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Fighting the Process

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I don’t consider myself to be a “fighter.”

In fact, I think I probably lean more toward the other end of the spectrum. A pacifist? Well… pretty close, I guess…

But I lately I’ve been fighting a lot! (I just haven’t been fighting for a good cause…)

What am I fighting? THE PROCESS!

For example: Last night, I sat down to work on a writing project that I’m involved with. I had plenty of paper, a good pen, a smooth writing surface, good lighting… All of the components were there to make a successful writing environment. I even had an idea of what I wanted to say!

But as soon as I put my pen to the paper, it seemed like everything SOURED. The idea suddenly seemed ridiculous and impossible to work with. My back started to hurt. The pen wasn’t “just right.” My hand cramped.

I hit a wall. Hard.

And instead of pushing forward and trusting that I might actually work through the momentary block–and I’m ashamed to admit this!– I stopped and put my pen down. The writing session was over as quickly as it had started.

Here’s another one: I sat down to study a new song today. It’s always fun to learn new music and I was looking forward to an enjoyable afternoon.


Shortly after I started playing it, I realized I had music in a “less than sing-able key” for me. It wasn’t sounding good. I needed to transpose it.

“No worries,” I said to myself. “This isn’t a complicated song–it only has a few chords. This should be easy.”

And then… I hit a wall. Hard.

After playing through the song in a whole slew of different keys, I realized that “my key” used chords that aren’t familiar to me. Getting my fingers to make the correct shape and press on the correct strings of the ʻukulele was a challenge.

The rational side of me knows that a simple choice needs to be made. I could sing the song in a less “sing-able” key with simple/familiar chords. Or I could learn the chords that would allow me to sing it in the key that best suited my voice.

Instead of doing either of those–and I’m ashamed to admit this!–I put my ʻukulele down. Song study ended abruptly.

I fought the process. And I lost.

When I realized what I was doing, I was shocked!

Am I really that much of a wimp? Is that really my nature: to STOP working when the going gets tough? Auē!

I study the PROCESS of how to do things all the time. I love reading about that kind of stuff! AndI’ve always thought of myself as one can stick with something–or someone–all the way to the end of the road.

Thankfully, I realized that my behavior was ridiculous.


There were simple steps that needs to be followed–and success would be waiting for me if only I would trust the process and push on!

The piece I was writing needed to go through a cycle in order for me to find out where I was going. The chords that were necessary for me to play the song in “my key” are not IMPOSSIBLE. Just a bit more challenging. I could absolutely learn them if I took a moment to figure ‘em out.

Sometimes you have to be a bit “messy” before you can shine.

I was looking for the end result–and I wanted it instantly. Instead of trusting the process to get from Point A to Point B, I wanted the results immediately.

And that’s just silly.

My wake-up call for the day: Trust the process. That’s how I’m going to get stuff done.

Right on.

8 Responses to “Fighting the Process”

  1. rahree says:

    amen, my friend. meeeeee too.

    cheers to getting messy!

  2. Ellen says:

    Hi jason – thanks so much.

    Boy, did I need to hear this today! So many work projects going on right now and the “process” circuits got jammed totally yesterday.

    When I can see that happen and say “hello, there’s that resistance” it really helps. Relax around it, but don’t abandon due to discomfort with the process.

    I think that might be like tuning in the right key: not too tight, not too loose.

    And not too cold, like it is in NYC right now!

  3. NoHo says:

    Messy. EXACTLY! Messy is the best description ever – like making mudpies, or regular pies. Like making soap or a skirt. Somehow we all got it wrong in our heads, that messy=sloppy=worthless=dumb or impossible. We couldn’t be wronger. Messy=progress=process=(possible)product! And the lessons learned along the way are what make us grow and *able to process*!
    Thank you, Crooner.
    Have a messy day.

  4. Min says:

    Hay brother,

    Mahalo for sharing this !!
    I was really feeling your frustration while reading this.

    Try not to be so hard on yourself…aue, so hard I know I know. And so easier said than done.
    When I’m having an anxiety attack, I realize that sometimes there are things that I can control, and things that I cannot.
    And if I cannot control it – I surrender and let it go.
    I leave it up to the universe. Hopefully it works itself out.

    Gee, I had a thought and I started to run with it…lemme stop here.

    You’re the best Jason !!


  5. The messiness of life. Like mud (some call it messy) out of which beautiful kalo grows. Sometimes we just need to be gentle with ourselves. That is a bigtime trust of the process, wouldn’t you say?

  6. Sistah Kinolau says:

    There have been times when I’ve had a “block” in a project and took a break for an hour or so on another task. I found that really helpful because I was refreshed and had another creative surge to completion.

    I’ve also discovered that sometimes the “block” is really guidance – part of the creative process guiding me into another direction. Someday I’ll share my talk-story of a lei making assignment I received from my former kahu, and nothing was going right. Too long to share here.

    But everyone’s “process” is different. Learning to recognize what our own signals mean is key.

    Love ya, bruddah!!


  7. Karen Guerra says:

    Ah, Perfectionism tells us if isn’t instantly perfect , abandon it! Perfectionism also limits us and keeps us within rigid boundaries. (Don’t color outside the lines).

    When I taught sewing, and students would struggle with a technique , I would tell them, “The first time Michaelangelo picked up a paintbrush,he didn’t paint the Sistine Chapel!”

    Something I need to tell myself of often.

  8. Jason Poole says:

    Aloha gang!

    Iʻm so thankful that you took the time to reply. You all are awesome. Mahalo for reminding me that perfectionism is a silly goal–we can only be what we can be. And MESSY is a good thing as we work toward a “beautiful” finish!

    I love watching documentaries that show painters at work. I love seeing how they go back and REWORK and REWORK and REWORK the piece. To the untrained eye (like mine!) it seems like they paint effortlessly. Behind the scenes, I see that itʻs quite a different story.

    And isnʻt that the beauty of creating art?

    Iʻm gonna go and sit and take a few conscious breaths. And then Iʻll get back into the mess. Right on!