Go to Zero to Get Back on Track

Writing for Hollywood is not always going to be easy and as with any art form, it comes with periods of self-doubt or frustration.  It’s easy to get frustrated when we’re waiting for projects to be greenlit or we’re working on a script that isn’t going the way we hoped.  But we find that the harder we push, the worse we feel to the point where it makes us want to give up.

Yesterday, my work felt painful because I was applying tremendous effort and not getting anywhere.  I got pissed off and when you’re pissed off, you can’t accomplish anything.  But out of this frustration, I discovered how much I have been ‘efforting’ without realizing it.  Whatever I was doing wasn’t working for me because I wasn’t feeling good.

Give up the struggle.

Part of me is excited because I know that on the other side of this frustration is everything I want.  I know this because this is the same feeling I had two years ago when everything I had transformed into everything I wanted the moment I gave up the struggle.  So I know what to do: I have to reach the point of surrender.  Even though I had been saying over and over, “I surrender,” I didn’t feel my energy shift so I knew I still had more to let go of.  Sometimes this means having the courage to go to zero.

Have the courage to go to zero.

Robert Redford said that after completing a project he always goes to zero.  I’m not sure what that means for him, but to me it means that you hand yourself over to the universe to receive the next logical step. But when you’re confused or frustrated or stuck or panicked you’re caught up in the whirlwind of your mind and can’t see the next logical step.

What you have to do is simply stop for a moment.

So this morning I stopped. I stopped thinking and stopped listening to other people’s advice on what to do to get what I think I want.  There was so much information coming at me that I couldn’t hear my own voice.  I couldn’t see the next logical step.  Stopping everything for a moment allowed me to breathe, to let my own voice drown out the noise.  But first I needed to acknowledge the state I was in.

Give yourself permission to feel the negative emotion.

Feeling the negative for just a moment helped me define what it was that made me feel bad.  I knew that by clarifying what I don’t want, it would lead me to define what I do want.

Release the negative to allow room for the positive.

I wrote it down. I stopped thinking. I napped. I went for a walk.  This led me to anger, which surprised me because I didn’t know I felt this much resistance. I acknowledged the feeling and decided to do what I needed to do to feel better.  I went on ‘vacation’.  What do we do when we’re on vacation?  Only what feels good in the moment.

Do what feels good to you in the moment and it will lead you to what you really want.

I was led to a podcast about defining your transition self. I’ve been reaching too far in the future and it’s causing discord within me because I don’t believe I can be that person yet. I felt relief in knowing that I can be someone in between where I am now and where I want to be.  The thing is, we never know where we ultimately want to be anyway, we’re constantly evolving and figuring that out as we go.

The best we can do is move in the direction of what we want by feeling what it feels like to already be there.

Efforting is a bad habit I picked up from school, from working in the corporate world, from North American culture.  It’s a hard habit to break.  Figuring out when I’m efforting and changing course to allow instead is one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn.  I’m used to making things happen and it worked for a long time, but it’s exhausting and it doesn’t work.  Even in saying “making things happen” you can feel the energy of force.  Nothing good ever comes from forcing anything.  No wonder I woke up tired.

Waking up tired was a clear indication that something was not right.

Life is supposed to be easy and I felt like I was dragging myself through it.  Most days I feel joyful, enthusiastic, optimistic, so I know the difference.  This morning’s experience was painful, but now I’m grateful for the sign because it helped me get back on the right path.

When you rid yourself of what is not working, it clears the path for something that does work.

Going to zero helped me clear the way for feeling good.  It allowed ease and fun to return to me.  It also helped me to further define what I really want and who I want to be on the way.  It redefined the kind of life I want to live and helped me identify what I’m not willing to put up with.

I’m not willing to feel bad especially when going after something I want.

It doesn’t make any sense to feel bad about doing something you supposedly love to do.  So if you’re doing something that feels bad, stop.  Go to zero.  Feel the pain only long enough to identify what it is that makes you feel that way then release it.  Nap, workout, walk, get off the subject, meditate.

Then give yourself permission to only do what you love doing for the rest of the day.  Let it lead you to the next thing you love doing and eventually you will find your way back to doing what you love in a state you love and the block you had, the frustration will be gone.

If you have the courage to go to zero, let me know about your experiences in the comments below.  Tell me what you did and the good that came from it.

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