not have to take advantage of EVERY opportunity that comes my way. I do not have to play this elaborate, time consuming, energy depleting game of avoidance and sabotage - I could instead, be straightforward, and honest, and just say, "Thank you, I think I'll pass on this one. "

Grace: How do I react when I have the thought I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me? Put upon, overwhelmed, as if I should try to tackle and digest everything that comes my way. I feel uncertainty in my decisions, I feel awkward in my choices, I feel confused and muddled and disgusted with myself. My self talk is very harsh and scolding, and I despair of ever being successful.

Shirley: How do I react when I have that thought that I should stop sabotaging the good things that come to me? I feel pressured, and squeezed. Like I'm on trial for some terrible crime, and the long arm of the law is about to pound me into submission and defeat. I feel like I want to lock my door, unplug my phone, and hide under the bed. I feel like a failure, like a bug or a worm waiting to get squished. Interestingly, it feels sort of like a death sentence... or at the very least a really long prison term in a very bad place.

Grace: Who would I be without the thought I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me? Free to live and do what I do when the spirit comes my way. Free to enjoy what I'm doing when I do it. Trusting, safe, sure.

With the thought confused and muddled; without the thought free and sure. There is no stress free reason to hang on to the thought that I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me.


Shirley: Who would I be without the thought that I should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes my way? I would feel so much more confidence. I would stand taller, have more self assurance. I can see myself walking out the door each new day feeling sure of myself and my place in the world, knowing I have value and worth.

With the thought I'm huddling under the bed, without it I'm heading out the door ready, willing, and able to tackle just about anything that comes my way.

Grace: The turn around: I should sabotage the good things that comes to me.

  1. Well, if something good comes to me and I sabotage it, then it is reality. I can't argue with what is, so if I sabotaged something, then obviously I should have.
  2. I may not know that the thing that I have labeled as "good" is really good. Maybe I should sabotage it for the well being of the planet or me or someone else or some other unknown.
  3. Maybe by experiencing the frustration of self-sabotage I can be more compassionate to people who suffer from the same affliction - maybe if I didn't have to experience the pain of it I would be insufferable and pious.
  4. Maybe the pain of self-sabotage brings me directly to this place where I want to know the truth and I am willing to go inside and inquire.

Another turn around? My thinking should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. No kidding. Amen to that.

  • Four F's on a report card comes to me as the best possible thing and I sabotage it by thinking it is terrible.
  • A stray dog comes to me as the best possible addition to our family and I sabotage it by letting him linger under a tree for four days while I entertain thoughts like I don't want the hassle, the expense, the poop, the extra work...
  • The neighbors cut down a tree and I sabotage it by thinking that is the worst offense - for all I know the hastening of global warming could also hasten our collective enlightenment. We may never evolve without the end of the world looming over us! We may never fix our individual selves if we fail and fail and fail to fix our collective selves. We may be stuck in the material, outer reality if it doesn't start becoming scary and tragic. If we believe in an outer cause and it doesn't reward us with miserable failure, we could be stuck forever as missionaries and never turn into saints. We may need the destruction of our sacred religions to drive us into soul work.

I look forward to sabotaging the next good thing that comes my way. I will be very interested in inquiring about it. I may find another stressful thought behind there that wants to be met with love and understanding, like I might fail or I'm not good enough or I just don't want to do this but I feel like I have to... Who knows?

Shirley: My turn arounds are as follows...

  1. Sabotage is no longer necessary because I can just say "No, not right now, thank you very much."
  2. I do not have to say "yes" just because it's a good thing.
  3. When I find it impossible to just say "No", it is perfectly acceptable, logical even, to use the fine art of sabotage. I might even find something interesting and valuable under that bed.
  4. I am a master saboteur! Kudos to me!

As for that other turn around: My thinking should stop sabotaging every good thing that comes to me. Hmmm... I disagree. My thinking can do whatever my thinking wants to do. I can look at life however I want to look at life. I am not willing to put rules and shoulds and fetters and snares on my thinking. I am a free thinker. Therefore, it's OK for my thinking to sabotage whatever it wants to sabotage. I know that as brilliant as my thinking is, those acts of sabotage will lead to wisdom and compassion. Because wisdom and compassion are the places that my mind always wants to go. That the same thinking that sabotages my good might even lead to a really brilliant piece of art. Why wouldn't it? I'm an artist. And that same thinking just might lead me straight into the hands of God - which is where I'm always headed anyway - no matter where I run, no matter where I try to hide. Which right now at this moment gives me an idea for a brilliant piece of art... and right after we do "the work" on procrastination, I just might get started on it!

Oh, and by the way, I did create a brilliant piece of art about this subject a couple of years ago. It's called "I Crucify Myself A Thousand Times."

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1 Comment:

Mother Wintermoon said...

Great dialogue! Thank you for sharing it. I thoroughly enjoyed all the different faces and facets of it, as well as the conclusions drawn from it. It opened up all the aspects of self-sabotage, and presented them in new lights, as the conversation progressed. (Don't you just loVe it when conversations progress? Too many stagnate or regress.)

PS Your comments are closed to us non-Blogger bloggers. Can you reopen them, pretty please? Thanxx!!

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