Art Prompt: Resistance

art along experience Jun 01, 2019
If you are floundering, finding better things to do, feeling paralyzed, or even feeling comfortable with your daily progress, today I'm going to ask you to use your resistance as a compass to point you deeper.

What awesome excuses are you currently entertaining about why this whole arting experiment should be scrapped? Is it stupid? A waste of time? Or the higher brow "Ahem, simply not a priority." Is the art itself not progressing quickly, deeply, powerfully enough? Have you already failed to show up so many times in these first two weeks that the remaining 77 days shouldn't even be attempted? What fear is smirking under your totally true rationalizations? And what edge is it unerringly pointing you towards?

Tell yourself the truth.
And make showing up a priority today.

We'll be working with resistance more in a journal exercise below. In preparation is an excerpt from the book "The War of Art: Break through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles" that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this week...despite his decidedly male perspective:

The WAR of ART
Steven Pressfield



Rationalization is Resistance's right hand man. It's job is to keep us from feeling the shame we would feel if we truly faced what cowards we are for not doing our work.
But rationalization has its own sidekick. It's the part of our psyche that actually believes what rationalization tells us.
It's one thing to lie to ourselves. It's another thing to believe it.


Resistance is fear. But resistance is too cunning to show itself naked in this form. Why? Because if Resistance lets us see clearly that our own fear is preventing us from doing our work, we may feel shame at this. And shame may drive us to act in the face of fear.
Resistance doesn't want us to do this. So it brings in Rationalization. Rationalization is Resistance's spin doctor. It's Resistance's way of hiding the Big Stick behind it's back. Instead of showing us our fear (which might shame us and impel us to do our work), Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justifications for why we shouldn't do our work.
What's particularly insidious about the rationalizations that Resistance presents to us is that a lot of them are true. They're legitimate. Our wife may really be in her eighth month of pregnancy; she may in truth need us at home. Our department may really be instituting a changeover that will eat up hours of our time. Indeed it may make sense to put off finishing our dissertation, at least till after the baby's born.
What Resistance leaves out, of course, is that all this means diddly. Tolstoy had thirteen kids and wrote War and Peace. Lance Armstrong had cancer and won the Tour de France three years and counting.

Are you paralyzed with fear? That's a good sign.
Fear is good. Like self doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us there'd be no Resistance.
Have you ever watched Inside the Actor's Studio? The host, James Lipton, invariable asks his guests, What factors make you decide to take a particular role? The actor always answers: "Because I'm afraid of it."
The professional tackles the project that will make him stretch. He takes on the assignment that will bear him into uncharted waters, compel him to explore unconscious parts of himself.
Is he scared? Hell, yes. He's petrified.
(Conversely, the professional turns down roles that he's done before. He's not afraid of them anymore. Why waste his time?)
So if you're paralyzed with fear, it's a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.
If Resistance feels like a character in your experience, whether it is larger than life and has you stopped in your tracks or simply barks in the background all day like the neighbor's Pomeranian, I'd love for you to give Resistance a chance to show you what "calling" it's trying to keep you from! 
Today's collage prompt is one of my favorite styles of quick collage where you create one or more hodgepodgy characters and then ask them for new information. Trust what images show up and let them speak to you.  As always, the journal prompts are totally optional. Asking Resistance for missing information, though, that's totally recommended. 

If you do the prompt, we'd love to see! There's an option upload photos in the comments section below. Or tag @inspiredinquiries on Facebook/Instagram <3


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