I was experiencing a phenomenon I’ve come to call ‘Resistance.’ Steven Pressfield describes this concept in depth in his book, ‘The War of Art.’ It’s a must-read if you want to improve your life in any form.
We experience resistance when we try to do anything that moves us from a lower plane of existence to a higher plane. Have you ever found yourself eating chocolate cake on day three of your diet? Have you been gung-ho about a resolution for the New Year only to be back in your old habits by February? Started any kind of creative project and had a tough time moving forward?
If so, you’ve met your own Resistance.
Resistance is a tricky character and manifests itself in various ways. Procrastination is one of Resistance’s favorite tactics. Self-doubt, comparing yourself to others, and apathy are also tools in Resistance’s arsenal. Because Resistance is so shady, I associate it with the Devil card from the Tarot.
Despite this association, it’s important to remember that Resistance is not an ‘evil’ force. Resistance is simply a force within us that wants to maintain the status quo. Resistance likes things how they are. Resistance wants you to remain complacent.
It’s helpful to think of Resistance as a force. This makes it into something tangible, something we can begin to understand. I was dealing with my own Resistance for years before I had the terminology to articulate my experience. I mistakenly thought I was lazy. I felt guilty. I thought I didn’t want things bad enough.
None of this was true. I was just facing massive Resistance.
In fact, feeling guilty and berating yourself only makes things worse. Resistance feeds on this kind of drama.
Here’s the bad news: Resistance doesn’t magically go away. Every time I sit down to work on my novel or create content for Happy Fish Tarot, I must face my own Resistance. Steven Pressfield says that the more important a project is to our evolution, the stronger Resistance we will experience.
Here’s the good news: you can still do great things despite the presence of Resistance. The first step is simply having a name for your experience. This lets you stop thinking there is something wrong with you. When you’re tempted to stray from your path, procrastinate, or give up, you can now think to yourself:
This is Resistance.
It isn’t as scary when it has a name.
What can we do about Resistance? Here’s the number one, super-uber-Resistance-facing-strategy: just keep going. It’s going to take all the strength you can muster. Sometimes it will feel like you’re dragging yourself through the mud. That’s okay. That’s normal. Sit down and do your work. As they say, feel the fear and do it anyway.
Here’s some even better news. We all have access to forces that are the opposite of Resistance, and just as strong. Steven Pressfield refers to these as angels and muses. You can use whatever language you’re comfortable with.
These are the forces that want to foster your creativity. They want to lift you up. Whisper ideas into your ears. Guide you towards what you need. They want to fuel you in moving to a higher plane of existence.
Resistance may see unsurmountable, but it never is. Call in your guides. Assemble your angels. If that seems too ‘out there’, draw upon your higher nature or your inner genius. I’ve taken on the Star card as the representation of my Inspiration, and I like to keep this card propped up next to me as I write. I ask the Star to give me the light to continue on despite whatever tricks Resistance tries to throw at me.
Don’t underestimate the power of your muses. They can kick Resistance’s ass.
click to tweet this
This is barely scraping the surface of my thoughts on Resistance. It’s a hairy, nuanced topic. I’ll be discussing this more in the future.
Until then, go forth to the battlefield and walk with your muses.
Like what you see here? Sign up for email updates & tarot musings.