Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fear & Procrastination

After nearly five months on the couch and with a surgery still looming, I am going back to work as we know it. In fact, thinking about it, this job resembles a 40 hour week definition much more than anything I have done in several years.

Kent Eaton, a friend and the bass support in Kipnco, has a design background and a vision of a small footprint, sustainably sensible community development. A firm believer in the shifting of paradigms, he proposes a web-based open resource to help people learn to build their own projects. He also has parents with an acre of land ready to downsize and willing to put their equity behind his vision.

My experience as a general contractor comes into play ideally without the stress and complication of having to run a company behind it. Kent gets to keep his day job in an architectural firm, and I get enough income to support our growing habit of playing music at night.

The synchronicity of these events and energies is just too perfect not to glorify and celebrate, further evidence that the Universe does not operate in mysterious ways, but is actually clear and consistent so long as we keep our eyes open to the possibilities. Patience, trust, faith—all virtues reward.

But today, sitting at my desk (no longer on the couch!), I stare at the site plan, trying to unclog the mathematical, organized half of my brain. Instead, piles of bills, layers of dust, juicey status reports on Facebook distract my attention. Dishes and laundry are suddenly important tasks before I can focus. Procrastination even launches me into this essay—anything to keep me from looking at what emotions challenge me to begin the serious work of this job. And after all of that, there is the convenient excuse of a healing nap to lure me back to the couch.

In the midst of this good news, fear immediately pokes up its nasty head, curious and conniving. Having vowed to leave construction forever behind me, I step boldly right back onto another plank—not yet a scaffold, but inevitably one will rise before me. Forever desirous of a creative path and once again considering the crossroads, I hear my father’s voice commanding a responsible income and I easily submit and turn left-brained.

Fear has many faces. Sitting on the couch for so long, my head now spins with the effort to focus sharply on details and deadlines. Used to floating in recovery and napping several times a day, the effort to concentrate and organize—thinking in a linearly and results-oriented manner—makes me more delirious than any medication. I fear lacking the physical and mental strength to do the job.

Having attempted a construction business in many forms and failing miserably, I also question my ability to be in charge once again. While I have no enemies per se, I fear trouble getting guys to work with me. Insecurities make me wonder if I even know what to do at all.

Mostly, I have embraced my vision of creativity with such enthusiasm I am petrified of further distraction. The need to make money has stolen more than thirty years of my creative energy, and lately I have been professing an authentic life of following our true dreams and desires. Even as I describe this job as a vehicle to fund my passions, a stepping stone, I have too much history of letting construction projects take over, suspending the vision once again (fear not, Kent, now committed, I will do a good job).

In these months on the couch, too dazed and confused to write more than an essay or play a few songs at a time, my metabolism has slowed and needs to be recharged. I have gained weight and my brain shifted. I spent a lot of time convincing myself it is my life purpose to write and play music. The Universe undermined the scaffold precisely to land me on the couch and look at myself. Each time I go back to construction to earn my keep, the disasters are worse.

Shifting the procrastination to a realistic study of these fears, “balance” is the word that settles down like a snowfall, softening the contours of the palpitations. Physically wounded and creatively novice, this opportunity creates safe steps back into the world and towards transformation. This job allows me to stand on my own wobbly legs. With pen in hand, phone and computer still as my main tools, I can oversee the project for several hours, then refine this essay, and still play a set of music this evening.

Step by precious step, I embrace those skills I have to support myself and practice them in new ways that open doors long imagined. In any moment, I might be communicating about concrete or a concert, but all efforts move me forward. This dance has been going on my whole life and shows no sign of slowing down, accelerating, in fact, to a more quickening, more conscious pulse.

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