borrowing someone else's words

Yesterday I was feeling ... well, seriously pissed off at the state of the world, if you must know ... and I decided to go through my library to see if I could find any words to help me feel any better.  I scanned my bookshelves and came across my copy of The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield (fun fact:  Pressfield, though decidedly and thoroughly American, was born in Trinidad!).  I opened to one of the first pages of the book, and the words, though really having nothing to do with current events,* nonetheless made me feel better.  So I offer them to you here, in case you need to read them too.


"Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet.  It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction.  To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit.  It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.  If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when He endowed each of us with our own unique genius.  Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.  A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center.  It is our soul's seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star's beacon and Polaris.

Every sun casts a shadow, and genius's shadow is Resistance.  As powerful as our soul's call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it.  Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine.  We're not alone if we've been mowed down by Resistance, millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us.  And here's the biggest bitch:  We don't even know what hit us.  I never did.  From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed.  I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

Have you heard this story:  Woman learns she has cancer, six months to live.  Within days she quits her job, resumes the dream of writing Tex-Mex songs she gave up to raise a family (or starts studying classical Greek, or moves to the inner city and devotes herself to tending babies with AIDS).  Woman's friends think she's crazy; she herself has never been happier.  There's a postscript.  Woman's cancer goes into remission.

Is this what it takes?  Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance?  Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence?  How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, compulsive cell-phone use, simply because we don't do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to?  Resistance defeats us.  If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and beknighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business.  Prisons would stand empty.  The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom.  Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff."

Here's to everyone actively working to confront Resistance in their own ways.  And to helping make the world a less insane place.


*  The War of Art is actually about overcoming creative blocks.  If this sounds like something you could use, I strongly recommend it.  It's a quick read, and great kick in the pants.


Images:  Photographed with my Nikon D300, 60mm micro lens.  aperture 3.2, shutter speed 1/400, ISO 320


SongCult of personality by Living Color