To preface, you should know I love TED talks (TT for short).
And if you were my friend Taylor, I promise you would roll your eyes at me and mutter, "Yes, Des, we know"....
My years of scrolling through TT videos till I found the perfect distraction while I slaved away on a StairMaster has offered me a great deal of insight.
One notable TT went OFF and taught me the importance of unburdening myself with egocentric expectations and letting the universe do it's thing.
Circa my Freshman year of high school (2009) TED invited author of 'Eat, Pray, Love' Elizabeth Gilbert to present "Your Elusive Creative Genius". In her 10/10 would recommend TT, Gilbert revisited a geriatric time when it was widely believed that the "creative genius" (incredible talent) is a gift from spiritual entities, in contrast to the current belief that it is simply the product of superior neurological abilities.
This belief suggested that while writers block or painters fatigue* is frustrating, the artist could chill out knowing that once their lil' spirit pal returned with more juice, they would be back in business. Because of this, artists typically felt more gratitude and could make peace with their creative limitations.
Unfortunately, "sCiEnCe" would come along and mark the end of that joy ride.
As Gilbert continues, the audience fast forwards to post-Enlightenment and meet a new creature: the tortured artist. You know who I'm talking about... the punk rock guy who paints like Magritte but parties like Charlie Sheen to numb the agony that is his soul?? Yea. The idea is that once it was determined that 'creative genius' could only logically exist within the brilliance of the artist, the artist gained an alarmingly unbearable amount of pressure to perform. In fact, Gilbert's perspective is unique because she personally experienced that pressure after the success of "Eat, Pray, Love'.
Gilbert concludes by challenging the audience to suspend the new idea of 'creative genius' for a moment and contemplate the possibility that maybe, just maybe, the old idea was onto something:
She shares this story by Ruth Stone, a Russian Poet, born in 1915:
"As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming . . . 'cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, "run like hell" to the house as she would be chased by this poem.
The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her, she could collect it and grab it on the page. Other times she wouldn't be fast enough, so she would be running and running, and she wouldn't get to the house, and the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it, and it would "continue on across the landscape looking for another poet."
And then there were these times, there were moments where she would almost miss it. She is running to the house and is looking for the paper and the poem passes through her. She grabs a pencil just as it's going through her and she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it. She would catch the poem by its tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page. In those instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact, but backwards, from the last word to the first."
Incredible, right? Here's where I fit in.
Let's go to 2016; I'm a senior in college pursuing a Criminal Justice degree, laying on a queen sized mattress on the floor of a tiny bedroom painted dark green. I weigh 150 lbs at a whopping height of 5' 2", agonizing over my "freshman 30" weight gain while hopelessly trying to sleep. Then, out of nowhere, I get gobsmacked.
It was like a wave of passion had washed over me and I could feel it in my soul that I was just DONE. I was done moping around about "getting fat" and only fantasizing about being happy with my body. Tomorrow, I was going to start working on myself...heck, I wanted to start right at that moment.
Looking back, I couldn't tell you the day or time and I couldn't tell you what I was wearing, or what I even did that day. But what I can tell you is this: one minute I was torturing myself about when I would get it together and the next minute I knew with every inch of my being that I was fully committed to making changes.
Later in life, I would watch Gilbert's TT and it would occur to me that perhaps I had experienced a similar phenomenon?
Since then, these sparks of motivation to deeply commit, in all facets of my life, continue to manifest from seemingly nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. I've experienced this truly inexplicable feeling so many times that, similarly to the artists of per-Enlightenment, I can make peace with the times that I am not being my best self.
So, what does this mean for my 2021 wellness resolution? Well, it means committing myself to non-commitment.
I am rejecting the notion that I need to orchestrate concrete moments of readiness and I am shedding the undue pressure that rides on the coattails of that construct.
I will not start at Midnight. I will not start on Monday.
I am resolving my wellness to trust: trust in myself and a whole lotta trust in my lil' spirit pal.
Happy New Year Folks.
*I made up painters fatigue but I dig it