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Darling, the party has moved! After 10+ years and so many breath-taking adventures, I've laid down my crown and picked up...the Savor & Serve Experiment. Come see what it is.

Are You Paralyzed or Incubating?

How do you discern the difference between incubation (listening for what wants to come next) and paralyzation (over thinking anyone)?

Step one: don’t think there is ONE answer to this question or that you can know FOR SURE what the best perfect thing to do is.

Wanting that is a sure sign of being paralyzed. So remind yourself there isn’t ONE answer but it’s so adorable of you to want one. I do, too.

But waiting or hoping for one is victimhood in designer clothing. Not a good use of your energy.

Looking for the answer for whether you do something means forgetting that good questions are an invitation to grace. You want grace, right? (yes, you do)

Here’s a couple more inquiries – inquires, not questions to find the right answers to.

Are you proceeding at the pace of guidance, as my mentor Christina Baldwin says or are you hiding in the basement of your heart, hoping against hope the call to do your thing doesn’t get any louder? (Quick, put your fingers in your ears and starting humming really loud.)

Proceeding at the pace of guidance feels giddy, edgy, luminous and tenuous. Hiding feels hunched, oppressed, leaden and lonely. Pace of guidance rings the bell of your heart, hiding feeds the growl of your fears.

Are you researching, researching, researching because you have yet to get your mind around your tender new idea – you are calling on and expanding your lineage – or are you constructing a cacophony of factoids so you won’t have to hear yourself?

Good research feds your thing, bring clarity and excitement, gives you shoulders to stand on. Too much research drains the color of your thing, makes you feel bloated and defeated and “who do I think I am?”

Are you fussing over logos and tag lines and website design because you need a beautiful home that can hold the riches you are about to pour forth or are you rearranging the furniture because it feels easier (and safer) then moving in and proclaiming, “I live here!”?

Having a beautiful container is a beautiful thing and it’s never necessary to getting the work started.

Are you listening for the answer to Wayne Muller’s question from his new book, “Am I truly able to say that I really love this?” or are you waiting to be in the mood to take action?

Discerning what you love, what beckons to you, is the crucial act of navigating your life and very different than being in the mood. What you love is the undercurrent of truth you want to swim in, mood is mostly surface turbulence.

What inquiries do you engage in when you’re discerning between feeding your muse and burying her under more, more, more?

I’d love to hear!


It’s an uncertain business, this bringing your ideas into the world. It’s uncertain and so what? Really – what’s so wrong with failure? It hurts but you won’t die. You will still be, at your core, the same miracle of goodness, the same innate, natural perfection. That can’t be hurt, maimed, or changed.

And if this didn’t help read this by @wildheartqueen and this by @rockyourday — you’ll balance the feminine and the masculine and then have a cup of tea, take a nap and then you will really really know what to do which is to ask, “Am I truly able to say that I love this?”

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 michelle marlahan Oct 25, 2010

    this is such a great question – one i often struggle with. those voices and feelings can be so confusing.

    i’ve heard two things that help me discern. first, the voice of fear or ego or stuckness is often LOUD. second, it’s often accompanied with a sense of URGENCY. whereas wisdom is sometimes quieter, softer, and has no sense of time.

    these aren’t always true, but it does give me a starting place.

    and now i can add your suggestions! thank you!

  • 2 Tweets that mention Are You Paralyzed or Incubating? ยป Comfort Queen -- Topsy.com Oct 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jennifer Louden, Jennifer Louden, HiroBoga, chris Zydel, Amy Sey Brown and others. Amy Sey Brown said: Oh boy, I need this. RT @jenlouden Are You Paralyzed or Incubating?: How do you discern the difference? http://goo.gl/fb/EwMMI […]

  • 3 Heather Plett Oct 25, 2010

    Having just spent a few days in the presence of the amazing Christina Baldwin at one of her workshops, this post resonates for me.

    “Too much research drains the color of your thing.” Those are wise words I need to heed.

  • 4 Susan Gallacher-Turner Oct 25, 2010

    I chime in here with…I totally hear you! I have been stuck whirling lately about whether to do this or apply to that…did all the research and then some, and the voice of fear got incredibly loud and urgent. Finally, I realized that it was time to say no to letting fear run my life.

  • 5 Janet Bailey Oct 26, 2010

    Thank you for these extremely helpful distinctions!

    I can easily get caught up in looking for the ONE answer, many times a day. So *that’s* where all the stuckness is coming from! I’m glad to hear it’s adorable, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I especially like the “am I rearranging the furniture rather than moving in and proclaiming ‘I am here'” question.

    Another inquiry that helps, when I remember to ask it: “What would be an easy way?” (I have to remember not to ask what’s THE easy way, or I get caught up in One-Answerdom again)

    And oh! Wayne Muller has a new book! What great news!

  • 6 Elle B Oct 26, 2010

    Thank you for this! I am so guilty of over-thinking and over-researching everything. I know I’ve gone too far when I get brain fog…nothing seems clear, everything is overwhelms.

    What works for me is unplugging and going in a different direction — taking a walk, immersing myself in a good book — then finally, just doing the thing I’ve been avoiding/researching.

  • 7 Ronna Oct 26, 2010

    Dammit, woman! Are you hiding out in my head? Ouch!!!

    And thank you! ‘Needed these words today. They come at the right time – on the heels of others who have spoken to me similarly. Muses, all.

    Incubating. Incubating. Incubating.