There’s something that happens when you start moving in the direction of your dreams. You will experience resistance. It’s not one specific thing you can see or name, it’s mostly a feeling. In The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, resistance is:
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.
In this post, I’ll talk about what triggers resistance and how I’ve experienced it in my own life. My hope is that you’ll start to see it in yours too.
I felt resistance a lot more than usual this past week. With every yoga class I teach, each Instagram post I share, and each project I work on, there’s a little voice in me that wants to shrink back, not share, not open up, not be vulnerable, and not put myself out there. It wants me to stay safe and not create.
Have you felt this too?
What triggers these thoughts and feelings?
The War of Art outlines 11 activities that trigger resistance (in no specific order):
- -The pursuit of any calling in writing, painting, music, film, dance, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
- -The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
- -Any diet or health regimen.
- -Any program of spiritual advancement.
- -Any activity whose aim is tighter abdominals.
- -Any course or program designed to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
- -Education of every kind.
- -Any act of political, moral, or ethical courage, including the decision to change for the better some unworthy pattern of thought or conduct in ourselves.
- -The undertaking of any enterprise or endeavor whose aim is to help others.
- -Any act that entails commitment of the heart. The decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship.
- -The taking of any principled stand in the face of adversity.
In other words, any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.
When I first read this list six months ago, I was floored. It became so clear to me why some days felt like I was pushing a boulder up a hill or swimming upstream in a river. If you’re reading this, I know for sure you are engaging in three, four, or even five of these activities on a daily basis.
Once we are aware of the negative forcefield that prevents us from creating, we can look it in the eye and push through.
What ways do you experience resistance?
Resistance can be overcome. Stay tuned for a future blog post on ways we can break through. Thank you for reading!