blocked? light a candle

in the weeds. like many in venice, I’m working on something that I hope to share with the world. I’m writing. at the moment I’m writing my dissertation, my first book.

this isn’t the enjoyable journal writing or sexy article writing kind. it’s the stand up throw down 450 page academic argument kind. balls to the wall. I’m facing down the last few weeks before the grand deadline, pounding away, oscillating between comfort and panic. every time I clear a hurdle or cross a milestone, I’m like fuck yeah I’ve got this. and then I look out over the ocean of crap I still have left to do and am clutched for a second by paralyzing fear of failure – imagining my family flying in for graduation after six years of work, only to find out I couldn’t get my work done in time or it wasn’t good enough.

but I’ve found something to help me, something I want to share with the community. the other day when I sat down to write, cursing the fact that I was inside with the computer on the first most glorious weekend of spring, I did something different. I looked up goddesses of writing and found Saraswati – Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. I lit a candle to her. and I asked and invited all the sages, gods and goddesses, angels, and anyone else who wanted to join me to help me with my work that day. and I set the intention to be productive, creative, and inspired that day. it changed everything.

it changed my connection to my work, and I felt gratitude for the time and the ability to do what I’m doing instead of feeling stuck and working against a terrifying deadline. the words came. an analytical framework that I’ve been searching for came. the next day I did the same thing. things came through so hard and fast I could only go a few hours at a time before I had to stop and remember that breathing is also important.

I’ve always enjoyed my work and felt gratitude for it most of the time. but it’s when I feel like my back is up against the wall like this that I tend to lose perspective and revert to fear and stress.  now I feel like I found a key the other side, and all I had to do was ask. now panic resets to gratitude. for all the knowledge that’s been passed to me. for all the voices and the lives of the people who wrote the books and told the stories that inform my work. for all the musicians who made the music that carries me through my work, and all of their sages, ancestors, and angels.

I realize many people do a little ritual like this before starting their work. I’m probably late to the party. but for anyone out there who hasn’t tried it, it’s not really a secret but it’s definitely worth sharing. honor your work as creative work and let the angels help you bring it into the world. and remember to thank them at the end of the day.



  1. Nicole Landers

    Thank you, this is an amazing reminder.

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