The great enemy within…

Steven PressfieldOne can’t write a blog on searching for meaning and purpose in life without writing about the Great Enemy Within: Resistance.

A killer of creativity, dreams, and passion, resistance stops us in our tracks and sends us back in to the safety of habits, patterns, and comfort zones – where nothing grows. 

One of the best books, that I have read, that deals with resistance is Steven Pressfield’s book, the War of Art (2002). Pressfield writes:

“Every sun casts a shadow, and the genius’s shadow is Resistance. As powerful as is our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it.”

Yes, resistance is my shadow, your shadow, and our collective shadow.

For me, the “sun” is the search for meaning and purpose, so it makes sense that the “shadow” of my resistance hits me in this place. This is how it plays out. I start off with an idea – I feel it, work out why it feels right, and then make a plan to see it through. Ever so slowly and subtly, I get distracted, usually by everyday life.

When I attempt to return to my goal, I hear voice inside say, “what’s the point”, which actually means, “there is no point; Life is meaningless, so give up.”

© W. R. Cochran; Flickr
© W. R. Cochran; Flickr

The last time I got into this existential funk was when I was about to start a writing course. I heard those three destructive words and sat in silence for, what seemed, a long time.

Then, for the first time, I heard another voice inside. It was a quiet, gentle voice that said, “Deb, Life is a mystery – you never know what is going to happen.” Those words were like a lifeline out of the shadows and back into the sun.

Where these words came from, I don’t know. What I do know is that, straightaway, I signed up for my course and have not looked back.

My resistance thinks it is some sort of authority on Life.

I suppose it is there to try to keep me safe, but safe from what – my own creativity? In a previous post, I wrote about the many clients I have seen who struggle with safety (resistance) versus creativity. More often than not, this is a painful battle.

Sometimes won.

Sometimes lost.

Steven Pressfield suggests that, to battle through resistance, we need to act like a “pro” – someone who gets up every day and gets down to work whether we feel like it, or not. Do not give in to the inner critic, or the easy way out.

Life-is-a-mystery-DC quoteWhat I believe is that, behind my resistance, there is a ground of truth where my soul’s purpose flows easily. It is a gentle and kind place where that quiet voice lives, and my creativity is born.

I know the power of my resistance is always ready to jump in and add its 2 cents worth, but now I can remember those words, step into the mystery of Life and see where it takes me.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *