The Resistance Fight
The creative process beckons us beyond our comfort zone
2018 summoned me to step beyond the edges of my comfort zone, tracking me down when I tried to run away from my soul’s purpose, continually rerouting me so that instead I would run towards it. But as Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, “The more important a call of action is to our soul’s purpose, the more resistance we will feel towards it.” Resistance and writing go together like peanut butter and jelly. You really can’t have one without the other. But I was surprised to learn that the resistance to having completed a project is equally strong.
A few weeks ago, just as I was walking out the door to work, a cardboard sleeve arrived in the mail. As Nick began to open it I froze. So much of my heart was stuffed in that little cardboard sleeve. He pulled it out slowly and I stopped breathing, as if witnessing the impossibility of an ostrich soaring into flight. But before the blue cover fully emerged I heard a shriek in the kitchen. Cassidy had opened a jar of Chinese herbs and poured the whole thing onto the floor. Relief washed over me. I could focus on something familiar, cleaning up a spill, being a mom. This, I know. Being an author, someone who isn’t just writing a book, but has actually written a book, is something I don’t yet know how to do, someone I don’t yet know how to be.
Publishing a book forces you to give away what is inside of you in a way that you can’t control. This book lived inside of me for so long, it felt like one of my organs. But in truth it was more like a baby- one, like my own children, that I’d been dreaming into being for several years, who was conceived inside of me and eventually had to make its way into the world to become its own self.
Quickly I swept up the herbs, kissed my loves goodbye, grabbed the cardboard sheath and raced off to work, telling myself I was too busy to think about it. Yet in driving my usual route something from the book crept into my mind, a quote from Marianne Williamson, who writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” Have you ever felt this way? For me it’s easier to miss the mark and be a good loser than to hit the mark and be a good winner. Long ago I quietly linked winning with greed and selfishness. “Let someone else be the winner,” I told myself. “They need it more than I do.”
But Williamson was onto me. She goes on to say, “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually,” she answers, “who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.” Little league, checkers and the race for student council president taught us that one person’s success equates with someone else’s failure. But what if we are actually playing a bigger game? One in which we all get to shine, as she says, like children do. “And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same.”
I kept driving and did what you do in these moments. I called my mom. When she answered I said softly, “I did it Mom. I actually did it. I wrote a book that people are going to read.” We both started crying. “I knew you could do it,” she whispered through her tears. As she said this I saw that shining my light gave my mother permission to do the same. Against many odds, including being told she didn’t have a light to show the world, she raised a daughter who has become an author. She deserved to be celebrated too. So we rejoiced together, laughing and crying all the way through the Holland Tunnel.
As we move into the New Year it feels important to note that while celebration is wonderful, the creative process is a continual one. We will continually feel a stirring to create something followed by an equal amount of resistance against it. Whether we follow the resistance or the calling is up to us. I’ve done both. One is not easier than the other, but I can say that feeding the beast of your calling is much more fulfilling than feeding the beast of your resistance. I’ve listened to a lot of Oprah Super Soul Conversations to help me through the creative process and here is what I know for sure:
- We are all brilliant creators who have been given exquisite gifts that we have come here to delight in and share with the world.
- We will all experience resistance to sharing these gifts in direct proportion to how important they are to us.
- As we step into ownership of our gifts we not only give those gifts to the world in the form of our music, our art, our products and services, our skills, our tenderness and our athletic ability. We give others permission to recognize and step into ownership of their gifts as well.
Some of you have already met, Total Transformation. Thank you for the support and wonderful feedback, for recognizing this as my new baby, ignoring her wrinkly redness and only commenting on her beauty and sweetness. For those of you who have not, she is available on Balboa Press or Amazon.
This year is full of exciting opportunities to experience the teachings and practices from the book in New York and beyond. I am also available for private healing sessions at Medicine Space in Union Square or by phone. I do hope you will join me on the journey of fulfilling my own purpose, which is to support and guide you on the journey of fulfilling yours.