At the beginning of this week I came to a grinding halt. I found myself feeling incredibly INSECURE – feeling like all I’m doing is churning out things -unable to ‘really’ write, or plan, or think about what I wanted for myself, ArtiPeeps or CreoKardia. I was producing but it didn’t feel the same. I felt frozen and a little bit concerned (not because I couldn’t handle it because I can I’ve got my practice), but because of how it affected my production, my ability to create with integrity and my thoughts on action and progress. Rather than moving forward, I just sat, staring at the huge arching Horse chestnut tree in my garden, waiting, waiting for things to shift, and wondering why I was stuck. The answer:
LACK OF ACTION , and I don’t just mean your bog-standard action I mean right action connected to something.
THERE’S A DIFFERENCE!
So here we go. Let us consider how action is defined:
‘a process or condition of acting or moving as opposed to rest; the doing of something; exertion of power or force as when one body acts on another; agency, activity, operation’
Action, defined in the above manner, is a ‘power ‘or ‘force’. It’s a condition that propels you forward, that can make you ‘do’, it involves ‘agency’ speed, movement and not presence. I would like to suggest that this is not necessarily the healthiest way to look at the word action. It’s missing something. The heart is missing. For us to truly act from a place of congruence that can be sustained, what we ‘do’ has to mean something, it has to feed us. It also has to be connected to something else that is beyond mere activity. You can produce (can’t you?) and put things out there, and build and promote and think and move forward in real time but in your heart you’re standing still rooted to the spot. That’s what I had been doing all week. All this stuff, all these ideas (all the churning and processing), without ‘me ‘ attached to the moment. It’s what I call ‘static-movement’. It’s there and moving but there’s no growth. It makes you feel dreadful. It removes you from right action.
The fact that this can happen (and clearly does happen) is a pain in the neck when you’re trying to grow something meaningful. When you’ve just started something new that has to be tended to (like I have). When you’re placing and putting into action things that matter to people; when you give people opportunities; there is considerable responsibility there. This is what I feel. You can’t be growing a business or an enterprise and not be growing (can you?). Otherwise what is the point? This is why just ‘doing’ feels so dreadful, and it’s what we all settle for a lot of the time. Dead space not connected to anything or ANYBODY. This is a very peculiar stand point from which to act when you consider how ArtiPeeps is all about connecting and providing opportunities for colloboration. How can I provide wholehearted projects if I’m not consistently feeling connected to what matters? Upping my practice isn’t enough. There has to be some sort of internal shift so action, real, right action, the sort that matters, occurs and moves you and your business further- further into the big sparkly wonderland in front of you.
Business shouldn’t be hard edged. It should always be connected to the heart, what matters. Consciously.
‘When one body acts upon another’. Action does not occur in isolation. There is a force behind it both external (the people you’re interacting with, the obstacles with which your grappling) and the internal body or force, the bit inside that gets in the way (that we listen to because it’s attached to something that is rooted in the past or the future and blocks us feeling our purpose and position in life). We have 2 forces working on us, and if we can’t manage the relation we get into trouble and we fall out of alignment and therefore unable to touch the feelings that make us who we are. Right here, right now-when I need it (a yes, I- know- why -I’m- doing -this- and- I’m- connected- to -it- right- now- feeling). The weight of this dissonance and incongruity can just make us completely freeze inside. It stops us from reconnecting to the ‘WHY’ of things.
Tony Robbins in a TED Talk ‘Why We Do What We Do’ is a profound believer in the notion of ‘WHY’ (knowing wholeheartedly why you do what you do)’, and he makes an interesting connection in his talk. He says that it is EMOTION THAT CREATES ACTION. Not doing, or actually purpose, or energy or goals or objectives. It’s feeling and emotional response that acts as the force for action, not ‘bodies’ acting one on the other. The propulsion towards action, for it to really have meaning, has to come from something seemingly soft and tender within us. WITHIN. That’s how we are able to COMMIT and SUSTAIN; and if you can’t sustain it, you then, he suggests, need to explore and dig deep to see what issues and non-now beliefs are blocking and stopping you from reaching into the emotion that will actually move you forward. It’s a compelling notion.
Furthermore, if you become disconnected from the resonance of that emotion , that’s when you can start to lose contact with where you are right now, and you can end up, just like me, staring out into space at a Horse Chestnut tree. In a Dharma Seed talk I was listening to yesterday by Sharda Rogell called ‘Sustaining Presence With Love’, she makes another interesting distinction that helps us get our head around the complexities of action.
In her talk Sharda suggests that there are 2 distinct movements (in presence, in being present in action):
1. First Contact (you hear her knock heavily on a gong and it just makes a dull thud, and stops with no resonance. Dead.)
2. Reverberation (you hear her gently tap on the gong in the right place and with right action, and this beautiful and sustained ringing tone comes out, moving forward and lasting).
Sharda Rogell suggests that the connection, the contact bit of action, is actually the easy bit – having the idea, making the connections, but the difficult part actually lies in the managing of the reverberation of the action in all its complexity in the here-and-now. Giving yourself the space to do that; allowing your self to feel and reverberate. Letting in the reverberation. If you do the gong will sing and you can act and connect from a place that is meaningful. It’s about resonance and reverberation and giving your self enough time to sit with that:
All the fear, the trepidation of connection, the ideas of failure.
I keep a journal in which I track any cognitive issues that I have if I feel they are disrupting my well-being or the way I am responding to my life and work/future business. The following were some of the things I noted down on the Horsechestnut Tree day:
I had a whole list of negative expectations:
- Fear of being rejected
- Fear of people not wanting to contribute.
- Insecurity about speaking my truth and being okay with pushing that through into other people’s worlds
and more profound and telling
- that I don’t have the right to ask people for things,
which leads us to the nub of it that I think
- THAT IF I ASK FOR THINGS I’LL GET REJECTED
Looking at this list now its clear why my ‘First Contact’ could not turn into a reverberation. I somehow managed to lock into the above mesh of negativity and instead of leaning into it backed away, so much so that I became trapped, a whisper rather than a mighty gong. And you’re still, doing and producing , but it’s not the same. NOT the Same.
I had forgotten to remember (as I usually do ) that these negative thoughts aren’t real, aren’t really anything to do with what is going on now; and all I needed to do was stop listening to them and tap right back into the ‘who I am’ -the emotion of me/you (see Tony Robbins, above);and, if you can get back to that then RIGHT ACTION can occur. Off you go!
So…the very next day (I made sure it didn’t last long) I decided to stop listening to the negative whirly-gig, and to really trust in the feelings connected to why I’m building ArtiPeeps, why I’m trying to give people opportunities, why I want to work hard and grow this all into something big and beautiful, and to ACT in accordance with that AND LET IT REVERBERATE. JUST LET IT HAPPEN.
TO FEEL THE EMOTION THAT IS UNDERPINNING EVERYTHING I DO IN THIS MOMENT.
Here’s what another WHY man states:
‘People don’t buy what they [inspiring leaders] do, they buy why they do it’.
It’s the why that matters, because it’s the why that leads you to connect to the emotions that drive you, and then, and then you can act.
Having worked this out and thought everything through I started up again the next day( the busy little whirring thing that I am) and re-connected. I went forth into the day in a state of presence and action and had a brilliant day of connections , ideas and movement. I got the FabFiction Page Up and made some really good , positive connections that I hope will move us further. The right action.
WHY HEART ACTION
As always, thank you for your interest. any feedback is always appreciated!
- The New FabFiction & Poetry Page has been set up. Here you’ll find new prose and poetry from new writers. at the moment we have a prose piece by KATE GARRETT and a poem by TIFFANY COFFMAN. Do check them out. We’re hoping build this progressively. If you’d like to contribute please do get in contact!
- Alastair Cook’s Guest blog is still up, a review of his work by journalist Michael MacCleod
- Watch out for a new post by Jamie MacKenzie, our English Art Correspondent on his connection with a gallery in Dubai. Check out his work via this link
- We will also shortly be starting up a Classic Fiction/Review Feature…so watch out for that one too.