Posted by: Suzan | December 20, 2018

How to Resist Resistance


child embraces creativity

Summary: According to U.S. News and World Report (December, 2015), we abandon 80% of our New Year’s Resolutions by February. What has so many of us discard our goals/intentions so early on? I believe one of the primary reasons this occurs is due to our resistance, a feeling of fear/paralysis which we cave into and allow to win. I wrote the following article to help you move gracefully through any resistance with your creative endeavors. May you learn to resist resistance and rediscover creative play!



 Do you long to write? Paint? Start a new business? What is it for you?

 What’s stopping you?

According to Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art, Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles the big red sign is resistance. It often distracts us from our creative work. Social media or television show obsessions; over-indulging in food or drink; or compulsive shopping are some ways we may avoid creative endeavors. What is it for you?

Resistance is natural. We all share this. Some of us feel our fear and do the creative activity anyway, determined to fight back. Others allow resistance to win, at an enormous cost−our aliveness and joy. Pressfield underscores that we need to pay attention to our resistance and allow it to be our North Star. When it feels as strong as a rip tide current, be mindful. In the midst of this fury is what we’re being called to do for our soul’s evolution. “So if you’re paralyzed with fear, that’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”

Many of us get stuck waiting for the perfect idea(s). We expect inspiration to find us before we sit at our desk or in front of an easel. The truth is the muse, the higher part of ourselves, simply needs us to get started. She asks us only to show up, trust the process, and allow it to unfold.

Resistance feeds on fear. We may believe our creative project won’t be good enough; our families/friends may desert us if we become successful; and/or we’ll be embarrassed when the critics blast their horns. It’s this fear we conjure up that stops us. It may become justification for not beginning our creative project – or not finishing it.

Years ago while writing a novel I joined a weekly writing critique group. Although I knew this group wasn’t right for me; I persevered. Many people in the group were much farther along and I didn’t want to leave these “mentors.”

The critiques were harsh. Over time my sensitive soul barricaded itself with walls of thick resistance. Eventually I walked away from the group and to my own detriment-my writing. It took me years to finally write again. Joining a writing support group where the writers encourage one another to resist resistance helped me reclaim this essential part of my being.

Want to resist your resistance and rediscover creative play? Pressfield suggests the following:

  • Show up for the page, the canvas, your business plan or whatever your project is. Listen for whatever is calling the loudest (in the form of the most resistance). Arrive without expectations–simply begin. Be bold enough to engage in what clearly wants your attention.
  • Sit through the resistance and know it will reappear. Be prepared. It’s like climbing a steep hill at times. One foot after the other is all you need to remember when the going seems rough.
  • Keep a healthy distance from your creative work. Don’t over identify with your success or failure as you’re likely to experience both.
  • Keep your sense of humor. Do not take yourself and your creative endeavor too seriously.
  • Earn money for your work (or not if it sings to your soul and that’s enough) yet let your motivation be love. May your artistry (whatever this is for you) be your gift to the world.

May the words of Wolfgang von Goethe inspire you to show up for your creative muse!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


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