Last weekend I was invited to lead a workshop at a writing retreat and do some coaching with writing students. My favorite clients are folks who are trying to put what they are driven by, what makes them shine, in the center of their lives, so creative folks exploring their creativity is totally up my alley.
In the coaching there, the same metaphor came up with multiple people, and I’ve been thinking about it since then: Before I had my own kids I was invited to witness a birth. I had only seen birth on television, and my idea of ‘pushing’ was that someone worked really hard, strained, to try to get the baby out. When I actually saw ‘pushing’ in person I understood immediately that it was more something that was happening to the woman giving birth, less something she was doing. Her body was acting on instinct, resistance was near impossible, and she gave in repeatedly to an urge like a tidal wave, carrying her along on it’s crest. She was being, not doing. She was literally channeling something, it was coming through her, and she was allowing it because to resist was excruciating.
Writing can be like this, something that happens to you, rather than something you do. In fact anything creative, really anything at all that is led by passion, or calling, or deep resonance has the potential to feel like you are acting as a channel. Teaching is like this for me, and writing, mothering, and coaching. Moving toward a goal that has a core drive behind it can feel like giving birth to something that is bigger than our will or design, something actually out of our control because it’s call to be in the world, to be out of us, is so strong it becomes almost unstoppable.
And yet, people so often approach these kinds of goals like they are giving birth in a movie, straining and groaning their way through the process. Fighting to release something that doesn’t require a fight, it just requires surrender. People try to shape, restrict, or wrangle writing that is itching to hit the page, censoring it before it’s even on paper, try to logically or practically reshape their dreams when they are begging to be set free as is. One lesson that has come up for me over and over as a coach is that the question to ask next is usually simpler than the one I’m searching for, and the answer more obvious than the one given. The right path is actually often the easiest one, because all it requires is letting go and accepting it as your path.
Pursuing your dreams is actually the most simple way forward because there is no drag on the line, and much less work to do. It’s going on a ride instead of a hike. Your gut, your intuition, your quiet sure internal voice, they know your direction, they are already pushing, all you have to do is allow them to take over. Imagine the relief in letting go of resistance and surrendering to that urge. You'd be unstoppable.