I’ve written about resistance previously; you can read that post here.
Tonight is different. With so many different things competing for my attention, it is easy to get caught up in the madness.
The madness caught up with me in the way of my office being nearly unusable due to chaos and general messiness.
Now, I am not a complete neat freak nor do I spend a lot of time worrying about how things look. But every once in a while, it all reaches this measure of fullness, and I have to do something about it.
I must clean, organize, do laundry, file paperwork, etc. until there is space in my life again.
I find myself in a cluttered headspace and workspace. My office (both of them) has stacks of paperwork all over, books piled up, and I’m finding it difficult to work.
Here is where the resistance comes in.
Instead of going to my office to write, which is what is for, I find myself avoiding all manner of work. I will read, play games, check email, etc. until the time I have for work is gone, and then I beat myself up for not getting anything done. Repeatedly.
As I stepped into my office this afternoon, my thoughts went immediately to moving the furniture around to clean things up. Now, my writing space is small, and there are few ways everything can be moved around and still have room to work. I know, I’ve done them all. My office doesn’t need to be moved around to work.
It needs to be straightened up, and the garbage tossed. I need to sort the papers between filing and the garbage can. Anything that doesn’t belong needs re-homing. It truly only takes minutes.
I couldn’t work until my desk was tidy.
At least that is what I kept telling myself.
Give it whatever name you want, the real culprit is resistance.
Resistance is what kept me from my work, not the untidy desk.
Resistance is a refusal to comply. It doesn’t matter what you want to comply with, any excuse to keep you from doing what you want to do is resistance.
Resistance says, “I can’t write until my desk is tidy.”
Resistance says, “I must make dinner for my family before I can create.”
Resistance says, “The house comes before writing.”
Resistance says, “My creative life is just a hobby, everything else is the important work in my life.”
Resistance is at the heart of every failed goal, every story that didn’t get finished, every painting that was tossed, for every creative thing that didn’t get created.
Resistance is also very subtle. It comes most often quietly, in whispers, feeding you a lie, which you fall for and then sucks you into the circle of resistance.
If I were you, I would be angry right now. Resistance has stolen something from you. It has stolen your drive and ambition. It has taken the time you would have had to devote to your craft. All the extra energy you might have had is now taken in by this idea of resistance. Anger is the only defense.
You can’t reason with anger; it must be confronted then ignored. If you only ignore, it may grow stronger and become more difficult to assuage. Confronting the anger also gives you an idea of some of the bigger issues that linger.
Just as with any skill, you must practice noticing the resistance, thereby reducing its power, before moving on with you work. Because that is the goal, getting your work done, in whatever form that takes.
As I write this, I am at my semi-tidy desk, pointedly ignoring the pile of papers on the floor. Resistance didn’t win this time.
Confronting the resistance in my life is a constant struggle and is exhausting.
It is better that I sit down with my work before those thoughts kick in; at least I will get some work done.
What are some ways that resistance makes itself present in your life?