We use deadlines, ‘should do’s’, perceived needs (as opposed to real needs), negative consequences, guilt trips – as a way of forcing others/ourselves into taking action. As pointed out in the book “The Path of Least Resistance” by Robert Fritz, the Ethiopian dilemma of poverty has been around for many decades and yet the problem still continues. The use of sorrowful images to gain donations, stirring up feelings of guilt and grief, many years of funds raised and used –and yet the real problem hasn’t changed. There’s a circulating post on Facebook about the cruelty of the major population still being poorer that the top 10 or top 3 richest people in the world.
After a vivid dream one night, I spent the next 8 years ‘dreaming’ of creating a manga (Japanese-style comic). My rationalisation was that I just couldn’t find the time. What I needed was more time and when I had that – I will create my comic. One day, a friend started a group challenge – the 120 Day Do What You Love Challenge (Click here) & immediately it sparked a flame. I signed up – then spent the next 2 weeks hyperventilating whenever I saw a pencil, experiencing huge resistance whenever I thought about the challenge I was ‘supposed’ to do each day (drawing my manga). And when I wasn’t hyperventilating – I was sleeping to avoid drawing. The small amount of headway that I made was minimal. It was an immensely uncomfortable period.
The main intense beliefs I was experiencing were: I just can’t do it (not good enough at producing publishable art from my imagination) and it needs to be perfect. Once I sat with the discomfort and tension – I came to the realisation that it was impossible to ‘force’ the story out. That I could no longer be ‘in control’ of how the characters/story pans out. Once I let go of that, the manga started to take on a life of its own – with me being the channel and left free to enjoy drawing & exploring the world of manga.
The photos in this blog are the evolution of my manga character over a year of drawing, 2 x 120 day challenges and $@!#-loads of tension. This evolution can only been seen in hindsight. She is still evolving – I am still expanding and going deeper.
The reality is I could’ve stopped the 120 day challenge after 2 weeks of producing very little – believing that it was impossible. The reality is that I could believe that right now. I could force the story out – create half-hearted drawings, produce shallow characters, just finish it so as not to feel the tension, cheat myself out of this experience. I could do for the sake of doing – so as not to go deep and likely experience regret in hindsight. Then I don’t have to feel, be uncomfortable, hurt in the short-term – accepting that I am a limited creature, powerless, unworthy, not good enough.
Do people who are overweight not realise the stress on their bodies? They feel it every day – in their joints, shortness of breath just walking up the stairs, excess sweating, low self-esteem. Do smokers not realise that cigarettes are bad for health? They experience persistent cough, stinky fingers, yellow teeth and bad taste in the mouth. Does the oil & gas companies not realise the harm to the environment? They have the EPA, environmentalists and do-gooders in their face already – not to mention Greenpeace. Yet we are bombarded by ads, protesters, media and reality TV – hoping to ‘inform’ us, usually through the means of scare tactics and guilt trips. For decades. Something doesn’t quite sit right. Education is only one step in the process and it has been done to death. If permanent change is what we really want, we need to go deeper than that.
Sure, it is uncomfortable to take self-responsibility – to use your will & creativity to create change in your life and environment, to reveal underlying limited beliefs, to admit the real truth in any given moment ---- but not impossible. Discomfort does not equal impossible or insurmountable. In truth, we are not limited. We are immense beings of potential and possibility. Your actions will show in the long-term which reality you settle for.