Monday, April 17, 2006

Silence. Will. Weekend.

Human will is the most underestimated faculty on earth. And possibly the most misunderstood.

When we will something, we do not worry about it, wish for it or hope for it. We decide – and then we let go of the process and even the outcome.

Will is operating for us when we stick to a practice we love. When we stay in the moment, moment by moment, day by day doing something that fully engages us. When we can hear the voice of our inner critic and cut it off smartly so that we can go on doing it. Writing. Running. Art. Cooking. Practicing for the Scrabble Hall of Fame. When we spend a four day weekend (in my particular case) doing beadwork. Not returning phone calls or falling prey to a thousand possible distractions. Taking my own work seriously.

Will also operates for us when we falter and stop. It’s a good servant and doesn’t discriminate. It listens to our feelings, to our internal talk, and whatever talks loudest and longest wins. It’s wise, therefore, to pay close attention to those yakkers in your head. What are you saying to yourself? What are you telling your will to bring you?

I’ve been thinking about what a miraculous process it is when you feel your will working for you. And how, for years, I didn’t understand that I wasn’t helpless against the voices in my mind – the ones that are misguidedly trying to protect me by keeping me out of the line of fire. The ones that are criticizing me before anyone else gets the chance. The ones that judge and condemn.

I haven’t turned them off. This isn’t “positive thinking,” or a matter of happy little mantras. I respect the fact that those voices came into being as I grew up and needed to protect myself. At best they are an inner council I turn to when I need to balance. At their worst, they cripple me with guilt, indecision and self-doubt.

This weekend, I’ve felt at peace with myself. Mostly in silence for four days, I’ve listened as my inner voices speak. The old tapes play, telling me what I can’t do, can’t accomplish. I’ve listened to the voices that want me to worry about becoming too insular and unsociable.

And I’ve gone right on with my work, unperturbed and unafraid of making mistakes or wasting time.

Priceless - simply to hold the needle, weave the beads and watch something come out of nothing.