Soul Places

Befriending the Soul through Inquiry and Creativity

Tag: resistance

What I Claimed I Couldn’t Do

Me in Budapest Imagining the Can-dos

I posted this on Facebook a month ago:

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso.  “Oh, I’m not an artist.” My husband and I get this response from adults a lot when we explain what we do. I write and he sculpts. It’s frustrating to hear people give up on themselves without even trying. How will you embrace the creative life in 2012?

A few weeks ago I heard myself say, “Oh, I can’t sing.”

So, I participated in a community centered singing group last night, going confidently in the direction of my resistance, my lie.

There was a nametag waiting for me at the check-in table as though someone had tipped off my muse, the creative source I had recently denied.  In all, 20-25 people showed up.  I imagined them all to be accomplished singers with melodious tones that taunt the angels.  I sang anyhow.

I threw myself into the folk songs, sang harmony and something called soprano.  My body and voice danced and mingled with others in the room.  By the end of the night, I was hoarse and nobody had arrested me for the sounds that made their way through my chapped lips.  You see, I can sing, I’m just not very good at it.  My melodious tones taunt the laughing hyenas, but I make the noise anyhow.

Don’t speak the creative lie of I can’t, I’m not – defy it.  Your soul wants release through whatever creative means you least want to express.  How will you embrace the creative life in 2012?

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Another Arrow in a Quiver Against Resistance


Parking lot danger.

Originally uploaded by paulswansen

I have used The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz as my spiritual code for the better part of the last year. Over the last few months I have gotten lazy and forgetful of them so I decided to pull out the book again for a review. I wrote this poem earlier this year when these Agreements were literally oozing out of my pours like garlic. (The eighth stanza is the Four Agreements.) It’s a relatable piece even for those who are unfamiliar with this Toltec wisdom and for those who are friendly with it, there’s a Fifth Agreement too. I use these Agreements to vanquish resistance to my spiritual practices and break old, damaging patterns.

Parking Lot

By Diane Ludeking

I am slowly backing out of my parking spot

In my tiny blue Toyota Yaris

I am blinded by the enormous SUVs on either side

And sent into a panic when I hear a blaring horn

Who is dying? Who is crashing?

What’s with all the cacophony?

Hmm. Someone in a hurry

Speeding through the lot. That is all

I thought I learned in Driver’s Ed

That the person backing out had the right-of-way

Apparently that idea is the wrong-of-way

As proven by the glare I receive from my antagonist

When I am carefully retreating from my space

I am the blind one.

I cannot see who is coming

It makes sense that you should watch out for me

I do not have a fancy back-up camera

Extra mirrors hanging off my rear bumper

Or a loud, rhythmic beeping sound

To announce my backwards venture

I have no tools to help me see the impending doom.

The angry, rusted Isuzu truck

With a wire clothes hanger holding up it’s muffler

Is the shape of my next important lesson

But alas! I have tools of the best kind

They are not made of reflective, breakable glass

They do not show me only the physical objects in my way

They don’t even make offensive “Get out of my way!” declarations

I will be impeccable with my word

I will not take it personally, Mr. Isuzu

I will not assume you are having a bad day because you are foreign-made

And I will always do my best in order to avoid regrets

With these tools as my spiritual code

My lessons are much more black and white

They are not any easier to swallow

Nor are they any less frequent

But I can safely back out of my parking spot now

And as I pull onto the highway of life with confidence

And a newly discovered eagerness for adventure

I learn that there are no speed limits here

Fighting Resistance with Updike, Stafford and Pressfield

Fisherman's Wharf Hostel, San Francisco January 2010

John Updike is in good company this week.  I am currently reading his Pulitzer Prize winner Rabbit is Rich.  And when excuses and resistance snuck up on me like the seeker in a game of hide-and-seek a few days ago, two remarkable non-fiction books joined Updike.  I pulled William Stafford’s Writing the Australian Crawl and Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art from their six-week-old perch on my bookshelf to commiserate with Updike.

Steven Pressfield is my go-to-guy for defending myself against the creativity killer, resistance.  He tells me “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”  So the more I resist something, the more I should pursue it?  Or this pithy phrase, “what you resist, persists.” In my experience, that’s exactly right.  It is demanding my attention by the pure emotion of fear that manifests as resistance.  Have you ever started a workout routine or diet only to have it beat you before the first week is over?  Resistance is your silent, deadly partner too.

Leading up to this blog I wanted to quit writing.  I didn’t have anything new to write about.  Resistance had its death grip on me – it has such a success rate that it will never quit –and I am not the only one in its crosshairs.  Truth be told – the little voice in my head said it couldn’t be done and I believed it.  It doesn’t matter what the “it” was – the point is I listened to it and let it beat me.  I picked up my pen for a total of two pages all week – my aim is a page a day.  I stared at my laptop for hours, telling myself “I’ll write something as soon as I’m caught up on Facebook (whatever that means) and all my emails have been addressed.”

My copy of Stafford’s book had never been opened before this week.  He writes directly to the writer’s vocation, more specifically to poets.  A poet friend of mine shared a quote from this book that resonated with me so I had to purchase it in order to draw upon it.  He speaks to having dreams:

Sometimes I feel a writer should be like this – that you need your bad poems.  You shouldn’t inhibit yourself.  You need to have your dreams; you need to have your poems.  If you begin to keep from dreaming or from trying to write your poems, you could be in trouble.  You have to learn to say “Welcome…welcome.”  Welcome, dreams.  Welcome, poems.  And then if somebody says “I don’t like that dream,” you can say “Well, it’s my life.  I had to dream it.”  And if somebody else says “I don’t like that poem,” you can say “Well, it’s my life.  That poem was in the way, so I wrote it.

For me, resistance is exactly like that last part.  I think every piece needs to be a masterpiece.  This thought paralyzes me and silences the ink.  As soon as I embrace the idea that most of my writing is a process to get to the rare gems, the ink flows with a happy noise.  What’s “in the way,” gets on paper so I can move on.

All three of these authors worked together this week to get me off the pity potty.  Updike’s magical voice in my fiction choice inspires me to write.  Stafford encourages me to simply show up and let the ink sound off.  And Pressfield is a much-needed kick in the pants to keep going and win my creative battles – well, all my battles.  I am learning to embrace the things that are the most difficult, because I know from experience that the pay off will be immeasurable joy; one more point for me and zero for resistance.