on "Turning Pro"

blank notebookI read Steven Pressfield’s new book Turning Pro cover to cover last Friday while sitting in the park as the sky went from blue to pink to black. (After reading his classic The War of Art a bunch of years ago, I’ll read anything this guy writes. Amazing stuff.) It was the kind of book that’s awesomely inspiring but also makes you say “Oh, sh*t.” Because you realize while reading it that you actually have to get off your butt and do something. No more hiding.

His concept of “turning pro” is in contrast to being an “amateur,” which is the state of not fully doing your art or your calling, being stuck in an addiction (anything from actual substance abuse to excessive facebooking), or being in a “shadow career” – i.e. one that you’re good at, but that actually isn’t your real passion. All of these behaviors take you away from doing what you’re really meant to do. Your art. Your own business. Your trip around the world.

Hmm.

Do any of those “amateur” behaviors sound familiar to you?

I’ll confess that I’ve been feeling amateur lately. I’ve been in a creative and productive zone, but I’ve been lacking focused time for my personal creative projects.

While reading that book on Friday, it hit me that I haven’t been making space for dance and other projects that I know I’m craving and needing to do, but am also a little terrified of starting. Just this awareness helped me shift a bit and since last Friday I’ve found myself on both ends of the extremes: writing poems and taking a dance class (for the first time in way too long!), but also procrastinating in many ways.

To give you an illustration, here’s how I started writing this week’s note to you:

Sometimes I don’t want to write.

Sometimes I want to browse facebook and hit “like” lots of times on other people’s words and pictures until my eyes hurt.

Sometimes I want to sleep til late in the morning or stay out til late at night.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m avoiding myself or something deep I have to say or something I need to hear.

Sometimes I think that a little avoidance is healthy.

Sometimes I eat an entire chocolate bar in one sitting.

Sometimes I don’t dance, even when I know it would make me feel better.

(It’s probably obvious that all of these “sometimes” moments have come up for me in the past week.)

So I would feel phony if I wrote some kind of rah-rah happy-dance note to you today, because that’s not what’s up for me. What is up is the deep truth of knowing that something needs to change, that something new is ready to come out of me. And with that knowing comes a deep sense of resistance, which I’m learning is part of the process.

Hibernation happens before growth. All amateur actions are relative.

Maybe there is something in what I’m sharing that will not only help me get through this state, but also help you. (Because from what I’ve been hearing from many of you, we tend to be on the same page with things ;)

{{Given this new awareness and my desire to make even more space for our creative voices to thrive, I’m creating something special in August for us. I’m super excited but have to keep you in suspense for another week or two until all the details are set. But get ready, because it rocks.}}

So tell me,

Are you feeling any resistance coming up?

Are you avoiding yourself or your impulses just a little bit?

Sharing your reality is especially welcomed this week.

kicking, screaming, and breathing through it,

jess