Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Action!: Battling Resistance

It's been a long time since I posted about action. For the past few months, I made very little progress (if any). I was a victim of Resistance.

I set a goal to enter a short script into a screenwriting contest with a January 31 deadline. I referenced the contest a few times in my posts: "Block" Buster: Allow abundance.... "Block" Buster: Involve other imaginations. ... and Action!: First draft. That was the last Action post until now.

I was excited about the story with its unique concept, however, every time I set aside time to write, something interfered. Legitimate somethings, over-riding my writing. I knew Resistance was having a hey-day. As the deadline drew closer, I drew a line in the sand, so to speak, and blocked out my calendar so I could complete the script and obtain the goal. Take that, Resistance.

Then I became very ill. The deadline came and went while I feverishly hacked, barely able to think or function.

Missing that contest sent me into a deep blue funk. Resistance won, and I was tired of fighting the battle. I raised a white flag, and cried, "Uncle." I started searching for a job where Resistance would give me a free ride, because as Stephen Pressfield explains in The War of Art, "Resistance only opposes in one direction... It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.... So if you're in Calcutta working with the Mother Teresa Foundation and you're thinking of bolting to launch a career in telemarketing... relax. Resistance will give you a free pass."

I wanted that pass. A job without Resistance nipping at my heels every day? Sign me up.

As the weeks went by and I struggled with thoughts of defeat, I questioned: If Resistance fights me when I strive towards goals, yet gives a free pass when I let go of the dream, where does Divine Assistance fit? Shouldn't Divine Help counteract Resistance? Shouldn't Divine Assistance give me a boost during the uphill battle, or provide a speed bump to slow my decline?

I felt alone and somewhat miffed in my battle-weary state and decided to have a long talk with God about it. This fight seems pretty one-sided. Can't I have a little help here?

God is a patient Father. He didn't tell me the answer, but told me where to find it. You refer to the War of Art. Why don't you read it again.

Okay. I did. And there I re-learned a horrible truth. Pressfield wrote: "Resistance is internal. ... Even though we think others or situations outside ourselves block us from doing our work, it's actually an inside job. Resistance comes from within."

What?!? Did I cause my own sickness just to resist the contest? I don't think so.

But then I remembered that a few days before the deadline, I actually rallied for a little bit, health-wise. I had thoughts that I should buckle down and do my best under the circumstances to finish the script and submit it. But I didn't even try. I didn't feel like writing. I ignored my writing rule: write no matter what (no matter I write, no matter where I am, no matter how I feel). I didn't cause my sickness, but I didn't take advantage of a window of time when I felt well enough to put my fingers to the keys. Ouch. Painful awareness. Resistance did indeed come from within.

As the cartoon character, Pogo, said, "We have met the enemy and he is us."

I kept reading, and came to the section titled "Combating Resistance," where I was reminded that a major key to fighting Resistance is to write. Do the work. Be committed and consistent.

The next section, titled "Beyond Resistance: Higher Realm" brought answer to my where's-the-Divine-Assistance question. Here are quotes that stood out to me...

"...the most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.

Why is this so important?
Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose."

"Just as Resistance has its seat in hell, so Creation has its home in heaven. And it's not just a witness, but an eager and active ally."

"Angels are like muses. They know stuff we don't. They want to help us. They're on the other side of a pane of glass, shouting to get our attention. But we can't hear them. We're too distracted by our own nonsense.

Ah, but when we begin.
When we make a start. ...
When we make a beginning, we get out of our own way and allow the angels to come in and do their job. They can speak to us now and it makes them happy. It makes God happy. ..."

Perhaps during that short window of wellness, making an attempt to finish the script might have brought a miracle. Maybe Divine Assistance stood nearby, eager to give me a dose of energy and clarity of thought, but I didn't do my part... I didn't try.

It took weeks to recover from the illness and months to recover from my Resistance wounds.

Thankfully, I was guided to read that book again, and reminded that I am not fighting the creative battle alone. There is Heavenly Help ready to give a boost, but I need to show up, be committed, and work... no matter what.

So I turned away from the free pass and re-entered the war of art. I'm writing every day, especially on my screenplay, even when inconvenient. And I've been rewarded with creative ideas... and joy.

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