The False Dream of a Clear Path

The False Dream of a Clear Path

I have this fantastical daydream that I entertain often: I get a week (or weekend) to myself and I am able to do all the work, all the projects, all the catching up that I want to do. Sometimes I go on a trip to achieve this, or maybe a blizzard has me stuck in some hotel room in the Midwest with nothing but Wifi and a computer. Perhaps all regular work stops and I am able to work on what I want to work on without financial pressure.

This fantasy is fed by stories that I hear about artists and writers who move to little cabins in New England to focus. Annie Dillard did all her work in a one room shack in the backyard of some small lovely town near Seattle; Harper Lee was given enough money to work on To Kill a Mockingbird for one year.

Whatever your exact conditions for dream productivity let me fill you in: this is a terrible, false dream. No real work has been created under ideal conditions. In fact, the more important the work the more obstacles you will face.

Anyone who has attempted bold things has felt this. Try doing something timeless like raising children, starting a diet, trying to help others and you will meet resistance on all sides.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.
– Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art

We are all full of excuses and awful stories of sick children, serious personal injury, the common time and energy constraints, and unexpected family crisis.

But we shouldn’t be surprised, we should be joyful, because when you meet resistance, when you feel those distractions this is when you know that the work that you are doing is important.

Raising kids is a direct spit into the overriding rule of disorder in the universe, and we will feel it push against us.

When we have troubles, we must expect them, push through them, and win. For we are doing higher work, and we have our own forces and must call upon them.