We have recently been reading the book “The WAR of ART: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles“ by Steven Pressfield. We have heard a range of reactions to this book but what spoke to us the most was his exploration of “resistance,” and why most of us struggle to bring our most cherished gifts to life.
Pressfield describes the power of resistance to derail our efforts and the increasing power resistance commands when those efforts are especially meaningful to us. As coaches and consultants, we see resistance all the time in our lives and in the lives of our clients. Think about resistance in your own life and how often you are wrangling it. For example, you might be quite clear on Sunday that you are going to get up each morning and exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and get to work 30 minutes early and then the following Sunday notice you completely failed to do it even once; or you might get passionate about a project at work, feeling confident you have the skills, competence and team to make it happen and then have one activity fall flat and find yourself giving up on it; or you might recognize a passion you have for art, cycling, mentoring teens, playing music . . . you name it . . . and then months later recognize that you’ve done nothing to get more of that passion into your life. Each of these examples is an example of resistance in action.
Often, when we are called to do something, resistance interrupts our forward movement by telling us it’s selfish of us to do this, or to follow that, or to learn something new . . . resistance keeps us small and wound tightly.
We invite you to spend some time this week thinking about the ways that resistance can impede your passion, your health, your purpose and vision. Next, we would like you to write down the answers to these three questions and see if your answers help to move you around your resistance and closer to your gifts:
- What are you feeling called to do this week that nurtures your soul, body, and/or passion?
- What are the negative ripples caused by not doing it?
- How is following your calling a gift to the world?
Here is an example of one woman’s answers to these questions:
1. What are you feeling called to do this week that nurtures your soul, body, and/or passion?
I am called to spend some time alone in quiet reflection each day this week in order to nourish my soul and allow me to get back to my center after a few weeks of rushing around and tending to other people’s needs.
2. What are the negative ripples caused by not doing it?
It’s hard to think of the negative ripples. It just feels selfish and wrong to take time away from my partner and children for silence and reflection. Yet, when I think more about this I realize that when I don’t take care of myself and attend to my need for silence and reflection I get irritable, make decisions without thinking, feel pissy about work, don’t believe I have anything to offer, and start to blame others for my feeling overwhelmed and spent. (Hmmmm, I guess there are negative ripples.)
3. How is following your calling a gift to the world?
When I have nourished my soul and my body I have more to give and I feel more generous. I know my face and energy are more open and inviting when others approach me. And, when I take time to be silent and reflect, it’s amazing the number of solutions I come up with for my home, work and family. I need to remember this!
Resistance is a part of the human condition. Pressfield’s work helps us explore the many, many forms it takes as we move forward on what speaks to us and calls us to be better. Nourishing your soul, your body and your mind is a gift to all of us.