Kay’s Journal: Naps and Snacks

Here’s what I’m thinking about this week!


I haven’t said much about my coaching program since I returned from Montreal. Mostly that’s because the second 90-day sprint is half over and I feel like I’m just now getting started.

Unlike my laser focus for the first 90 days, I have wandered in the forests for the last six weeks. My project is the conversion of the “intro to journal therapy” continuing education course I taught for six years as a traveling minstrel for a seminar company. I taught this same course about 150 times in about 120 US cities and lived to tell the tale. So this is a piece of cake, right? It’s not like I don’t know the material …..

I entered the sprint on December 4 tough and cocky, sure I could knock out this project in the two-week break over Christmas.

But I didn’t want to work on Christmas break. I just wanted to hang out with my sisters and the kids and goof off. My artsy sister and I went to movies and the art museum. My homey sister hosted game nights with all the kids and made big pots of soup. I spent entire days puttering around my house doing nothing, an activity that somehow is never boring. I read novels and binge-watched TV series.

Come January, I did get into action and I’m more-or-less in the groove. I’m definitely making progress. But it’s snail-slow, excruciating, like that dream when you’re trying to run but your legs feel like sandbags.

This is the part of the process where I simultaneously know there’s nothing wrong and also worry and fret that there’s something terribly wrong because I can’t make myself do something I actually want to do.

It’s a familiar place, part of my creative pattern. It’s the scene where the roller coaster is inching, racheting up the steep steep hill and then it crests. And then it plunges into speed and force and there’s no stopping until the end.

I call that the “naps and snacks” stage because everything else melts into background and there is only The Work. I lock myself away because I am temporarily somewhat maddened. Time is elastic. There is the urge to bear down. The stage lasts as long as it lasts; I wrote the last half of Journal to the Self in eight days in the basement during which time I spoke to no one and rarely saw daylight.

I can feel it coming. But it isn’t here yet. Any time now.

I remind myself to remember that something is happening when it looks like nothing is happening. It’s true that I spend entire afternoons finding and placing pretty pictures in the lessons, but it is also true that styling is a stage that needs to happen, now or later. Yesterday I had a brilliant idea that could greatly enhance the course’s usefulness, and it means adding a whole new layer of work, but it’s irresistible so it will happen. On Sunday I gathered ten therapists who will beta-test the on-line class for me. So really, it’s all done but the writing. Hah!

Again I remind myself that my creative e process has a predictable pattern and this is part of it. It is not comfortable, but I have learned to live with the discomort just like I’ve learned to live with the chronic pain of rotator cuff injuries. It is annoying but it doesn’t run me. Yes, I get anxious and impatient. Then I remember that I just have to kick back and let it happen. If history repeats, it won’t be long before I’ll disappear and emerge a few days later with a finished curriculum, ready for its debut on a world stage.





5 Responses to Kay’s Journal: Naps and Snacks

  1. irit freiman January 21, 2018 at 4:17 am #

    listening to yourself and accepting it is a great virtue. counting on your past creativity and “products” I can just imagine the giving we will get from your willingness to withstand the discomfort of birthing it.
    can’t wait

  2. Cyncie Winter January 21, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    Dearest Kay,

    You have described the maddening realm of the cycle of creativity perfectly here! I am chuckling because I recognize it so well! If we look at Eric Maisel’s book, Fearless Creating, and attend to his message that every stage in the creative process (6 of them!) has its own familiar anxiety, we can learn to accept that anxiety, invite it in, and learn to manage it–as you are doing it here so beautifully.

    It seems to me that you are in the stage called Nurturing the Wish to Create. Eric defines the anxiety associated with that stage as Hungry Mind. He says that we must learn to manage it by Appropriate Feeding–which includes Hushing and Holding–the kind of resting that you are describing perfectly as needing “naps and snacks.” It involves waiting with a kind of excruciating abeyance that has an ironic kindness to it, where we live with the illusion that nothing is happening, developing faith that things are actually happening–deeply below the surface.

    You say it so well here: “I can feel it coming. But it isn’t here yet. Any time now.”
    As Eric says, if we can learn to hold this kind of attitude, we can cultivate a level of Deep Knowing that will emerge when we are actually ready to express whatever has been waiting to surface.

    Thanks so much for giving us all permission to recognize what this feels like. Beautifully described!

    • Kay Adams January 24, 2018 at 11:37 am #

      Wow, Cyncie! Thanks so much. Everything is cyclical, isn’t it? This is so helpful to read (as I enter into the last 48-hour sprint to the curriculum finish line) Sadly, naps-and-snacks or me is more about 3.5 hours sleep and snarfing crackers and cheese any time I get so hungry I can’t go further until I eat. Not necessarily self-nurturing, but just the way it is for a while. What’s Eric’s stage after that? When the roller coaster finally crests the hill and it hurtles ahead until the finish? I’m mostly in that stage.

      • Cyncie Winter January 31, 2018 at 10:18 am #

        Yes, it is cyclical! 🙂

        And the next stage is about Choosing–in each moment–what the next part of the creative process will look like. The accompanying anxiety is Confused Mind (what’s next? What does that look like? What do I need to do to summon up the resources to begin turning this project into something that is concrete?…etc. etc. and so forth.) As you can see, this can nvolve wrestling with Uncertainty, which can bring up fears and challenges in the form of procrastination, overwhelm, and perfectionism.

        So the way to feed this stage is through finding appropriate Clarity. But what does this look like?…..Hmmmm. Thank goodness for Eric’s wisdom!

        Thanks, Kay!


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