I’m reading Steven Pressfield’s excellent book, “The War of Art.” If you have any desire to pursue your art, run towards this book with open arms. So far, it’s amazing, validating, and oh so frustrating. Pressfield points out all the hidden places we run to keep ourselves from working on our art/craft. I’ve winced more than once, when his words have illustrated how well and how often I avoid my art. And then I wondered if spending time reading the book is just another avoidance technique. It’s a head trip.
In the book, Pressfield spends a great deal of time on, “Resistance.” He defines Resistance as any activity, thought process, or even relationship that keeps us from following our soul’s true calling. In other words, if you are following your calling and heeding your muse (whatever she might be inspiring you to do), you likely have first battled Resistance. And here’s the kicker. The closer you get to your soul’s true calling the greater amount of resistance you will face.
So, if you want a terrific test to determine your true path, see which one you are resisting most strongly. That’s the one that you need to follow. Like Odysseus, you will find yourself faced with the sirens of procrastination, lethargy, and even sex (on occasion). You will need to slash your way through them all in order to get past Resistance and get to your true path, your art.
And once you’ve gotten on the path, you will need to engage in daily battles to remain on it. Resistance doesn’t abate just because you stake your claim. It comes back again and again in insidious ways every, single day. So, we must be vigilant. We must stride past it time after time.
Whew, just thinking about that tuckers me out.
And yet, this is crucial, because I keep coming back to the thought that if I don’t write the books I have inside me, who will? If I don’t bring my particular brand of science education via storytelling to students, no one will do it for me. And I acknowledge that other people can write books and teach kids about the Earth and endangered species, and how to speak their truth with their authentic voices. But, I must believe that my perspective is one that is worth sharing in order to make this work. Therefore, I must create the work because my ideas and thoughts on these subjects are worthwhile. And, I just giggled like a maniac because I realized the amount of confidence in your perspective this takes. And it is terrifying.
Here is the truism about art that no one told me. We must have confidence that our art/craft/product is worth sharing. You must believe that what you will bring will have intrinsic worth. And if you do, then, you can’t not share it.
So, the next step? We must move beyond the terror and into the realm of confidence. Because if you don’t share your art, your voice, no one else will do it for you. Tomorrow: Moving Beyond Terror.
Sending you all my love.