#19 QofR: Subvert Your Resistance!

waronart“It was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas.”

I’ve had this book sitting on my desk for a month with the intention of reading it for my major project proposal…I sat down to read it yesterday and in some glorious moment of serendipity I realised that the theories in this book were completely perfect for my Question of Research and made me see the subject in new light…that phrase ‘in a new light’…is spot on – I felt like a light switch had been turned on and the ideas just keep going *BING* inside my head.

So here it goes…and I’ll probably ramble on for a while so just bear with me – I have to get this out in one go!

In order to develop our creativity in relation to practice we must fight to undermine our own resistance and subvert our own and other’s attempts to sabotage this.

‘In what ways can subversion help develop creativity in relation to practice?’ – Through my research I’ve learned that it’s not our own or other’s creativity that requires subverting…undermining creativity sounds like a pretty terrible thing to do in fact! The element of ourselves that needs to be subverted is our resistance to be creative and so let others in. We have to fight the battle of resistance in order to encourage the creative, truthful part of us to write, act, draw, paint, sing…the resistance we feel is built up very gradually over years, by ourselves (fear, insecurity, lack of confidence) but often by others: negative comments, criticism etc.

How can we subvert other’s resistance to be creative? The methods I use, and plan to use in my workshops at The Art House cafe are designed to encourage individuals to let go of their fear of failing when it comes to making artwork – to become stronger and more determined to carry on even when they hear their that annoying voice inside their head telling them ‘It’s not perfect!’ or ‘Hide it, it’s not good enough for anyone to see!’ If we stop listening to our own resistant and fearful inner critic, one that loves procrastination, one that always dredges up the old school teacher’s negative comments, then we will be able to unleash our creativity with energy, love and excitement (and a pinch of self doubt and fear, of course).

Writing, thinking, drawing, painting, printing, walking, conversing, developing positive relationships with those that love and encourage you will all help you to thrive as a creative being. If you’re life is filled with these things then there is so space or time for resistance from yourself or others. It’s not something that can be done quickly and it won’t disappear –

“. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.” – Herman Hesse

 (pg 14) Resistance Never Sleeps: …fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.

The ‘weapons’ we use to fight this battle against resistance will be vary from person to person but what I am learning is that because this isn’t a fight that will go away, ever, we need to be persistent – creating everyday…no excuses.

(pg 18) Resistance is Most Powerful at the Finish Line: The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight. At this point Resistance knows we’re about to beat it. It hits the panic button. It slams us with everything it’s got.

(pg 19) Resistance Recruits Allies: Resistance by definition is self sabotage. But there’s a parallel peril that must also be guarded against: sabotage by others.

(pg 21-23) Procrastination is the most common manifestation of resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalise.

Immediate and powerful gratification: sex, drugs, shopping, masturbation, TV, gossip, alcohol and consumption of all products containing fat, sugar, salt or chocolate.

(pg 24-25) Trouble and Self Dramatisation and Victimhood (pg 27)

(pg 26) Self Medication

(pg 38) Resistance and Criticism: Of all manifestations of Resistance, most only harm ourselves. Criticism and cruelty harm others as well.

(pg 39) Self Doubt – reflects love, desire, ambition, dreams and aspirations. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self confident. The real one is scared to death.

(pg 40) Fear is like self doubt – it is an indicator and tells us what we have to do. Resistance is experienced as fear and the degree of fear equated to the strength of resistance. The greater the fear the more important the experience is to us.

“So if you’re paralysed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows what you have to do.”

(pg 42) If you didn’t love the project that is terrifying you, you wouldn’t feel anything.

(pg 43) Grandiose fantasies are a symptom of Resistance

(pg 44) As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly. The part of us that does the creating is too sacred, too precious, too fragile to be redacted into sound bites for the titillation of would be idolators.

It’s commonplace among artists and children at play that they’re not aware of time or solitude while they’re chasing their vision. The hours fly by.

(pg 48) The part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from; that part is far deeper and stronger. The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did. That part is unsullied, uncorrupted, soundproof, waterproof and bulletproof.

Resistance loves ‘healing’. Resistance knows that the more psychic energy we expend dredging and re-dredging the tired, boring, injustices of our personal lives, the less juice we have to do our work.

(pg 53) Rationalisation is Resistance’s right hand man. It’s job is to keep us from feeling the shame we would feel if we truly faced what cowards we are for not doing our work. It’s one thing to lie to ourselves, it’s another to believe it.

(pg 57) Resistance can be beaten! We can destroy/undermine/subvert resistance in order to develop our own creativity.

Pressfield, S. (2012). The war of art: Break through the blocks and win your inner creative battles. New York: Black Irish Entertainment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *