Thursday, April 02, 2009
Line of Questioning
I recently have been questioning my resistances more directly. Both in exercises for the students and in my own life. Here's what the "breakthrough" line looked line, as I did it at a writing conference a couple of weeks ago. I am SURE I must have "learned this from somewhere" but the fact is I didn't implement it until now. And wow is it powerful, when one is ready. Like non-dominant handwriting, I'm not sure I'd make it a single exercise for a class. But I'll be suggesting it to my students for sure as an option.
For example, a recent question around which I have had a lot of resistance and few answers:
Q:"Why do I feel resistant to 'becoming famous' or more published?"*
A: "Because I don't have enough time for myself as is."
Q: "Why not?"
A: "Because I don't make the time or prioritize it."
Q: (Aha. Interesting. Nothing to do with "getting famous") "Why not?"
A: "Because it isn't worthwhile." (Even two weeks later this line of thinking seems weak)
Q: "Why not?"
A: "Because I hate myself." (That wasn't much of a shock - self-hatred underlies a lot of resistance - or - so we think - it's actually fear, most keenly fear of impermanence.)
"But wait. I don't hate myself."
Q: "Why did I say that?"
A: "Out of habit."
Q: "Well, if it's not true, then why don't I make the time?" (This coming from the work of Michele Cassou, who encourages questions that actually break the true heart of resistance)
A: "Not sure. But I know I don't hate myself. Or not entirely, anyway."
Q: "Ok. (Weren't we talking about being famous?) So how can we make the time?"
A: "Structure it. Demand it. Make it now while I can."
Q: "And if you could prove to yourself it would be ok, and you could find time even if you got all famous and busy, would you be ok with getting famous, if that is going to happen, or at least getting your stuff out more just to do it, regardless of outcome?"
A: "Yes! I rock!"
So I've been sending in my writing for the last couple of weeks, finally getting the fiction edited and out of the house, short stuff anyway, though still having a hard time refocusing on the novels, which take longer attention spans. This line of questioning has broken the hardline backs of a few other questions: Why don't I exercise enough? Why don't I keep in touch with my friends as much as I think I want to? and Why don't I do as much yoga as I want to? for instance...
Give it a try. Just keep asking why until you hit absurdity. Amazing how fragile the ego is, as impermanent as anything and very resistant to being seen as such, when you face it straight on with a razor line of questioning, with clarity and compassion...
*Basic plot around this question is this closed loop of reactions: "I should edit" "I don't want to" "Why?" "Because I might succeed." "Or I might fail." "But what if I succeed?" "I don't want to be famous." Good grief.