Fear, Resistance, Distractions, Oh NO!

This is reblogged from my art website at http://www.sfago.com

Sharon Abbott-Furze www.sfago.com

Sharon Abbott-Furze

I know about resistance…exercise for starters.  For health reasons, me, who avoided walking like the plague, was told it was the best exercise for my medical situation so I plunged into it.  I like purposeful exercise – a game of racquetball, golf, rowing a boat… but walking was what worked so…since I am also determined, I put my earphones on, clicked on one of my  audiobooks and started walking.  My life and health were at stake.  In no time at all, I overcame resistance and now, a couple of years later, I really  look forward to a long walk – an hour or so – and miss it when I don’t manage my time. I never would have believed it.  Resistance was powerful for the first couple of weeks tho.

Apply this discipline to my art – to finishing a painting.  I have seven that are in various stages of “getting there”, most about an hour from completion and have been waiting patiently for almost 2 years.   They need final little touches, one or two minor things that bother me.  I set them aside and go on to a new one.  It’s a definite pattern of mine – and a big old struggle.

I needed to travel earlier this week and was on the road for about 6 hours each way.  I really enjoy the time to myself, and part of that enjoyment is listening to my favorite audiobooks.  On this trip, I decided on “War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I haven’t listened to it in several months – and I need it right now.  I’d recommend it to anyone – you don’t need to be an artist.  Resistance rears it’s ugly head in many parts of my life and in many forms.  Maybe yours too?

As I listened to it – on the way “there” and again on the way home, I heard things I hadn’t heard when I had listened to it a few months earlier.  About fear.  About not knowing what to do so not doing anything at all.  About all of the distractions caused by “resistance”.  The message hit home.   I’ve spent days, months and years avoiding my art on the premise that I didn’t know where to start, what to do next, or just plain felt blocked.   Distractions?  Yes, I have experience in that department as well!  I can spend hours reading blogs about art, being “inspired” by other artists on Facebook, and yes, even writing my blog, among many other things.  I’ve told myself many times that I didn’t have a long enough block of time to bother getting started… that I had cleaning to do…someone would call and invite me to go shopping, get a pedicure…blah blah blah…you know the story.

I am a professional artist.  I love painting.  It’s good for my soul.  It’s my prayer, my relaxation, my expression of love.  It’s what I need to do. I would definitely do it no matter what.  If I were the last person on earth…yes…I’d still be painting.  I can’t help myself.  If I don’t paint on my canvas, I’m painting in my mind.  I get in bed and can’t quit painting so many times have gotten back up to paint for just a half hour more.  Right.  Dawn arrives and I had no idea where the time went.

Progress.  Something clicked as I was listening to “War of Art”.  Somewhere inside, I “got it”.  I stepped to a new level of pushing through.   No matter how I “feel”, I say a prayer – 0ut loud, as Steven Pressfield does – step up to my easel, pick up my brush and it happens. I’m painting.   It really is that simple.  Not easy, but simple.  Woo Hoo.  So far so good!  I’ll try to remember this action and if I forget, I hope I remember to read this blog…

Thank you, Steven Pressfield for overcoming your resistance to finishing your book!

I’m doin the grateful dance….

6 comments on “Fear, Resistance, Distractions, Oh NO!

  1. I certainly know that “unfinished” thing. Last time I looked there were about 84 drafts on my blog dashboard. Hmmm…now what was I thinking when I started that?

  2. Ellen says:

    That is a good book, for sure! I typically do not experience resistance with my painting- it’s other areas that involve tasks I’m not that in to. However, I have found myself resisting the canvas lately. I believe it to be related to my Mom’s recent passing. I have set this Sunday afternoon aside for painting, so, off I go. You are right, Though- as soon as my brush dips into the paint- I’m where I need to be!

    • I went through years of resistance and didn’t find time for painting although I always had my easel up and paints out. I understand your challenges after losing your Mom and all that goes with loss. I recently lost my son and had a difficult time getting back to painting but now that I have, it’s a wonderful escape and joy and I find that it allows me to pace my grieving a little, if that makes sense. Stay in touch and let me know how your painting is going. Your art is a gift and there is someone who needs to see it. I really believe we need to pass on our gifts to others when we can- always helps someone in some way. We may never know about it- but sometimes we’re blessed to hear about it. What a perk that is! Enjoy!

      • Ellen says:

        I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult thing as grieving your son. I do understand about pacing the grief. I spent the entire day yesterday in my studio. When my dad passed, I painted a piece that was transformative to me. It allowed me to finally absorb the meaning of The Law of Detachment. That has changed my life for the better, for sure! I am painting a piece now, that has some similar elements, but it is serving a different purpose. I am so very logical and practical. I observe things deeply and don’t have use of “candy coating” things. This piece is just allowing me to observe both the gruesome and beautiful aspects of the end of life.
        And yes!- What a gift it is! I am thankful every day that I see with my artist’s eyes and mind.

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