Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Saturday Inspiration: Resistance

For today, I am just offering an excerpt that discusses the first obstacle: Resistance.  More about the other two another time, perhaps. Let me know if you enjoyed this and are interested. ~ Beth

Do the Work!
Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way

By Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art
(from Chapter One)

The following is a list of the forces arrayed against us as artists and entrepreneurs:

  1. Resistance (i.e., fear, self-doubt, procrastination, addiction, distraction, timidity, ego and narcissism, self-loathing, perfectionism, etc.)
  2. Rational thought
  3. Friends and family


What exactly is this monster? The following few chapters from The War of Art will bring us up to speed:

Resistance’s Greatest Hits

The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit Resistance:

  • 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 the acquisition of chiseled 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.

Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these acts will elicit Resistance.

Now: what are the characteristics of Resistance?

Resistance Is Invisible

Resistance cannot be seen, heard, touched, or smelled. But it can be felt. We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.

Resistance is a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.

Resistance Is Insidious

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work. It will perjure, fabricate, falsify; seduce, bully, cajole. Resistance is protean. It will assume any form, if that’s what it takes to deceive you.

Resistance will reason with you like a lawyer or jam a nine-millimeter in your face like a stickup man.

Resistance has no conscience. It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.

Resistance Is Impersonal

Resistance is not out to get you personally. It doesn’t know who you are and doesn’t care. Resistance is a force of nature. It acts objectively. Though it feels malevolent, Resistance in fact operates with the indifference of rain and transits the heavens by the same laws as stars. When we marshal our forces to combat Resistance, we must remember this.

Resistance Is Infallible

Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance will unfailingly point to true North—meaning that calling or action it most wants to stop us from doing.

We can use this. We can use it as a compass.

We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or purpose that we must follow before all others.

Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.

Resistance Is Universal

We’re wrong if we think we’re the only ones struggling with Resistance. Everyone who has a body experiences Resistance.

Resistance Never Sleeps

Henry Fonda was still throwing up before each stage performance, even when he was seventy-five. In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

Resistance Plays for Keeps

Resistance’s goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on this earth to give and that no one else has but us. Resistance means business. When we fight it, we are in a war to the death…

. . . . . . .

Resistance can be a gift. It gives necessary traction to the wheels of The Chariot.  May you and I be fierce and inspired by our resistances. ~ B.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • June 30, 2012, 3:29 pm Marie Mello

    Hello, I almost never leave comments, but really should, and when you asked if people were interested I decided it was time. This is an excellent topic and I’d love to hear more. I’m a mental health counselor in adult substance abuse treatment. Many times I can incorporate something from your site into group work and discussions. Recovery is a spiritual journey and this is the type of thing that can help people on their path. Thank you, Marie

  • June 30, 2012, 3:49 pm Beth

    Thank you SO much, Marie, for stepping out of the shadows and sharing. It means so much, and I am grateful that you can find value here as you work to heal the people in your care.

    May that work be richly blessed!

  • June 30, 2012, 8:46 pm Susan Rossi

    I’m very interested in this topic, Beth. It’s so easy to be stopped in my tracks by this being of resistance when I know I should pay no attention! Good choice for a discussion topic!

  • July 1, 2012, 11:29 am Janee

    This book has been recommended to me several times but I’ve always resisted it because of the title “The WAR of Art” because I don’t get why the thought of making art should be equated with war and I’m not comfortable with the image of a warrior artist coming to the easel or desk ready for battle. I think that this may be Pressfield’s way of seeing his process but it’s not the only one.
    Art is the purest form of play, the feeling of flow that you experience while doing art is an ecstatic one and the flow is not accessed through fighting a pitched battle against the forces of resistance, in fact it’s the opposite, Flow is found by falling in love with your process.

  • July 1, 2012, 11:53 am Beth

    I think he meant to be playing around with the classic by Sun Tzu, “The Art of War.” But I totally see your point, Janee!

    Just speaking for myself, it helps me, when the ecstasy isn’t flowing so well, to know a bit about the fears that may be disrupting or blocking my creative process.

    And I do experience them as being very subtle, even tricky sometimes. Great discussion!!
    What do other folks think?

  • July 2, 2012, 1:28 pm Carolyn Cushing

    This was so helpful! I struggled all last week with writing about the Major Arcana as 3 Circles of Wholeness and Healing. I was wondering why I was struggling so I’ve been been working on this topic for a long time and am inspired by it. Why was it so hard to do this finishing off piece? I found some solace and came to some similar conclusions as above. But reading: “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it” was the lighting bolt reminder that I needed to better be with what happened last week! I did get through it because I have a GTC deadline today – deadlines are so helpful! – but reading this today is really helping with the meaning making / personal growth and wholeness work … that was what I was writing about! Thank you so much, Beth!

  • July 2, 2012, 2:06 pm Beth

    ♥ Thank YOU, Carolyn! ♥

  • July 9, 2012, 3:52 pm wendy

    Hi Beth,

    I don’t comment often either, but at least a few times a week (more often daily), my inbox and Spirit are Blessed by something you’ve shared. This particular one was very timely, as I struggle with my own journey to recovery and the resistance within. Thank you for all you do. I sincerely appreciate your thoughtfulness and the inspiration it brings to my days.

    Blessings to you and yours~~<3~