The Gift Of Resistance
I must be honest with you and say that I regularly feel resistance to being creative.
Recently, for example, I felt it big time when I’d signed up to the art courses I did in July this year (see A Month Of Learning Through Play). It was the night before one of the courses started and part of me was saying “Who are you to take time off and play? This won’t make you any money!”
Aha, but that is not the point. And who is to say that it won’t? Maybe it will. Maybe this is an investment in myself, in my future and in my results – the results I want to see in my life and in my business. Maybe it’s possible that this will help me grow as an artist, as a person and as a business owner.
Maybe this is all about living your bliss – what makes you come alive.
Who ever said we need to suffer for our art, our work, our money?
Who ever said we have to work 9 till 5 to make a living?
Who ever said we can’t enjoy creating and living our lives?
When the resistance popped up I acknowledged it. I said hello to it. I am no longer being surprised by resistance, though occasionally it may take me a little while to identify what is going on. It turns up whenever I have a creative idea, a creative project I want to work on, a creative dream I want to make happen. And especially when I take steps to making those ideas happen!
So what do you do about it? Well, I have been reading about how other people deal with it and I’ve been applying some of these learnings. One thing that is working for me is to acknowledge it’s there. To accept it. And then to continue with what I am doing, even if I don’t feel like it (aka feeling resistance), but taking one baby step at a time.
Because resistance wants you to quit. It doesn’t want you to push the boundaries, to be out of your comfort zone, to not know what is going to happen. It doesn’t want you to do the work. So it will do its best to stop you.
Keep going and don’t judge it. Just see it and accept it, then keep going anyway. Easy does it as Julia Cameron (one of my favourite authors) says. Though, it may not feel easy. I often feel discomfort, but I keep on going somehow. Yes, it’s an emotional rollercoaster.
I continued to feel resistance on the first day of the art course I mentioned above. It wasn’t what I was expecting from the course. I’d had an idea in my mind about what was going to happen but it wasn’t unfolding in that way (control issues, anyone?!). So resistance said “Ha, told you so! You shouldn’t be here. This isn’t what you wanted.”
But I persevered through that first day. I kept going. I kept painting, drawing and making marks. And as I kept moving my arm and making those marks, I noticed something. I noticed a softening of that inner voice. I noticed how it started to speak less and less. And then…silence. The voice of resistance disappeared and the voice of joy remained. “This is fun”, that voice said.
“I am doing what I love to do.”
I continued the rest of the week in that spirit, in that frame of mind. I opened my heart and embraced the moment, in each moment. It didn’t matter that what I was doing was different to what I’d imagined. I felt alive.
I had come alive.
So make resistance your friend, too. Shift your perspective and realise that resistance is a gift.
It’s showing you something.
It’s showing you what you really want to do, who you want to be, what you want to have in your life.
It’s showing you your dream(s).
Resistance is your compass. Learn to see it as your inner guidance pointing you in a direction it wants you to go – and recognise that when resistance pops up it’s just that part of you that is scared to go that way.
Love that part anyway. That’s all it wants from you.
And then go in the direction of your dreams by taking those daily small steps to soften and soothe that resistance.
What would you love to be/do/have, and yet you’re holding yourself back from being/doing/having it? Could you be experiencing resistance? Is it showing you your heart’s desire?
What small thing could you do to start softening the voice of resistance? Feel free to share in the comments below.
If you’d like to read some more about resistance, then I highly recommend “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield. It opened my eyes and I felt I was no longer alone in feeling resistance. And that it comes with the creative territory! Also, some of Julia Cameron’s books, such as “The Artist’s Way”, “Walking In This World”, “The Vein of Gold” and “The Sound of Paper”.