Commitment + Synchronicity = Magic

I’m re-reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron while I’m running my Artist’s Way Accountability and Support Group.

I’m reminded once again of Julia’s brilliance and insight about the power of committing ourselves to our Big Dreams, and how the Universe supports us through seemingly magical occurrences when we do so.

I, for one, am both continually astonished by how well this works and remarkably resistant to it at the same time. These massive doubts and fears always seem to come up when it comes to the question of commitment:

  • But how will I know if it’s the right thing?
  • And how can I even just pick one thing to focus on?
  • What if I get bored with it?
  • What if I don’t have anything new or valuable to say?
  • What if I can’t make any money doing it?
  • What if I suck at it?
  • What if no one likes it?
  • If I love it so much, why am I not taking action on it?
  • But how will I do it?
  • But I can’t decide!

I’ve learned to see these as no more than temporary obstacles, personality traits (I’m a scanner), hidden fears and shoulds, and stealthy inner critic messages. In other words, I try not to give them too much attention or take them too seriously.

I’ve also learned to prioritize and pick something to work on first, but not to worry if I put something down and come back to it later. Elaine tells me she likes to have at least 3 creative projects going at once so she can move from one to the next as she feels called.

Move the Universe With Your Commitment

Julia quotes this passage from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition by W. H. Murray:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (or creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

“All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have believed would have come his way.”

She separately quotes Goethe:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has magic, grace and power in it.”

(I’ve quoted both of these directly from The Artist’s Way. I’ve seen other variations.)

But How Will I?

Once you’ve committed, figuring out how really isn’t your job. Really.

Julia reminds me of this critical bit as well:

The Universe falls in with worthy plans and most especially with festive and expansive ones. I have seldom conceived of a delicious plan without being given the means to accomplish it. Understand that the what must come before the how. First choose what you will do. The how usually falls into place of itself.

Our inner critic and the fears that drive those anxious commitment questions make us think we have to answer the HOW question first. We do feasibility studies, shop our dreams around to our critical friends and enemies, and dismantle our cherished secret hopes before we ever give them a chance to take root, let alone blossom.

It makes me want to cry.

I want to cry when I think of all the beautiful, cherished, lovely dreams that will change the world, heal our broken systems and hearts, and help people grow and become better human beings, but that are being left unexplored, unexpressed, and undiscovered because we are more concerned with staying “safe” and not rocking the boat. These are just smokescreens, people. Smokescreens.

Let’s Be Honest With Each Other

Because really, deep down, “Anyone honest will tell you that possibility is far more frightening than impossibility, that freedom is far more terrifying than any prison.”

What Are You Willing To Allow?

The truly fascinating aspect of all this is the energetic flow of giving and receiving. Peter and Marcia taught me about the divine flow of Universal energy — the möbius of energy that moves out and returns back — an unending cycle of exchange. IF we allow it.

As Julia says, “The Universe is prodigal in its support. We are miserly in what we accept.”

We are miserly in what we accept.

Oh man.

She continues: “All gift horses are looked in the mouth and returned to sender. We say we are scared by failure, but what frightens us more is the possibility of success.”

What frightens us more is the possibility of success.

Could it be?

Could it be that what keeps me paralyzed from taking action on key Big Dreams is not that I’m too busy, have too much email, need a break, or just have to “get through this one thing,” but that I am simply: 1) unwilling to accept the limitless possibilities and gifts of the Universe and 2) terrified that I might actually succeed?

Holy shit, Batman. The jig is up.

I’m reminded of what Sonia always says: “How good can you stand it?”

~~~~~

Need help finding, claiming, and committing to your Big Dream? Come to my Voice Your Vision retreat in Berkeley on April 29th and 30th. You can find out all the details here.

~~~~~

What’s Jenna Up To?

~> March 26th, 2011. First broadcast of my brand new Radio Lightworker radio show “Dreamification.” Find out more and submit your questions. Listen from anywhere in the world to this Internet radio show. Listening details available soon!

~> March 29th, 2011. My Artist’s Way Accountability & Support Group continues. Details.

~> April 29th & 30th, 2011. My next Voice Your Vision retreat will be held in Berkeley, California. Early registration is now available through March 31st at midnight Eastern Time. Special savings if you’ve already had your hands analyzed. Contact my assistant Jamie to schedule a private one-to-one chat with me to find out if this program is right for you.

Comments

  1. God bless you, Jenna, you’ve always came up with what I need to hear. I have just received a contract for my dreamjob and start to feel terrified and scared and have panic attacks and heart palpitations – my usual reaction to system overload. What if I get bored, what if that is too much for me, what if I fail, maybe I should have stayed where I was, why did I go for a change at all… Almost as if I expect some kind of punishment because I succeed in the midst of economic turmoil. Thank you for reminding me of Julia Cameron and thank you for your beautiful insights. Tomorrow I go straight to the library to pick a copy of Artist’s Way to read it once again after so many years.
    Love,
    Ana from Croatia, Europe

    • Jenna
      Twitter: @jennaavery

      says:

      Ana, Loved your comments and hope you are enjoying reading The Artist’s Way again. I also hope you are loving your dreamjob. :)

  2. Giulietta Nardone
    Twitter: @giuliettaspeaks

    says:

    Hey Jenna,

    Am on a comment bender today … I have a kinda similar process to Elaine. Maybe I’m just a serial creative, but I like to go from writing to painting to singing to dancing. Immerse myself in one then hop to another. Rest. Rejuvenate. Re-engage.

    Rarely do two at once since they require a lot of energy and enthusiasm.

    Agree with the fear of success. We’re not nurtured to go for big juicy things that make us feel alive (or medium or small juicy things.)

    Think about life once you got to school. Chained to a desk for 12 years at a minimum, asking for permission to do anything, even pee. Yelled at for expressing any kind of spirit unless it’s in an approved setting – sports seats cheering for the team or maybe in a theater class. And I’m talking about pre-testing. Add that to the mix and people can be afraid to do all sorts of life-liberating things — unless they involve shopping or making money for other folks.

    Can we free the little kids so they won’t be self-tethered adults? (Did I digress or what?)

    G.
    Giulietta Nardone recently posted..Invoking the MusesMy Profile

  3. This made me cry- in a good way. Been wrestling with wondering how being an artist is going to make this make this world a better place- it is so easy for me to see that other artists can do this and I always support /champion them, but I go back and forth for myself wondering how it could be true for me. I needed this, thank you.

  4. Robin M. says:

    Agree with Ana above – Jenna, you are always on target! I am SO struggling with all of this right now… the list of self-doubts holding court and behaving just like an “off-with-their-heads!” Red Queen; thank you for sharing – it helps to know I’m not alone in this crazy Wonderland.

  5. Jennifer says:

    This reminds me of something Jay-Z said in his interview on NPR, that when he first started making music, he kept going back to selling drugs on the streets, because he didn’t have “100% belief” in what he was doing. And one day, he decided to give it a 100% effort, and that’s when his career took off. Here’s the interview: http://www.npr.org/2010/11/15/131334322/the-fresh-air-interview-jay-z-decoded

  6. Jennifer says:

    Jenna, one more thing, isn’t it the primary characteristic of our nature as HSPs that we notice and process and deeply think about ALL the things that can go wrong when taking a new action? And that we just want to avoid anything that could cause us to fail or be rejected because we know how horribly painful that is?

    Not that these are reasons to not follow our dreams, just saying that until we own this about ourselves, acknowledge its power, we are fighting against our own natures, instead of working with them.

    Thank you for this blog post, I LOVE Julia Cameron and I especially love stories about people who start with nothing but their dreams and determination and turn them into something fantastic.

    • Jenna
      Twitter: @jennaavery

      says:

      Yes, we have a natural ability to see “What’s wrong with this picture?”

      Just have to make sure we use that as information at the RIGHT TIME and not too early in the visioning process (where we’ll just squash our own dreams). I think we do better to FIRST get clear on what we want, then refine with the critiques later. (See my latest blog post for more on this: http://jennaavery.com/bigvision)

  7. What a beautiful article, Jenna! Loved it. For some reason it brought to my mind the piece about “resting” that we talked about in the group last week. I’m finding a lot of freedom in the idea that temporarily resting on something I’m working on does not mean that I have “stopped” or have “failed.” And it does not mean I’m not committed. I can pick it up later (I, too, like to have several things going at once). I know this isn’t totally in line with your article but for some reason this came up for me!

    Thank you!
    Jill recently posted..Are You Really ProcrastinatingMy Profile

  8. It might have all turned out differently, but it didn’t.

    It’s like Nike (I mean some brilliant ad guy back in the ’80′s) says: Just do it.

    I share like I don’t have the same issues. ;-)
    Miriam recently posted..Unmade DecisionsMy Profile

    • Jenna
      Twitter: @jennaavery

      says:

      Yep.

      Just. Do. It.

      I love in The War of Art how Steven Pressfield talks about overcoming resistance each and every day to get his writing done.

      (Listed on this page in a gift guide I made last year: http://www.highlysensitivesouls.com/blog/?p=2368)

      Seems like the “just doing it” is also about confronting the fears and resistance and self-doubts over and over again and doing it anyway, you know?