Hello SOTGC community,
I am not allowed to read. Yes, you read this correctly; I am not allowed to read for exactly one week. It is called “reading deprivation” and I feel just that, deprived. I am doing something called The Artists Way, which is a course intended to unlock your inner creative and move you away from a space of feeling creatively stuck. I just entered week four and my heart literally sank when I learned that I would not be allowed to pick up a book, article, blog, or any other source of information for seven whole days. How could this be possible? How could this be helpful?
My immediate reaction was one of anxiety and resistance. I thought to myself: “I can’t possibly do this, I am in the middle of reading a few very important books. How else will I feed my soul and nurture my being?” Maybe next week when I finish the books I have started, maybe another time when reading isn’t so important for my work, maybe, maybe, maybe. As it settled in, I realized that the time would never be right. I had committed to this process and so I would have to face what was now in front of me, a week without cuddling up on my couch and filling up with those beautiful words offered to me by other writers.
Today is Day One and I feel unsettled, lost, and angry. I’m not exactly sure what to do with myself and so here I am writing about it. What has quickly become apparent is that I am a reading addict. I rely on the process and am comforted by the words. It is what I do, what I know, and where I go for distraction. I feel anxious about the week ahead and wonder where my thoughts and time will go. This might seem silly, but for me this is a leap of faith into the unknown and I am relaying on my faith to know that this is where I am meant to be.
Like anything else, it is extremely difficult to let go of the things that we rely on to comfort us. We become dependent on their soothing effects and letting them go is a step into the unknown. What will we be forced to face and will we be able to handle it. We can use anything as a comforting distraction; reading, eating, and exercise are just a few examples. The truth is, when we let go of these things, we will be thrust into a space of unknowing and will need to have the faith and courage to welcome what we find with love and compassion.
I think the assumption is that we will find some painful stuff, thus the fear and anxiety arises. What I am slowly remembering now though is that there will be joyful things awaiting me as well. New discoveries that were blocked from my path will arise. Yes there will be discomfort, but I do not need that to be my focus. Instead I can choose to focus on the new discoveries awaiting me; all that I will learn and all that I will release. I have no idea where this process will lead me, but I am committed with an open heart and open mind to find out.
Photo credit: www.lacrosselibrary.org