“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance…. We can navigate by Resistance, letting it guide us to that calling or action 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.”[i]
—Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
I am feeling this Resistance right now. It is here for me as I type the words on this page. And it has been building inside of me all summer.
Birthing a book was huge for me. As Brené Brown would say, I think I have been experiencing the “vulnerability hangover” of being seen at a whole new level. The shy, younger parts of myself have been wanting life to just go back to how it was when I was more anonymous.
I’ve been watching myself retreat this summer, cozied up in my sweet island home. I haven’t written an article in weeks. I’ve facilitated only one workshop since June (though I have done many radio interviews). I’ve been in a dance of avoidance with creative projects that I know feel deeply aligned and are wanting to emerge in the world.
I do very much honor the bigness of sending The Vitality Map out into the world after an intense two year creative journey, and how much I have needed lots of spacious, nourishing time to rest and tend to my own self-care in the wake of that. And I also have increasingly been feeling some of my shadowy territory and the kind of Resistance that Steven Pressfield describes at play in myself.
That Resistance for me right now feels like an internal pressure, like my inner guidance system is saying “It’s time! It’s time! It’s time!” And with those nudges, the even bigger clue for me that Resistance is present (versus some other voice inside) is the tenderness and vulnerability I am experiencing in feeling the call to show up in my life in this way. It feels scary as hell, even as it feels deeply true!
And so I’m beginning right now, poking my head out again with this article and saying hello to you, my community. I’m choosing in this moment to open more fully again to the calling of my soul, to let my vulnerability be my guide with each little (or big) step I take.
I can feel in my journey now how Resistance is actually an intimate friend to my shadows. The job of Resistance is to try to get us to not face and embrace our shadows, to turn away from the vulnerability and keep the unconscious hidden.
So in a strange, paradoxical way, our resistance can actually guide us toward the shadow territory we most need to address to free ourselves.
So whether you can relate to this now in regards to your self-care, your work, a creative project, a relationship, or a deep life calling, I’d like to urge you, no matter how daunting or uncomfortable the Resistance may feel, to stay with it. This is truly your pathway to freedom and wholeness.
- Where is Resistance showing up for you these days?
- What might it be pointing you towards?
- What supports can you invite in to gently and lovingly be in direct relationship with the Resistance?
- And what is one small step you can take in the next few days to open through the Resistance to align more fully with your soul’s “Yes!”?
[i] Steven Pressfield. The War of Art. (Black Irish Entertainment LLC, 2011). Kindle Edition, 12.