Willpower: Channel It

The blogger of his times? 

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the Unite...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was reading a bio on Winston Churchill by Roy Jenkins and I couldn’t help but think what a prolific blogger and commentator he would be in our day and age. In 1937 alone, W.C. completed Marlborough, a 4-volume history – just under a million words, as well as worked on History of the English Speaking Peoples and Great Contemporaries. Simultaneously, he published 64 articles in various periodicals such as the Evening Standard, News of the World, Sunday Chronicle, Daily Mail, Colliers (USA), Paris Soir and Dagens Nyheter. All this while ‘bombarding’ ministers of government with long, detailed letters about the impending peril of a world containing Mussolini and Hitler.

Does the following sound familiar..?

We have lost a lot in the last two years by the party strife which belongs to electioneering times. We cannot go like this with two party machines baying at each other in Parliament and grinding away all over the country…We could not afford it for long even if the world were calm and quiet and if we were a self-supporting nation safer and more independent than we ever were before…We shall endanger our very existence if we go on consuming our strength in bitter party or class conflicts. We need a period of several years of solid stable administration by a government not seeking to rub party dogma into everybody else. – Churchill speech extract, 1951



Thoughts on Willpower

In an article, Where’s Your Willpower?, in the February Brit Vogue, Nicola Moulton states that “The thought of willpower as a kind of mental ‘muscle’ that you can exhaust, rest, and then reuse is a major shift for psychologists, who have previously thought of it in the same way as other abstract, amorphous mental facilities like ‘love’ or ‘generosity’ which humans apparently have endless and self-regenerating supplies. ..{this means that we should} only ever focus on one ‘willpower project’ at a time.”

She shares some interesting findings: “According to the latest thinking, willpower as a commodity has never been in shorter supply. One study even concludes that we spend at least one fifth of our waking hours resisting urges – to eat, spend, check Facebook, have a nap.” According to the social scientist Roy F. Baumeister, it’s the onslaught of all the tiny micro-decisions we’re continually making that is causing this unprecedented dearth of self-control…the willpower it takes to get through your day with your job, your health and bank balance intact means that when it comes to achieving… personal goals, there’s precious little left to go round. Crucial to his theory is that there is only a finite amount of will power to go round: ‘You can’t control or even predict the stresses that come into your life, but you can use the calm periods, or at least the peaceful moments to plan an offence. ‘

Overall, I think there is some sense to these points. Furthermore, if willpower is the direct inverse of susceptibility, it indicates that a priority that is genuinely rooted in us makes all the difference in how much ‘muscle mass’ we will need to follow through, right? Once we – or our reaction to circumstances beyond our control – have programmed our minds with specific intention isn’t there some sort of neurological shift for most of us? It’s as though it is no longer an issue of powering up the will. Our mind has DECIDED. Factors, either within ourselves or from without, make such an impact on our basic being that the desire is no longer there.
Ninety-five percent of the time, I don’t find it difficult or tiring to say, ‘no’, to choices that will take me wandering off my path. And I don’t feel I am the least bit deprived, either. But I can spend several months or even years building towards an intention. Some of these have been conscious from the start and some of them have been a bit surprising when they surfaced in my mind.

When you look back over chapters of your life it can be easier to see how lines of shifting mentality were occurring for you. And probably there are also examples of singular moments in time when the shift was ‘forced’ and your mind had to quickly formulate a response and begin to implement that shifting line. As you consider these chapters and your current life, you begin to have an appreciation for the necessity of applying your energy wisely –  for the sake of your Self and for the sake of your relationships.

Living with an understanding of the seasons of the archetypal elements as they progress through their stations has made a tremendous difference in my ability to live well and to respond well to life as it unfolds, no matter how much or little I can foresee. And I mean that in both the seemingly inconsequential details and happenings and the doozies. Energy begins to move in a certain direction, initially on the subconsciously level, and I am ‘in the stream’. Moulton refers to something that she calls The Zone but says that is difficult to stay within –  I think of ‘runner’s high’ as a possible example.

I would say that the source of the willpower, in these two cases, is different: a Pluto vs. Mars orientation. In archetype terms, Mars is the lower octave of Pluto. Pluto represents a spectrum where divine energy can vibrate while Mars represents the spectrum of human power, be it of the mind or muscle. The archetypal key is to hitch your Mars to the Pluto train, so to speak, so that you are not the source but rather the channel. At certain seasons or times in your life, you stand in a position to more easily tap into the channel but at any point in Time you can begin to turn your attention to the concept, start moving and see the effects in a relatively short period.

I think many people begin this concept journey (the majority that will nod their heads reading Moulton’s article) and end up exhausted because they don’t align with Time – they apply a 21st century pace to an issue that cannot possibly work itself out in such a way. The Zone cannot – is not supposed to – be maintained. And the simple reason for this is that the motivation and energy behind The Goal is not divinely – or destiny – inspired. We can say it is about a kind of immediate or superficial gratification and thus it vibrates urgently but narrowly as opposed to steadily, deeply and broadly.

Sine waves of different frequency.

Sine waves of different frequency. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t get me wrong: I am a huge Mars fan. In fact, I am rather Mars incarnate so you can just imagine the lessons I have had to get through my thick head. I know all about The Zone, be it a physical or mental project, and will always be looking for my next High: It’s my nature, my overall approach to life. But wow, has it been tempered on the anvil of Time and Experience.

In my early years, I was encouraged to be a go-getter and that actually worked quite well for me, personally. Type A, assertive, early bird out there getting the worm. But as life became more complex, more striated with difficult layers that all had to somehow co-exist harmoniously, the approach had to change or I would absorb more than necessary – or healthy – amounts of stress. For a looong time, my Mars energy just kept absorbing, no problem. I can be like a Duracell battery. But meanwhile, back at the ranch, concepts were being introduced and even sown. They were what I could describe as pleasant ideas but I didn’t feel I could dwell on them. I could make pit stops but not linger; I had stuff to do concerning my immediately twanging-away Goals. Those pleasant pit stops were, however, The Shifting over the long term of my mentality. They began to stay in my present mind’s eye even while I was Mars in my daily life.  And this eventually created the atmosphere or environment in which my Self went from wishing that I could grasp and channel deeper energy effectively to beginning to do it.

It was no graceful taking over of the controls. (I immediately want to say that I mean ‘letting go of the controls’ but actually it is not one or the other, it is both, equally and simultaneously.) More like fits and starts. In hindsight, I see phases where I was ‘in the stream’ – as opposed to The Zone – for weeks or months or even a year at times but then somehow when I wasn’t looking, I unplugged. That is probably going to happen, hopefully with far less frequency, throughout any human being’s life and I think that’s part of how growth works, too. But gradually, because of the beneficial effects and the expanded purposefulness, I became consciously interested, invested and unplugged less and less. You see, The Stream is like an amazing version of being in The Zone. It is wise Mars. It’s like the difference between speed and velocity.

ACTION Leyland National - dashboard

(Photo credit: ArchivesACT)

Fact: your spiritual orientation, your definition of God/Higher Being or your decision that there isn’t one, is not an ingredient to being ‘in the stream’. What will interest and draw you is inherent in every being and that’s just a plain and simple fact. The stream is for Every One.

Nowadays, I march, run, plod, float or just sit and navel-gaze through all the diverse striations going on in my life’s various sectors. I select where I utilize my mental and physical muscle with ongoing, logical implementation based on a larger vision of my path. And it gets easier all the time if I watch the road signs as I go along. In fact, a rhythm, a synchronicity develops and what one wants begins to line up quite naturally with what is best – often even before one can see why it is best. All things flow, thought and action go where they are needed. By no means am I saying that life becomes problem-free. I am saying that your response to life will become more intelligent, more considered and less panic-ridden.


Action (Photo credit: hausburger)

It’s really very cool but I think it’s so personal and individual that it has to be experienced firsthand. And that takes Time and Patience. Additions or deletions to everyday activities, on-the-spot conversations, odd-at-the-time but excellent purchases, seeming gains or losses, persons entering and/or exiting your orbit are explained or revealed in due course, with greater frequency, and your Mars just hums along ready to march, climb, stand firm, whatever is called for at the moment. I could never have gone off the grid without the Shifting that has occurred over the last decade. And I was only conscious of it – in phases – for the last three years.

Of course, there are times when I get impatient or want something NOW. The other day, instead of waiting for a ladder to arrive, I just climbed up on a chair. I climbed past the seat and up onto the arms. I reached my target chore but as I was unstretching arms and self to come back down, I lost my balance and fell. The left side of my body slammed into a slab of concrete. It hurt a lot but I got over it. That’s my mars for you. Last summer, I surpassed the natural limits of my leg joints hiking up and down some new mountain sides but I was so in The Zone, it didn’t occur to me that hobbling around each following day more and more like a 90 year old in agony was connected to this fabulous experience I was currently into. Duh. And these examples indicate growth, believe it or not. Because they are two of about only half a dozen in the last couple years. Used to be hundreds (getting better at respectful sign reading). And also, even more importantly, growth in the mental arena: how I dealt with myself and others in order to get where I wanted to be. So please keep in mind that this is not pious pontification. Velocity is useful; speed is not.

It’s SO much nicer when you simultaneously let go and yet control via co-creation with Energy. It is literally saturating your world whether you are conscious of it or not and you have the right and the Choice to plug in. And your personal Mars placement is the starting point. If you have even an inkling of an idea of what I am talking about, give it a try. For starters, all it takes is the decision to turn towards the idea, the concept, and look for it in your everyday life. That’s it. The rest will happen in due course. That’s a promise.

Pointers free of charge.

**a couple of timely examples of Pluto energy can be found here and here.