Feng Shui Resistance

feng-shui-resistanceI must admit I procrastinate, freely and, mostly, unapologetically. But I realized tonight that my procrastination is a mask for something else:


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?

Resistance is Your Compass

unnamed-6 Resistance


This post has been a struggle to write. You might say I’ve been resistant to the very thought of resistance.

Tonight at dinner, my grandson was resistant to eating dinner. Even though he’d asked for and received what he wanted, he’d decided in the meantime that he wanted something else. The ensuing negotiation was interesting:

“Caleb, you asked for a grilled cheese.”
“But, I want a sub sandwich.”
“If you eat this, we can have that tomorrow.”
“Why can’t I have what I want?” This one had large tears in the eyes.
“Because this is what we are having for dinner.”
“But I don’t want that.”
“You only have two pieces. You can eat those.”
“No, I don’t want to.” More tears.
“Caleb, if you don’t eat then you can’t have dessert.”
Even more tears, because there is nothing he likes more than dessert.
“Take a bite.” He takes a mouse-sized nibble from the corner of the triangle.
“Really? You can take a bigger bite than that.”
He shakes his head.
“How about this? If you eat just one of the triangles, you can have dessert.”
(He had eaten some chicken just a bit before this so he wasn’t starving.”
“You mean if I eat just this one, then I can have dessert?”
He takes a bite and chews. “I don’t like this part.” He pointed to the crust.
“You don’t have to eat the crust.” This came from Mom.
He takes another bite and then proceeds to peel the crust from the sandwich.

It took 10 minutes for him actually to finish the 1/4 of a sandwich I’d made and even then, I helped with the last couple of bites.

I guess the reward was worth it: homemade hot fudge brownie Sundays. He finished it without speaking.

Sometimes I feel as if I am dealing with my inner child being resistant to whatever task I’ve set before her. It is a matter of finding which buttons to push to get the job done.

In her book, DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereira states that there is no writer’s block only resistance. Discovering what that resistance is key to making the words come again.

Where does your resistance lead you?

My resistance often helps me to focus on some issue buried so deep I didn’t know it was there.

For instance, I had been working on a story this spring and was about a quarter of the way through it. This story was one of those that had been on my mind for the past year, and I was excited about it.

Then, I took the Storytelling Superpower Quiz.

My superpower is Survivor. What that means is the character’s I write about often come from a survivor archetype.

Somehow I took this personally and that created a wall of resistance.

I realized all of my characters, including the one I was currently working with, were survivors. I thought that made them weak.

At that moment I didn’t see the positives of writing from a survivor archetype. Great stories come from a survivor archetype. It has taken me some time to understand both the archetype and my response.

Although I’m not working on that particular story, I haven’t given it up completely. I’ve also IMG_0316begun a new story inspired by the reluctant diner above.

Learning to work with resistance has had a positive effect on my writing.

Well, at least I am writing again.

What does your writing teach you?