One of my favorite books is “Do What you Love, the Money Will Follow” by Marsha Sinetar. As a serial entrepreneur who now coaches others on how to start their own businesses, I have read that paperback book so many times that the binder tore in half and the pages have turned yellow.
Sinetar was on the forefront of the “what’s your why?” and “follow your passion” movement, encouraging workers of all stripes to tap into their intuitive wisdom and trust that eventually they would be able to support themselves by doing what they loved. I was inspired by her encouragement, but also appreciated how she wrote about the tormenting power of Resistance.
It takes a lot of self determination, discipline and faith to listen to your heart. Breaking free from the pack and following your Muse takes courage. This sort of creative iteration can be scary and unpredictable.
Resistance is like an old friend that tells us it is OK to binge watch our favorite show on Netflix or spend endless hours checking email. Of course those activities, in and of themselves, can be relaxing after a long day. However, when we do them in order to avoid hearing our own voice, reading a book to increase our knowledge or taking a risk, they are simply an avoidance tool.
Last week I watched all 3 seasons of Arrested Development and listened to the entire “Bad with Money” podcast by Gaby Dunn (3 years of episodes). While Arrested Development IS funny and a mindless distraction, and admittedly I learned a lot about personal finance from Gaby and her guests, I was surprised at the amount of time and energy I spent on those activities.
That same week, I also rode up to Lake Forest on my motorcycle, holed up in a gorgeous Starbucks and wrote for 2 hours. I gave myself an assignment to write about my college years, and to write until I had nothing else to say. I wrote about how I discovered Feminism for the first time while living at The Women’s Center at Beloit College. I wrote about how creativity offered me a way out of a destructive lifestyle. I wrote about how I was introduced to self preservation for the first time in my adult life.
That writing session was cathartic, reflective, productive and exhausting. In the end, I had written four paragraphs to add to my memoir, but I had also viewed that formative chapter of my life through the lens of my 53 year old self. It was WORK, painful and poignant. The whole time I was writing it, however, I felt this intense energy and sense of purpose.
I think I scared myself. Hanging out with my Muse in this fashion went against my old habits of Resistance, while also allowing me to see my full potential as a writer. Inviting her in and giving her space to express herself opened me up to unbridled thoughts, opinions and feelings. In a sense, it is all I want to do with my remaining days here on earth – to think and reflect and write and concretize all that has happened so I can move forward. Everything else feels like a distraction.
Perhaps Resistance is there as a buffer between who we know we can become and who we are today, like a brake pedal that slows us down when we feel we are moving too fast. Growth can feel out of control at times, but stagnation assumes we have all the time in the world. We don’t.
So next time Resistance tries to divert you from your path, gently acknowledge it, thank it for coming and then jump back into your journey with both feet. Finding your voice may feel disorienting, as if you are in a new country, but the new you will emanate like a kaleidoscope of shining, colorful reflections.