Monday, 26 April 2010

Fighting for Invisible Things

I'm in the invisible industry, which means that much of what I'm going after can't be seen. Things like faith and creativity and passions and ideas feel abstract because they're not tangible. They can't be quantified on a resume, they don't always pay the bills. But just because something is invisible doesn't mean it's not important. I think most people would agree on that, but describing the invisible remains a challenge. 

A book I've read recently that nails the invisible world of the creative process is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He skips the flowery stuff and gets right to his point, which is that if you are going to do anything creative, anything good or worthwhile or generally helpful to the world, you will be opposed. 

Pressfield names the opponent Resistance and he describes it like this: In the fight for life, Resistance "repels us from it. It shoves us away, distracts us, prevents us from doing our work". Resistance makes things that should be simple confusing. It makes us feel stupid for pursuing an unseen or beautiful or important thing in the first place. He calls Resistance the "root of unhappiness" and says "to yield to it deforms our spirit, stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. It is evil and prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed us with our own unique genius. Genius is our inner spirit - everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It's our soul's seat, our true north."

His description can sound intense, but I like that he goes for it and doesn't try to justify himself. If you've faced Resistance you'll know how sticky and thick it can be, how it slows you in your tracks and makes you forget what you're even doing. You'll know how justifying yourself can be an unending cycle that leads nowhere. 

Coming from a charismatic Christian background I'm no stranger to talking about the spiritual realm and believing that there is an opponent to life. I've been armed for spiritual warfare since I was about five! But I loved reading this book and applying the concept of Resistance to the creative process. Creation is powerful, so of course it will be opposed. How could I overlook this?!

Anyway, if you're in the thick of a creative battle I suggest you dip into this book - it's a triple shot of espresso to your motivation meter and will remind you that what you're working towards is worth fighting for. 

Anyone else facing invisible opponents to creative pursuits? Here's to pushing through.

{photo from flickr: it'skay [kala] }


Rachel H. Evans said...

"I'm in the invisible industry." - Love this.

I'm going to have to pick up this book since you are about the fifteenth person to recommend it!

Thanks for the great, thought-provoking post.

Sarah Wolfe said...

I loved this post...I consider myself in the invisible/visible industry. Television advertising is visible, but the creativity behind it is so important and I work at stations where resistance is the first response to anything creative. The new GM and I are of a different culture fighting an up hill battle to change the mentality of resistance. Thanks for this encouraging post!

Matt and Joey said...

Ah, the creative life... seems so romantic, but really, it's such a constant challenge to be doing something without authority-imposed deadlines, and a checklist, like road signs, telling you you're making progress.

Yeah, I'm with ya.

I'm well acquainted with resistance. Now I'm pondering the role of "divine thwarting" when God prevents us from progressing because he's after something deeper. A conversation to have over coffee when you return, dear friend.

alisha said...

Just identifying resistance can often be the first step in fighting it. Like fighting alcoholism I guess.

Joey, I'm pondering divine thwarting too, but didn't have a term for it yet, so thank you. Can't wait for that conversation over a nice latte. :)

Mark & Melissa said...

The perfect blog for my day - I am in the middle of this Resistance you speak of! Thank you for your words of encouragement - here is to pushing through.

Do you know what...this book sounds like it could also be perfect for those of us with 'invisible' illnesses. There are many diseases that have visible consequences that we see and so we can continue to support our friends to help them push through. There are so many more that we can't see and so forget that these people need continued support to push through.

I love the sound of this book -it is going on my hit list! cheers babe

Nadine said...

Love this post!! Just cause you can't see it, doesn't mean you can't believe it.

You go girl!

Bob said...

Brilliant, and brilliantly written.

John Brown Rose said...

"I'm in the invisible industry, which means that much of what I'm going after can't be seen. Things like faith and creativity and passions and ideas feel abstract because they're not tangible."

WOW I love this!!!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails