Some refer to this as a "block" , a kind of paralysis , the antithesis of creativity. But... I kind of agree with Steven Pressfield who describes this as resistance ( with a capital R in The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win your Creative Battles, 2012) , and suggests that creativity , innovation and Resistance come from the same place. He suggests that most of us have two lives: "the life we live and the unlived life within us"( pp. 4) and that in between the two is Resistance.
He describes Resistance as something that:
"..cannot be seen, touched, heard or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It's a repelling force. It's negative. Its aim is to shove us away ,distract us , prevent us from doing our work"( pp.7)
He also emphasises that Resistance is not something that arises from the outside, from circumstance, environment , or relationships, but it is purely from within. Resistance is "self-generated and self-perpetuated" ( pp . 8)
I know this to be true. When it rises to the surface and entangles itself around my thoughts, Resistance tells me that I can't succeed or proceed because -" I am not good enough at what I do" ... "my studio space is too small"... " I should be spending my time on work that earns money instead" ..."I don't have the right to waste time on this" ..."it's inconvient to have to move from one space to another to finish that work and it intrudes on normal living in the rest of the house"..." it's pointless because others don't see this as a real job or work"..."someone is doing all this better than me anyway"..." I should be doing something else"..." artists are not respected by society"...blah blah blah blah...the lies are seductive and unrelenting!
Resistance is , as Steven Pressfield says..." full of shit!"
For me, the antidote to Resistance , is persistence, or faith, if you like. Somewhere tangled in all that bullshit is a truth that is mine alone: the truth of me; and of being true to myself, even to my fears. Elizabeth Gilbert, in Big Magic (2015), reminds us that "fear will always show up when we are being inventive or innovative"( pp.23) Creativity dances with the unknown, and the uncertain, and fear is an integral part of that process. Resistance feeds on fear, but so does creativity. For me the challenge is to find the rhythm of persistence when fear asks me to dance. And when Resistance cuts in and whispers his sweet lies in my ears, I need to remember that my dance card is fully booked up with the truth of me!
Gilbert, E. (2015). Big magic.Bloomsbury Publishing, New York.
Pressfield, S. (2012). The war of art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. New York: Black Irish Entertainment.
About this blog
many roads... ...on the journey words follow me, push me forward, and sometimes, overtake me.