Last week, in the introduction of my weekly newsletter, I wrote about the voice of resistance and self-doubt that often arises when we consider sharing ourselves with the world in any way. In response, I received this comment on my blog:
Dear Sheryl, My comment is about the text of your weekly email that preceded the link for this blog post. It spoke to my heart.
You wrote: “Action diffuses not only fear but also stagnation. It’s so easy to feel caught under the pall of stuckness or stagnation and allow ourselves to succumb to the voice that says, “What’s the point? It’s all been said or done anyway. Feeling stuck behind the brick wall of self-doubt that says you have nothing new to offer the world? Sit down at your desk and take one small step toward whatever it is that longs to be born inside of you, whatever shimmering gift is waiting to emerge. You’ll be so glad you did.”
I feel these places of stagnation daily. It is very much related to the world situation (the segregation, racism, violence, authoritarianism that is being performed all around the world). Sadness and hopelesness overtake me. It is also related to a personal transition of mine: I have just finished my master’s degree and I am at a loss in my new professional phase.
Sometimes I manage to engage in nourishing actions, but the sadness and a lack of sense is on the background. It is like I can’t taste the flavour of things if I don’t figure out how I will be part of the solution to our terrible state as a society.
Action. Sometimes I feel that I am missing a “fire element” inside me, a “fiery particle” that ignites the motion. I have all these feelings about wanting to be part of the change but I don’t manage to move.
You said that you will write more about this topic next week, so I wanted to share what resonated in me. I’m looking forward to your next weekly email. Thank you!
In response, I would like to share something personal with you: Every week, when it comes time to write that very introduction to my weekly post, my mind throws out a roadblock and says, “I have nothing to say.”
But then I go out for a walk or I sit in front of the blank screen with the flashing cursor and before I know it the words tumble out. And I can feel as they are emerging that they’re not forced words from my mind; they’re words from my soul that I feel truly compelled to share with you. The actions – the “fire element” or “fiery particle” – is the inner masculine that says, “I’m feeling stagnant. I need to move this energy and go for a walk.”
The action is the inner masculine that says, “Even though my mind is telling me that I have nothing more to say, I’m going to sit down and write anyway.” I write a lot about the inner feminine (and let me be clear that “feminine” and “masculine” are archetypal energies that course through all of us and have nothing to do with gender) but it’s the energy of the inner masculine that is essential if we’re going to bring ourselves into the world. It’s the energy I’ve learned to draw on over my years as a writer.
This wasn’t always the case with writing. When I first started writing more seriously in high school, I felt paralyzed every time I sat down to start a paper. All of the familiar voices of what we call “writer’s block” came barreling into my brain and sent me into paralysis.
But as I share in my Trust Yourself course, I learned through a series of fortunate events and gifted teachers how to work with the voice of self-doubt enough to move past it and allow what needed to be expressed to ride through my inner channels and find its way into the world.
I’m coming up on the 11th anniversary of writing this blog, and I’ve learned from the weekly discipline of writing not only the blog but also the introduction to my newsletter that discipline is commitment in action. In other words, when we show up even if we don’t feel like showing up, when we move towards love even when we’re not feeling love, when we parent in loving ways even when we’d rather do anything else in the world, when we share something of our soul even when our mind tells us that we have nothing left to say, we strengthen our well of Self and grow our capacity to serve.
When the reader above says, “It is like I can’t taste the flavour of things if I don’t figure out how I will be part of the solution to our terrible state as a society”, this is self-doubt sneakily wrapped into a voice of resistance. What is needed is to identify the character as resistance, work with the self-doubt, and employ the inner masculine so that the gifts of the feminine can find expression through the action of the masculine.
When we learn the tools that allow us to identify the roots of self-doubt and push past resistance, we find that stagnation dissolves as if touched by a shimmering wand. We find that the focus on what is not working and on the inevitable pain of life is transmuted into gratitude. In short, one of the secret pathways to joy is to push through inertia so that what needs to be born can move through the canals and arrive into the world.
While rest is vital, we are also meant to move. While dwelling in being as essential, we are also meant to do – and we must remember that the most fulfilling doing arises from the gestation of being. We move and we act and we speak not from distraction or avoidance but as a way to show up and continue to share who we are with the world around us. Again, this is the masculine.
Each and every one of you has something to say or do. And each and everyone of you has a voice inside that says, “It’s all been said or it’s all been done.” But it hasn’t been said or done by you – the you who is a unique permutation of atoms and genes, a wild collision of biology and soul, the you who grew from circumstances that resulted in your pain and the recognition that within this very pain rests your genius.
I’m not sure that anybody has immunity to the characters of resistance and self-doubt, and I’m not sure that we’re meant to be immune to it. For every time we move through resistance we grow, and so, resistance is, in fact, one of our allies. In the eleven years of writing this blog and sending out this weekly newsletter, I’m not sure that the voice of resistance is any quieter. I hear it every time I sit down to write. I heard it with every chapter revision of my book. I hear it every time I sit down to begin to create a new course. And it always sounds convincing!
But one thing I’ve learned is that to listen to resistance is to lay down in my bed, curl up, and stay there for far more hours then serves me. To listen to self-doubt is to shut down the wellsprings of creativity, to dam them up until only dry beds remain.
What I know to be true is that the fountainhead of creativity is an inexhaustible source that we all have access to. What I know to be true is that each and every one of you reading this right now has a gift that depends on first identifying then moving through whatever voices of resistance and self-doubt are causing you to remain stuck or stagnant. As I’ve said many times over these past months: the time is now. The world needs your gifts. The world needs you to shake through enough self-doubt to discover your unique partnership of feminine and masculine so that you can bring these gifts into the world.
This is what I teach in Trust Yourself: A 30-day course to help you overcome your fear of failure, caring with others think, perfectionism, difficulty making decisions, and self-doubt. This is the fifteenth round of this course, and it will start again live on October 24th, 2020. I look forward to meeting you there.