Sh*t doesn’t just happen
My friend Tony has a theory about accidents, i.e. fender-benders, sprained ankles, etc. He believes they’re the body’s way of grounding us when we get too far into our own heads.
An accident, Tony would say, should make us ask, “What’s going on in my life? Have I floated too far away into airy-fairy land?”
My own theory is parallel in that, like Tony, I don’t believe accidents are “accidental.”
I think accidents are a form of Resistance.
(I include minor maladies like colds or sore throats or mild fevers, particularly when they come on the heels of other mishaps and random impairments.)
I think accidents are our Inner Saboteur’s way of throwing us off our game, of presenting us with excuses to slack off or even stop entirely our pursuit of our current project or vision.
An example from my life right now: I recently hurt myself at the gym. Nothing serious—a tweaked shoulder—but enough to put me in pain and make me change the way I worked out. Then I got sick. Again nothing life-threatening … a virus or something that hung around for a week or ten days. Meanwhile my sleep was off. You get the picture.
I labored under this low-level stress/pain-in-the-ass for a couple of weeks before the thought hit me, “I wonder if this is Resistance.”
My conclusion? It was.
I thought, “I’m at a really tough part of a piece of fiction I’m working on now … two-thirds of the way through a fourth draft, where the thing is starting to wobble off the tracks. Enough that it worries me. I may have screwed the pooch on this section. I’m getting scared.”
Then I thought further, “Shit happens like this when you’re about to break through to something good.”
I decided to go with that self-diagnosis. This constellation of ills, I concluded, is Resistance. And since Resistance is infallible in the sense that it ramps up its power specifically when it senses that you or I are about to break through to a higher level … I took heart.
I told myself, “This is a good thing.” And I tore apart the section I was working on and re-did it in a new and (hopefully) better way.
My shoulder still hurts but I’m sleeping well again … and I’m definitely happier with the new version of that hard part at the end of Act Two.
Our psyches communicate with us in many odd languages. Shit doesn’t just happen.