The Dictator and The Anarchist (The Journey to Not Blogging)


Two weeks ago, I visited The Sophianic Healing Blog out of curiosity to check exactly when I had last published a post. I knew that it had been some time since my last post given that during the prior few weeks I had been engrossed in a variety of other work-related projects. But when I finally looked at the date, I was not prepared for what I saw. There it was -- April 7, 2010. My heart sank. At that point, it was June 29, which meant that exactly 83 days had elapsed since my last posting.

I asked myself how that could have happened, as if I were just a casual, third-party observer rubber-necking as he passed by the scene of an accident. Had I really let so much time go by without realizing it? It seemed almost surreal. And yet the incontrovertible proof of a date that was 83 days in the past was staring back at me telling me otherwise.

So, what exactly did happen? This is the question that I sat down to reflect on. And reflect I did. In the process, I gleaned a few insights that I think have helped me come to a better understanding of myself. I also realized that if my intention for the blog was for it to be a more personal way of sharing and connecting with others, then my experience of what happened after launching the blog needed to be what I would write about next. If “The Journey To Blogging” was my first blog post, then “The Journey To Not Blogging” would be my latest.

Truth be told, when I began the blog, I had never intended to commit to a particular publishing schedule. In fact, the lack of such a schedule had been a conscious decision. I have had a long history of relying on the sense of pressure evoked by deadlines to motivate me to work. And while this approach has served me well enough to get things done (sometimes quite successfully), it has also often left me feeling conflicted and split as though I have to be at odds with my life and with my own will in order to bring my creative endeavors to fruition.

I no longer want to rely on deadlines and the anxiety they create as a primary source of motivation. It is simply too dissatisfying and even demoralizing to feel like the expression of my creativity must continually devolve into a standoff between two dualistic aspects of my psyche -- i.e. the dictator that seeks to impose all manner of rigid rules and deadlines, on the one hand, and the anarchist who seeks to safeguard my total freedom, on the other. It also makes life and the work I do feel like a chore. What I truly desire is to find a better way to work with my will and with my resistance so as to allow my motivation to come from a more centered and effortless place.

As such, it seemed that eliminating the pressure of specific deadlines would be one way of doing that. Such an approach would theoretically free me to honor the natural rhythm of my creativity instead of forcing it to conform to a somewhat rigid and seemingly arbitrary time-line.

So, for a couple of weeks, I wrote very little. Free of the demands and constraints of a specific deadline, I instead gave myself permission to focus my efforts on certain administrative tasks that I had neglected while I was working on the blog and Sh-Insights (the Sophianic Healing newsletter). Besides, after the launch of the blog and the newsletter, I felt like I needed a rest from writing and it seemed like the perfect time to do so.

And guess what? It felt great to do this.

By giving myself permission not to write for a while, I had accomplished two things. First, I had avoided much the discomfort of being out of sync with my creative process (e.g. writer’s block, lack of focus, etc.). Secondly, I had freed myself from deadlines and the oppressiveness of my inner dictator. The icing on the cake was that I accomplished all this without even a hint of guilt due to the undeniable fact that although I was not writing much, I was nonetheless engaged in work that was truly useful and necessary.

The dictator in me had been side-lined, the anarchist in me had been liberated, my ego was feeling productive and my soul was at peace. All seemed well.

But somewhere along the line, something happened. My administrative projects began leading to all sorts of additional side projects, and I found myself spending more and more time in a circuitous maze of busy work in an effort to keep up with it all. I was becoming more consumed and obsessed than engaged and creative. Ironically, to my ego, it still felt like I was being “productive”, but on a deeper level, I was no longer truly at peace. And all the while, my writing receded further and further into the background.

Soon, the awareness that I had somehow veered off course started coming into focus. My first clue that something was amiss was the knee-jerk judgments that started coming from that inner dictator. “I told you so”, “see, you should have forced a deadline”, “you fool, not so smart or productive now, are you”, were just some of the bon mots that came up. Guilt started to come up, as did a sense of badness. If there was a saving grace that kept me from spiraling down into a morass of self-flagellation it was my familiarity with the debilitating effects of such self-judgment and my willingness to not let them go too far or pull me down too deep. So, while the dictator’s voice kept at it, I just stopped listening.

Nonetheless, I still had my feelings to contend with. And as the awareness of what had happened continued flowing into my consciousness, I began feeling duped and victimized (as if someone had taken advantage of me), more than a little embarrassed and increasingly sad -- all of the hallmarks of an ego undergoing a quick and significant deflation.

Once again, I found myself asking what happened. What I discovered is that my relationship to the duality of my inner dictator/anarchist has a lot more to do with how I function than I had ever realized.