By Dr. Marta Adelsman
Life Coach in Communication and Consciousness
(July 12, 2017)
As I stand by the side of a pool, enjoying a sunny day with others who swim and sun themselves, I notice a man under the water who has apparently drowned. Deeply alarmed, I point him out to a lifeguard, who dives into the water and pulls the man’s body toward the ladder at the side of the pool. As he reaches the ladder, the drowned man comes alive, climbs out of the pool, and stands directly in front of me. He looks at me intently, and I feel a hint of recognition. “I know you!” I exclaim. “You’re the artist!”
Then I wake up. Immediately I know the dream’s message: to act on creative aspects of myself I had submerged.
In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield (author of The Legend of Bagger Vance) offers an explanation for what prevents us from acting on our creative spirit’s nudges: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
Ah… resistance. It rears up to block us when we pursue self-improvement, undertake a challenge, or initiate changes in our circumstances. Whatever threatens (or promises) to move us out of our comfort zone acts like a bugle call to summon resistance.
We can recognize it in our procrastination when facing a comfort-zone-busting challenge. When we begin a creative act, resistance is a master at distracting us to fix the squeaky door, to raid the refrigerator, to start the laundry, or to goad our spouse into an argument. Sound familiar?
Resistance pushes the hardest when we face our highest calling. Deep down we know we are meant to fulfill a certain purpose, yet we’re afraid. Pressfield wrote: “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”
The War of Art unmasks resistance and the many ways it prevents us from the most important thing about creative endeavors—hard work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and grinding it out.
From personal experience, seeing even a little bit of fruit from small efforts feeds creative energy. We can’t steer a car if it’s sitting still. We can’t see where we’re going unless we act and move into the light shining on the next step. As we do the hard work, little by little the results expand.
In my dream, I didn’t jump into the pool to rescue my inner artist. I depended on someone else to do it. I wasn’t ready to take that kind of responsibility yet, so it took me a long time before I committed to putting my rear end in the chair every day to pursue my call to write!
In the words of William H. Murray, “…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents no man would have dreamed was possible.”
Murray goes on to quote lines from Goethe: “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has beauty, magic and power in it.”
Jump in. The water feels wonderful!