I have started the year with a writing block. It’s very strange because unlike the usual block that comes with a pool of anxiety, distress and panic, this one is eerily calm. I am thoughtful in this space, there are moments of promising ideas forging themselves in my thinking space alternating with moments of absolute stillness and nothingness. Yet, I feel no fear and that, my friends, must be a new level of growth that I have unlocked. A writing block is hard, inevitable but not impossible.
My brain is like a computer browser- there are 50 tabs open, music is coming from somewhere and I can’t switch anything off.A tired person on the internet.
In recent years, taking leave has been a stress point. It’s such a paradox considering my strong stance on work-life balance. Really though, my brain is like that browser joke: I have 50 tabs open, there is music coming from somewhere and the more tired I get, just like the computer gets slower, I lose efficiency. And because the machine is now slow to respond, it takes too long to shut down. It is a sure recipe for an anxiety episode. So that’s what happens in my brain when any break is around the corner. All the things I need to do loom in the background and all the things I want to do lure me away from them. The most annoying thing is the shutting down part, it’s so slow and by the time I get to the calm that I was chasing, it’s time to power up again. It shouldn’t be this complicated, right?
We’ve talked about the brain being a muscle and so it has to be trained. Here’s another analogy about training; in 2020 I had been most consistent with my workouts. So much so that as the year wound down and I had an excuse to not exercise, my body would ache after three days of inactivity. That which was so difficult before now became something that I needed. Hillarious, isn’t it? On the inverse, even in training, it is necessary to take a break. If you don’t have rest days you will wear out your muscles and start getting injuries. It’s both about routine and balance to get that overall goal.
Mindest without heartset is an empty victory.Robin Sharma
I am catching up with Robin Sharma’s mastery sessions. He’s a brilliant coach and I love his passion and the fact that they are now free on YouTube. I first encountered them in 2017 when I subscribed while on a rediscovery period. At the time I had come out of a toxic workspace (talked about it in Can really I have it all?) and I needed to introspect and be sure about what I wanted next. He bashes the positive thinking narrative and posits that positive mindset only works if used in combination with what he calls the other interior empires- soulset, healthset and heartset. It does not matter how positive your hopes and intentions are if you are still held back by grudges, are not in your ideal physical shape or missing your spiritual grounding. An imbalance of these four aspects of your personality will slow down your progress and your function. Full video is at https://youtu.be/hc6QmQGkxTg
Writing blocks are difficult to manage because at first, it’s not clear what the issue is. You pray or take a sabbatical, meditate before any action, take a break, go on a bender if substances are your thing and all known measures to plug back in. The one day magically, you pick up your pen with a burst of courage and just like that you are back.