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The Work

I’m not doing The Work. I am not writing. I’m pissing words like it’s a hobby, like an amateur. The few words I push out are all over the toilet seat and running down to the floor.

I’m fucking sick of it.

I have spent decades not doing The Work. The consequences are painfully clear. I’ve made my life epically and painfully complicated by being a coward and a fraud. I cheated myself and everyone else by not being the person I was meant to be.

I stopped taking antidepressants months ago because I finally see why I have been depressed and felt lost. It’s not because my father abandoned me, not because I was sexually abused as a child, not because my mother failed me, not because of my passive attempts at suicide or criminal acts, not because of the deep wounds our culture inflicts. There is an ache deep within, an internal struggle. War. I’ve gained 15 pounds in the process, but at least I’m not medicated. There’s nothing wrong with my brain. It’s something else.

I have not been doing the work.
I have not been doing the work.
I have not been doing the work.

My ills, my mistakes, my pain, my misery… All because I am not doing the work. I’ve caved wholly to what Steven Pressfield describes as “Resistance” in his book, The War of Art.

Resistance cannot be seen, touched, heard, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

I read the entire book in one sitting yesterday. And even though there are bits that I disagree with, the core of it is inarguably true. His words stand as a mirror, forcing me look deep inside and concede to why I ultimately fail: I yield like a flaccid penis to Resistance.

So, how do I engage Resistance? Procrastination is my favorite flavor of Resistance. I like to put things off. Fuck it. I’ll do it tomorrow. “I’ll do it tomorrow” really means, “I’m feeling resistance. This is going to take effort, a huge amount. I don’t want to do that… Today.” Challenge deferred, time for some epic Facebooking. Epic flossing. Epic organizing. Epic lawn mowing. Epic whatever. And it’s not because I’m lazy. The real mindfuck here is I’m much more likely to actually do something hard, uncomfortable, even despicable, as long as it’s NOT what I really need to do. Take my “practical” career of choice for example. 24 years of mind numbing physical labor that I’ve hated every goddamn second of. 24 YEARS. That’s some really fucked up procrastinating.

bear-grill-playThen there’s the rationalizations. Bits of bullshit wrapped in bent logic and worn as hats. Writing will never sustain me, put food
on the table. Writing won’t take care of my son’s medical needs. If Bear Grylls was dropped in the middle of a jungle with only a pen and notebook, would he survive? Hell no. Not even if he drank his own piss. You better go back to school. You better take what skills you have, fluff them up, and peacock your soul to someone else. Wise up, fucker. Make everyone else happy. Fix them. Approval is the pudding of existence. Stick your ass in it and shut your whiny word-hole.

What’s that? Relationships? Jesus. I can’t even have a healthy one with myself. Romanic boats of distraction. Women’s stories to get lost in. More peacocking and incomprehensible people math. Besides, I don’t even know my own equation.

Mostly, I’m a gifted farmer of fear. Johnnyfucking Appleseed. I grow that shit and feed Resistance like a beloved pet. I’ve pampered him so well, he has grown to hulkish proportions. I’m afraid of losing my son. I’m afraid of losing my house. I’m afraid of rejection and indifference. I’m afraid of being alone, with no one to pick me up when I inevitably use my face as landing gear. Love will flee my burning wreckage and I’ll crawl my smoking ass back to my van, down by the river.

The Work. It has to be done. Outcomes don’t count for shit. The Work has never been about the outcome.

I have to do The Work.

I will never be happy.
Connection will evade me
Love will not manifest,
Loneliness will fill me.
My gifts will whither and fade,
The best of me
An unshared contribution.
My sleep will become dreamless,
I’ll be blind to vision.
Purpose will not be found,
Potential ignored.
I will never lead,
Or inspire,
I will never create
and know Bliss’ kiss.
My heart will cool
and fossilize,
It’s fire dimming until
A passionless curl of smoke.
The minutes and hours will pass
Then the days.
Years will blink by
And become decades.
Then Death will come, unwelcome
Not out of fear or
Unfinished business, but
Because only then
I will shamefully confess
My life was a lie.

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