This is reblogged from my art website at http://www.sfago.com
I know about resistance…exercise for starters. For health reasons, me, who avoided walking like the plague, was told it was the best exercise for my medical situation so I plunged into it. I like purposeful exercise – a game of racquetball, golf, rowing a boat… but walking was what worked so…since I am also determined, I put my earphones on, clicked on one of my audiobooks and started walking. My life and health were at stake. In no time at all, I overcame resistance and now, a couple of years later, I really look forward to a long walk – an hour or so – and miss it when I don’t manage my time. I never would have believed it. Resistance was powerful for the first couple of weeks tho.
Apply this discipline to my art – to finishing a painting. I have seven that are in various stages of “getting there”, most about an hour from completion and have been waiting patiently for almost 2 years. They need final little touches, one or two minor things that bother me. I set them aside and go on to a new one. It’s a definite pattern of mine – and a big old struggle.
I needed to travel earlier this week and was on the road for about 6 hours each way. I really enjoy the time to myself, and part of that enjoyment is listening to my favorite audiobooks. On this trip, I decided on “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I haven’t listened to it in several months – and I need it right now. I’d recommend it to anyone – you don’t need to be an artist. Resistance rears it’s ugly head in many parts of my life and in many forms. Maybe yours too?
As I listened to it – on the way “there” and again on the way home, I heard things I hadn’t heard when I had listened to it a few months earlier. About fear. About not knowing what to do so not doing anything at all. About all of the distractions caused by “resistance”. The message hit home. I’ve spent days, months and years avoiding my art on the premise that I didn’t know where to start, what to do next, or just plain felt blocked. Distractions? Yes, I have experience in that department as well! I can spend hours reading blogs about art, being “inspired” by other artists on Facebook, and yes, even writing my blog, among many other things. I’ve told myself many times that I didn’t have a long enough block of time to bother getting started… that I had cleaning to do…someone would call and invite me to go shopping, get a pedicure…blah blah blah…you know the story.
I am a professional artist. I love painting. It’s good for my soul. It’s my prayer, my relaxation, my expression of love. It’s what I need to do. I would definitely do it no matter what. If I were the last person on earth…yes…I’d still be painting. I can’t help myself. If I don’t paint on my canvas, I’m painting in my mind. I get in bed and can’t quit painting so many times have gotten back up to paint for just a half hour more. Right. Dawn arrives and I had no idea where the time went.
Progress. Something clicked as I was listening to “War of Art”. Somewhere inside, I “got it”. I stepped to a new level of pushing through. No matter how I “feel”, I say a prayer – 0ut loud, as Steven Pressfield does – step up to my easel, pick up my brush and it happens. I’m painting. It really is that simple. Not easy, but simple. Woo Hoo. So far so good! I’ll try to remember this action and if I forget, I hope I remember to read this blog…
Thank you, Steven Pressfield for overcoming your resistance to finishing your book!
I’m doin the grateful dance….