Have you ever had one of those days where it seems that everything that could possibly go wrong does? As Murphy’s Law states:
Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
This seems truer today than ever in my life. It seems it’s a matter of the Universe trying to tell me something, and I’m not sure if I’m really ready to hear what it has to say.
It’s hard to take signals that seem so broad, and narrow them down to a root cause. Let me tell you about what happened to me this morning:
- My iPod car charger/fm transmitter exploded. I was walking to my car to get the snow off of it, and start it up so that I could go to school, when I heard something hit the ground. I looked down to find that the screw-on cap to my car charger had fallen off, and inspecting the charger itself told me that all of the removable internals had disappeared. I spent the next few minutes searching through the snow-covered roadway, and found all but a spring. Naively, I thought, “Oh, it’s just a spring, maybe I won’t need it.” Tried it out, and of course, no dice.
- My backup fm transmitter is nowhere to be found. Not to be daunted by the lack of availability of this fm transmitter, I resolved to find the older one I had kept around for just such an occasion. I usually take this along on trips, so that we can use the laptop through the car speakers, (it hooks up through a simple audio jack) but alas, it was nowhere to be found. I tore my junk pile of a room apart trying to locate this wayward gadget, but with no luck.
- My backup car charger doesn’t work. I then decided that I could just listen to the iPod through an earbud while driving, so I went to the car and found the older car charger and plugged it in. This wouldn’t be much of a story if the thing worked, so of course, it too had failed.
- iPod battery was drained. Well, no car charger, that’s not really a big deal. The podcasts I listen to aren’t too demanding, so at least I can use the internal iPod battery and still listen to something on my way to school. Of course, as these things happen, the iPod was drained, so I was left to listen to local radio on the morning commute.
- Foreboding music. So, I head down the road, with NPR going, and what are they playing but some nice, downtrodden classical music that keeps me thinking that this day will turn out to be not much more of a good thing.
- Gas light. As I get close to the gas station, the music blaring its somber tones, the gas light comes on in the car.
- Wrong side. I pull up to a pump, get out, remove my wallet and walk around to the side of the car, only to find out that I pulled up to the wrong side. (In my defense, my wife’s car’s gas tank is on the passenger’s side, where mine is on the driver’s)
- Credit Cards. So, I turn the car around and properly pull up to the pump. I get everything ready, and insert my credit card to begin pumping, and a message appears saying “See Cashier”. Great, it’s not taking this card. That’s alright, I have another. Different card, same result. Awesome. I had just paid bills yesterday, so I knew there was at least $20 on the debit card, and proceed to use that to pump. I stopped it at $10 (about half a tank of gas), and was on my way.
Maybe not a show-stopping run of bad luck, and I certainly powered through, but it got me thinking about what God, the Universe, or my subconscious (whatever term you’re comfortable with) was trying to tell me this morning.
I just finished reading a book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, and have become aware of the messages that the universe is trying to send me on a more regular basis.
In this book, Pressfield details the acts of “Resistance” which is a persistent actor in our lives that prevents us from doing anything toward the goal that we have put ourselves out to do. Resistance is a force that is within us, and all other things in the universe, and works relentlessly to keep us from our true calling.
Recognizing the happenings of this morning as Resistance, what is the moral of the day that I seem to be missing?
As usual, I have two outstanding projects that need to be completed ASAP. One that is relatively simple to complete, that I’ve been procrastinating immensely on, and another that is more long term. On top of this, I have schoolwork, blog writing, podcast recording and the novel that I am working on. How do I determine which of these is the target of this Resistance today?
As Pressfield points out in his book, I am simply an amateur at all of these things, and have not fully committed myself to becoming a professional at any of the projects that I have running at any time.
The amateur plays part-time, the professional full-time.
The amateur is a weekend warrior. The professional is there seven days a week.
When I finally got to school, after searching out all of the other means of procrastination I usually employ, only to find out that he was teaching a class, I sat down, opened my notebook and began writing. I wrote another 500 words in my novel, which doesn’t seem like much, but when you haven’t written in a week, it seems like an accomplishment.
I have been writing from the standpoint of an amateur. I write when I fancy it, and I write only about what I set out to. I have been completely ignoring my muse, and found out the consequences this morning.
So, I’ve written some today, and I’ve made a blog post. Other than some theoretical non-paper or electronic planning for the two outstanding projects, I haven’t really done anything else to work toward becoming a professional in those other areas.
I have a deadline of Tuesday night for my podcast, but haven’t made a strive toward recording that. I’ve been collecting stories throughout the week to contemplate talking about, but haven’t gotten around to actually sitting down and pounding out the audio. At this point in the podcast, I haven’t had much feedback, so I’m not even sure what people like or where I’m headed with the whole project, so that leaves me to my own devices at this point. As I get more listeners, the definition of the podcast will change, but the amount of work that I need to do will not shrink.
After reading The War of Art, I feel like I’ve had my eyes open to the workings of the universe when it comes to the signals being passed my way. Sitting down to write after hitting the wall in terms of good luck, has turned out to be a great thing, and pushed the day from bad to good.
I got the money back from the campus book store for the used books that I sold. And my fm transmitter/car charger miraculously started working, allowing me to enjoy quality entertainment, rather than wallowing in the poor local radio drivel.
Allowing my craft to atrophy has proven disastrous, and I will make a more solid effort to strive toward that professional status. When you break past Resistance, you can create truly wonderful things.
I recommend that if you are in any way a creative person, or you have a creative job, hobby or pursuit, that you check out The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I felt like the book was common sense as I was reading it, but only after finishing it did I realize that I had been numb to all of the things going on around me, which help a creative person stay on track and recognize Resistance as it is manifested personally.
All this being said, I’m not sure that I’ll continue on this path, but at least I know I will be trying. I’ve blocked out an hour of time everyday in between classes on the weekdays, so that I can sit and write, regardless of where I am and what I need to do next. If I show up, I’ve already won half of the battle. Now, to keep myself from wasting more time on the internet…