Overcoming Resistance – Part 1

I haven’t posted for over a year. I could say it’s because I’ve been otherwise productively engaged or I haven’t had anything pressing to say or my focus has been more inward than outward.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

The deeper truth surfaced today in a short dialogue with my Muse, a.k.a. The Creative Consuela.

D:     I’ve committed myself to writing a blog today – tomorrow at the latest – and I feel totally stuck. I don’t have a clue what to write about.

CC:  That’s because you don’t want to write the damned blog.

(insert potent “I’ve been busted” pause)

D:    (blurting) OK, OK! I don’t! I don’t want to do anything productive at the moment!

CC:  So don’t.

D:    But I want to!

CC:  You’re making me crazy.

D:    Wait! Wait! Don’t go! I’m pretty sure it’s resistance, not a lack of desire.

CC:  Bingo. There’s your topic.

I felt elated. I could write a book about resistance – if I weren’t so resistant to doing so.

First of all, how do you know if you’re resistant to an activity or task? What if it’s the right thing to do or what if you’ve outgrown it or what if it simply bores you silly?

Inquire within. Ask yourself, honestly, “Do I REALLY want to do this?” If a task is truly loathsome and life-denying, you will feel zero energy for it. A root canal would be preferable. But if is something that feeds your soul, you will feel a glimmer of excitement, a hint of discomfort, a frisson of fear… Well, more likely a blinding, paralyzing, crushing commotion of fear. There’s your answer. You do want to do it but you are most definitely resistant.

Resistance surfaces whenever we set out to do something that challenges our status quo, takes us out of our comfort zone, or as the master resistance warrior, Steve Pressfield, author of The War of Art, says, “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health, or integrity.”

So what am I resistant to besides blogging? Writing my e-book, singing, teaching, building my creativity coaching practice, playing the piano, meditating, exercising, traveling, dating, making my vision boards, planning my business, increasing my income… Sadly, this is just the beginning. And these are all things that I love to do, that would truly benefit me, and that would make my sould sing.

What are you resistant to? Telling the truth about it is a major resistance buster. Resistance thrives on lies, excuses, and bullshit of every variety. The truth withers resistance.

But only temporarily. Make no mistake. Resistance is a recurring phenomenon, a vicious, unscrupulous adversary that won’t take its knee off your throat for long. Eric Maisel, my creativity coaching teacher (who, by the way, is my guest blogger this coming Saturday, April 15. Inviting him forced me to start up my blog again) encounters it in most of his clients. Here’s how he describes a hard-fought breakthrough with a client in his book, Coaching the Artist Within:

“Why, though, did I have to go at her with a hammer and chisel to get her to do the most obvious things? What causes resistance so fierce that even a jackhammer can’t dent it?”

Good question. But don’t seduce yourself into trying to find the answer. Resistance delights in seeing us flail about trying to figure out why we’re resistant. It chortles at our attempts to understand it or ourselves. Don’t waste the time that we’re all running out of.

Instead, make a list of things that you’re resistant to doing. Pick one of them and take one small step toward doing it. Tell yourself that you only need to do it for five minutes if that’s what it takes.

I’m happy to be back in the blogosphere and to have prevailed over my resistance – today. If I prevail over my resistance in the weeks to come, I’ll soon be offering some classes, coaching packages, e-books and numerous other goodies.

Stay tuned for subsequent blogs with additional tips on how to deal with resistance.

And keep me posted on your battles with resistance.

We can do this.



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17 thoughts on “Overcoming Resistance – Part 1

  1. PJ Reece

    Of course we resist. Our belief systems are just protecting themselves. What? alter the status quo by actually changing our personal landscape? But what a rush when it occurs. I can see that you’ve just given yourself a little rush, Ms. Saul. I guess the trick is to continue these dialogues with yourself. Resistance works best when it can hide in the dark. Maybe put that Mr. Resistance to work for you and get it to write a guest blog.

  2. jackie minns

    i needed to hear this one this morning Donallen, on resistance.
    thank you.
    todayi am resisiting rehearsing,getting my show back on its’ feet…so i will take the script and read it..just read it for 5 min. and see what happens then.

    love to see you sometime soon i hope.


  3. Lorraine Ashdown

    Hi Donaleen,

    So lovely to see your presence on the web.And writing on my favourite topic-resistance. As a fellow writer/teacher/editor/photographer I resist each and every task in front of me…hence my website being in a constant state of construction and never completed. I want to publish more articles; I want to have more photography clients and assignments; I want a regular column somewhere in a publication that deals with chronic illness in middle aged woman-this is because I am a life long diabetic and I am very interested in the spiritual/emotional aspects of living with chronic illness. I want to help more students in my tutoring business. I want to write more songs and play more music with and for friends…all of these things…plus, the pay-cheque. the pay-cheque has to come or everything flat-lines and I stare at my computer like it is a crystal ball capable of telling me the future. It isn’t.
    So I shall take your wise advice. I will make a list of the things I am resisting today and I will spend five minutes doing what I am resisting doing. Here. I did it. Thanks!

  4. Lucy

    I was resistant to writing this comment, but I’ve taken a deep breath and battled it out. I know that criticism is often not welcome online, hence my hesitation to be one of “those” people who point out errors. This particular one drives me more than a little nuts. You are not the only one who uses the wrong terminology.

    This is a blog. On a blog, one writes blog posts. One does not write new blogs, or a new blog, but one can create a blog and then write blog posts on that blog. Semantics. But important ones for clarity of communication. Perhaps the analogy of a book can be used. Your blog is a book, and a book is made up of chapters. A blog post is a chapter in your online book.

    So your first sentence would say, if one was to rewrite it: I haven’t posted anything to this blog in over a year. OR: I haven’t written a blog post in over a year.

    Okay. I overcame my resistance to speaking my mind to a stranger on the internet. We can do this. So I did. Good luck with future blog posts that you will write and post on your blog.

  5. Donaleen Post author

    Thanks for your comments, PJ, Jackie, and Lorraine.. I love hearing your stories from the trenches. I do believe that admitting to the things we are resisting doing gives us that hit of energy needed to move forward on some of our dreams and intentions. One step at a time is what it’s all about. Even an embarrassingly small step.

  6. Donaleen Post author

    Thanks for the correction, Lucy. You pointed out something that I hadn’t understood and I’ve changed my blog post that I wrote and posted on my blog accordingly.

  7. Marg

    Soooooooo great to see your new blog and your renewed energy, with Consuela’s help, to battle that old resistance gremlin! It always fascinates me that we can want something so much yet sabotage ourselves just when things begin to work. You were on my mind today as I met with a lovely PR woman about my book. As she spoke about tv, radio, and newspapers, I could feel myself gulp. Really, it is what I want most but yet, do it dare take the step and make it happen. Just like your creative coach, it is helpful when someone outside myself offers their wisdom, support, and even push to enable me to get past the resistance gremlin. Looking forward to seeing you at my book launch!

    1. Donaleen Post author

      Hey Marg…you go girl! And by the way The Creative Consuela is a kick-ass aspect of myself. All one needs is within!

  8. Ronnie Walker

    Thanks so much for a very inspiring article. Reading it, I saw how resistance is pervasive in several areas of my life. I have been calling it “being overwhelmed” or “not knowing how” … but it is truly resistance. Reading your article thrust me into the realm of “Just do it.” 🙂

    1. Donaleen Post author

      Yes! I know the “being overwhelmed” and “not knowing how! states – and of course the Forces of Resistance love them!

  9. Susan Gallacher-Turner

    I love your honesty about your resistance to blogging. I’ve felt resistance many times over many things that I love an loathe like throwing clay on the wheel(which I now love) to cleaning out dirty cupboards(which I hate). My recent resistance had to do with facebook. I resisted posting on it for over a year. Why? Fear of rejection, of not being ‘liked’, it felt like high school all over again. But, just like you, I finally overcame my resistance, one small status update at a time. And, it’s not so bad after all.

    I look forward to your thoughts on Eric’s new book. I found it very helpful.

  10. Cathy Sosnowsky

    Oh Donaleen! You have hit the mark! I’m resistant to doing everything, anything, today: and I MUST send off our income tax info to the accountant, seend press releases for the Shuswap Writers’ Festival, send press releases for the new chapter of Compassionate Friends in Salmon Arm, find the form I lost for Ainsley’s application to middle school, wash the dishes, walk the dog…. (and more). Maybe a future blog of yours might be on how we overload ourselves, and, then, like the starving donkey midway between the hay dish and the water dish, we can’t move. (I think there’s a psychological/pathological name for that too.)
    love you! glad you’re writing!

  11. Ritama

    Ha ha! Just watching this morning how I ate more oatmeal than I really wanted so I wouldn’t “have” to go to the office and start the “To Do” List!

    1. Donaleen Post author

      What’s the main “to do” list item that you’re resisting? Spend 15 minutes on it and see how you feel.

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