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OK, so the title of this post may seem a little like link bait, but stay with me.
I have been a Dr. Who fan for a long time. Generally each season of the show has some kind of overarching storyline. This season a race of beings calling themselves The Silence are introduced. They have a number of disturbing traits, but the back story on them implies they’ve been on Earth for thousands of years and have had a controlling hand in the destiny of mankind. No one has noticed because they have a particularly disturbing ability: they can erase all memory of themselves from a person’s memory once the person looks away from them. How do you fight against something when you can’t even remember it when you’re not looking at it?
Where this thought connected for me in my professional development comes with my completion of Steve Pressfield’s excellent book The War of Art last night.
One of the big points in Pressfield’s work is his identification and definition of what he calls The Resistance. Let me include a quote:
“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius. Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.” – Pressfield, Steven (2010). The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle (Kindle Locations 76-81). FastPencil PREMIERE. Kindle Edition.
What I noticed while I read Steve’s book is that I grew more and more aware of The Resistance in my work and every endeavor I have ever engaged in. But when I put the book away and went onto other things (other reading, talking with people, actually doing the work, sleeping, etc.) the awareness of The Resistance faded. Now, granted, I continued to read the book, which snapped my awareness back to full, and the resulting post-read fade took longer, but it is still there.
That’s when I realized the connection: The Resistance has the same capability as The Silence on Dr. Who: look away and forget about it. The characters on Dr. Who came up with some pretty creative ways to carry memory past this blockage, and I won’t provide any spoilers here. However, I am working on building my own framework to enable ongoing awareness of the pernicious existence of The Resistance in my life and remind myself of the myriad ways it finds to block my creativity and keep me from doing the work of my art, whatever that may be at the moment. Writing regularly is a portion of my art.
What’s yours? Do it….
UPDATE: I received a mail from Seth Godin’s Domino Project linking to a video interview with Steven Pressfield, which I am including here. Worth watching…