Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What stops us

Steven Pressfield calls it "Resistance."  Julia Cameron calls it our "Censor."  What is it?  It's that mean voice in our head that tells us we can't do it.  Sometimes it's not even a voice in our own head, but the voice of someone we love.  You wouldn't think so, but sometimes those people who are the closest to us are also getting in the way of our dream.  That longed for dream - that play we want to write, the painting we want to paint, the song we want to sing - whatever it is that we really want to do.  Our dream is always met with something that makes it really, really hard to get going.  Even if we can get going, it may show up again and say, "this is stupid."  "This is the dumbest thing you have EVER painted!"  And Yes, it happens to me.  Sometimes it will take me all day to get in the studio and paint.  And on days like yesterday, when I am finally in the studio working, it will say something so horrible to me that I wish it would just take form so I could slap it in the face.  Funny thing is, it seems to come from within my own mind.  (and I am not quite ready to slap myself in the face.  Yet.)

It seems that any time we want to change our lives for the better we are met with this force.  You might not understand what I am talking about.  Or maybe you think it only happens to artists and creative people.  So let me bring it closer to home.  Have you ever tried to start a new exercise plan?  Lose weight?  Have you ever wanted to quit a high-paying, secure job to do something that is more spiritually fulfilling or to serve others?  Those kinds of endeavors are also prime targets for the Censor.  Resistance.  Fear.  Shame.  Call it what you will, it is real, and it will make it SO HARD for you to live your dream.
"Where Treasure Lies."  Oil on Canvas, 40 x 30 inches.  ©Karine Swenson 2011
 It was a revelation for me to first read about this force.  I thought I alone experienced it.  I even thought there was something wrong with me.  I thought to myself, "if I know I want to be an artist, WHY can't I just go after it?"  I first found out about this whole thing by reading Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way.  Then, when I read Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art, I felt better.  I wasn't alone, and what I was suffering from had solutions.  Maybe not a cure, but ways to push that mean old Critic out of the way so I could keep on going.  So if any of what I am writing about sounds familiar to you, take heart.  Go out and get yourself one (or both) of these two books.  And then, whatever you do, take a step towards your dream.  You will be surprised what happens when you do.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”     ~Marianne Williamson


Cynthia Schelzig said...

I feel the heat in your latest piece...it is gorgeous too! Liked what you had to say ....feel like I just had my early morning "pep talk"...thanks, who doesn´t need that at this hour:) your foto of the tree....I just love the desert. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Patty said...

I always look forward to reading your blog. Probably the hardest exercise I do is pushing the critic out of my studio. Thanks for reminding me I'm not alone!