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The Drought of Self-Doubt

It is important to remember, when we are suffering, that we are not alone. Every person experiences self-doubt at one time or another. In the throes of it, the prospects look dismal. We are in what feels like a drought, crawling forward, hoping for water, seeing nothing promising the horizon. If we give in to our skepticism, we may start to convince ourselves that nothing will ever be on the horizon. This is actually giving in to our intellect, which is limiting because the intellect tends to focus on facts and logic, and it can block our progress. We reject the smaller, quieter information offered to us by our spiritual tools: the hint in our Morning Pages of an idea, the inspiration of an Artist Date, the exhilaration of making a connection to a memory in our Memoir, the creeping optimism we feel as we consistently walk.

Giving in to our skepticsim, we say, “I can’t do that,” and become negative and fearful. Fear and negativity conspire to create self-doubt, which, in turn, becomes this drought, sapping us of the sustenance necessary for creativity. Droughts feel agonizing, as if they will never end. This is where tenacity enters the picture. We must be brave enough— and stubborn enough— to use our spiritual tools despite our skepticism. During a creative drought, Artist Dates feel especially futile and foolish. “I have nothing to say,” we wail, “and so I’m going out to play?”

But the key word here is “feel.” Artist Dates are not futile. They are not foolish. What they are is brave and filled with grace, which will reveal itself as we keep moving forward. During a drought, what is called for is courage: the humility to inch ahead despite our reservations.

from It's Never Too Late to Begin Again