I went through a period recently when I was reluctant to get into the studio. I felt unmotivated. I had that ‘maybe I’ll have the day off’ feeling for a significant time. A version of this crops up occasionally but, in this instance, the feeling was quite strong and long-lasting. I couldn’t work out what was wrong. Perhaps I’d ‘gone off’ painting? Perhaps it was just a hobby and had reached its use-by date?

It was a few days before I managed to get myself down the stairs and into the action where I came face to face with a painting that was not going well. All became clear. This painting was a stopper. It was a block to any creative flow or inspiration. The frustration with it, or perhaps the disappointment, prevented progress.

I had two options. The first was to push through, which was what I would normally do in an effort to solve whatever problem was occurring. The other was to step around it or, more accurately, move it firmly out of the way so I could see, once again, the opportunities behind it. The latter is what I did. Perhaps it was postponement. Perhaps it was abandonment. It didn’t matter at that stage. Either way, the physical and mental act was effective in clearing the air and reinstating momentum. In fact, like a dam wall being breached, the rush of enthusiasm was heartening.

It made me wonder what other stealthy blocks occur in different parts of life. Are we reluctant to go out because, really, we don’t feel comfortable in our dressed-up clothes? Are we negative about work because, in reality, it’s difficult to find a car park? Are we slow at taking medication because, deep down, we are resentful about the reason?

We may struggle with these experiences daily. Recognising what is the actual block, however, may make that easier. Focussing on the real problem and either solving it, or stepping around it, may remove the angst and that dragging feeling that can make aspects of living more difficult than necessary. Much of the time, we can’t remove the blocks entirely, but perhaps we can mitigate them or think about them differently.

Until later,


3 thoughts on “Stoppers

  1. This rings so true. I find it interesting how often our stoppers are entirely self-imposed by our assumptions and habits of mind.
    ‘I can’t start reading another book until I’ve finished this one (that I’m hating).’
    ‘I don’t want to do the most urgent thing on my to-do list so I’ll procrastinate instead of doing the other things on the list.’
    ‘If I’m going to write a novel/make a garden/decorate a room, I need to wait until I can get SERIOUS about it, do it properly, instead of just delighting in the process.’
    All stoppers that are completely intrinsic and rather flimsy when examined.


  2. so true, so true: maybe that’s why wine, that which is humanmade slowly and deliberately, is held with the ultimate of stoppers – cork

    cork is both a stopper and a float: more food for thought to buoy us up as we bob along …

    what ever floats our boat?


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