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resistance… and drawing a pear

January 5, 2012

[Welcome to Chasing Maybes. Here, I challenge my preferences and prejudices, one Trivial Pursuit category at a time.  I am currently chasing maybes related to Arts and Literature, the brown pie piece.  Come on along, won’t you?]

So, I believe I mentioned in an earlier post that I was about to begin Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, a gift from my friend Courtney.  In addition to being a thoughtful friend, Courtney is blessed with “giving clairvoyance,” or the ability to understand what her recipient needs better than the recipient does.

As a result, this slim little volume — it’s only 165 pages — has me by the throat.  It is speaking to me (yelling at me?) in ways I can’t entirely articulate.  Reading it, I am trying to pace myself.  The War of Art is one of those books I have to feed myself in small bites, a few pages at a time, lest I gobble it in one sitting and later regret having done so.

In it, bestselling author Pressfield shoots smart and straight on the topic of just doing, for God’s sake, whatever it is you feel called to do.

Oh, and I should also mention that it’s funny, too.

In Book One, Pressfield addresses the concept of Resistance (capitalization his).  Citing the innumerable ways intrinsic Resistance keeps us from living out our dreams (whether we dream of writing a novel, losing 20 pounds, or starting a business), he calls out Resistance for what it is: impersonal, internal, universal, and insidious.  He identifies it as a partner of procrastination and self-medication.  He relates Resistance to fear.

Thus, Pressfield might have predicted my routine before I sat down to draw the pear I promised you from Highlights Magazine.

Before I could begin my drawing, you see, I just had to check my email (I’m terribly, terribly important).

I was then compelled to scan seven vegan recipes for meatless meatloaf.

Next, it was critical that I check Facebook — I mean, what if my best friend from middle school’s five year-old said something funny? What if my former Spanish teacher offered a scathing review of “Crazy Stupid Love?” — and rifle through Pinterest for crafts I’ll never make.

Following that, I was obliged to eat a (non-vegan) brownie, drink 24 ounces of water, and organize my top desk drawer.

Then, I took a shower.

Newsflash: I didn’t want to draw that damn pear.  I also didn’t want to sit down to write about it.

“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don’t,” Pressfield asserts, “and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard.  What’s hard is sitting down to write.” 

Of course, it is Resistance, according to the author, that keeps us from the sitting down.

One way to manage?  We have to love our work as much as we resist it, Pressfield says.  We have to love the work — our calling — enough to stare down Resistance, to feel fear clawing at our insides, and to sit down to do it anyway.

I guess Nike got it right, then.

On that note, here is my Crayoned pear:

Do you like how I signed it?

While I can’t say that I found my calling in a box of Crayons and a sheet of white paper, I’ll admit to enjoying the process of making this drawing.  It was meditative; my reflection on the subject of my drawing revealed shades and shadows I would have never otherwise noticed.  Finishing it, I wondered why I had resisted for so long.

In all of its awkward glory, my roughly-sketched pear has found a home ripening above my desk.  I have hung it right at eye level, a brown-and-yellow beacon as I sit down to write.

Studying it now, I wonder what would happen — what good might be done, what beauty created, what change born — if we each agreed to spend one hour a day challenging Resistance and doing our Work anyway (capitalization mine)

I’ll promise to sit down if you will.

Today, I hope you love just as much as you resist.  Thanks so much for showing up.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. aimee permalink
    January 5, 2012 10:04 am

    Right on Anne! That is a pretty sweet looking pear if you ask me. I’d hang it in my fridge for sure!! It’s nice to see someone brave enough to let go of their security blanket and live a little!

    • January 5, 2012 7:58 pm

      Thanks so much for the encouragement, Aimee! Speaking of things hanging in houses, I can’t wait for you to see your sunflower photo hanging on our wall. It looks beautiful!

  2. Kris permalink
    January 5, 2012 1:56 pm

    Love the pear. I am interested in reading the book when you finish so if you get a borrower’s list together, pls put me on it. Isn’t it amazing how many other things one can find to do when they don’t want to do something else? Its like the Procrastinator’s Playbook: don’t want to work out? How about clean out your closet? No? Okay, instead why don’t you sit down (in my case it always involves sitting) at the computer and lose 3-??? hours scanning through pretty non-important stuff. 🙂 And then when you actually complete the dreaded task – its like “what was I thinking?” that was so enjoyable or easy or great job done. Or in your case – a pretty sweet pear! May your thoughts be ripe and all your tasks this week be completed to fruition! xo

    • January 5, 2012 8:04 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Kris! Never, ever, ever has whatever task I’ve avoided measured up to my dread and/or avoidance of it. I find it especially interesting to consider the multiple payoffs for procrastinating whatever we believe to be our true work — our calling, our deepest hope — and how we trick ourselves into under-creating. You will love this book. I am happy to share it, and happy 2012! xoxo

    • January 5, 2012 8:19 pm

      P.S. Mad props for your pear puns 🙂

  3. January 15, 2012 10:11 am

    Hi Anne! I happened onto your blog by reading your comment you left on Megan Perez’s post for Chics with a View. It is sunday morning and your post is just what i needed to spur myself into productivity but maybe i will read the rest of your blog first LOL.

    Cheers,
    Dawn

  4. January 16, 2012 7:10 am

    Thank you for stopping by, Dawn! Yes, Megan and I go way back… I am a big fan of his writing, and am so happy to have discovered Chics with a View as a result. I am loving it! Take care,
    Anne

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