Faith seeking understanding, my personal journey towards a deeper knowledge of and intimacy with God, the cosmos, humanity and myself through thoughts, words and (occasionally) images, is a series of [hopefully] daily reflections I’m writing with the purpose of publishing something on a regular basis for others to read, either here, at joncarllewis.com or among my writings at Medium.com.
I am mindful that I am battling resistance today. This is nothing unusual; I battle resistance every day. And for the past eight days, at least, I have written a reflection despite facing the lies that I have nothing to say, that what I have to say is stupid, that if I do a little more research, I’ll have better things to say, and the like. So, I’m going to beat resistance in what seems like a clever way (at least for me) and overcome my resistance to write by writing about my resistance to write.
Or, writing about resistance in general. Last week, I made my seasonal literary pilgrimage to the shrine of Stephen Pressfield where I listened (for the fifth? Sixth? time) to an audio recording of The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, read in a no-nonsense, gravelly voice by George Guidall. I heartily recommend it and I find I need to return to it periodically to get a literary kick in the pants.
Pressfield writes about a force he calls “resistance.” He personifies it and maintains that it is a universal foe for anyone trying to create art… or do anything worthwhile or ambitious, for that matter. Pressfield states that the only way to deal with resistance, to “beat” it, even, is to acknowledge it, stare it in the face and create anyway.
This sounds like horrible advice to some people (I was quite shocked by the number of reviewers on Amazon who didn’t absolutely love this work) but it seems to work for me. I take comfort in the fact that someone has given a name to that feeling in my body (or that assortment of feelings in my body and thoughts in my head) that pops up each and every time I find the time and the space and determine to write or commit some other creative or worthwhile act. Mostly I experience fear, sleepiness, a sense of unworthiness, a sense of dread (is that the same as fear?), and a strong compulsion to find something to do other than write or create.
Today, I must have checked my email a dozen times, hoping each time that I would find in my mailbox some excuse to go off and read an article or two, or respond to some correspondence. Luckily, I wasn’t home, or I would have listened to any number of podcasts and watched any number of YouTube videos! And I indulged myself. All day. In the free time in which I could have been writing I read a lot of articles—valuable articles to have read, I must admit. I commented on a number of them quite eloquently. And sagely nodded my head at the truth of others where I could think of nothing to say to make myself look erudite and wise.
But the day is coming to a close, and I have determined to beat that old devil resistance by not only acknowledging it but turning my struggle with it into the very thing it didn’t want me to accomplish.
And that, dear reader, is this essay.
Thank you for your time and attention.
I’d love to know your thoughts on what you’ve read.
Please comment, below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God richly bless you on your journey.