A while back, when I was first starting my business a close friend recommended Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art”. I resisted this book – ironically on the topic of resistance in your creative life.  I finally picked it up after a 5th person recommended it a few weeks ago. The gist of the book is that our deepest callings in life, creatively or otherwise (to run, to paint, to go to Argentina…) burn so bright that they cast a shadow that we experience as resistance. Think of all the big and small excuses we make for not doing the thing we know we love to do. The things we may or may not already know are good for our soul.
 
His is an entirely different sort of “self help” book. He calls out all the games we play to resist doing the things that we love, the things that will elevate ourselves from the drudgery of everyday life.  Then he helps the reader wage a war to conquer this resistance and step into our creative light. It’s a lot. And it’s exhilarating.
 
My biggest offender for resistance is art. Drawing and painting. I know I love it, I know it is good for me, and I can come up with every excuse not to do it. I signed myself up for my first painting class since high school and vowed to go to this class and one figure drawing class each week.
 
So Thursday evening rolls around. I can feel the excuses and sluggishness mounting. Wavering on whether or not to go to painting class. Pouring outside.  Cleverhood left at Drew’s. No front bike light. Back light low. Now I’m late. I’m telling myself that I deserve to rest on the couch and read a book. Plenty of very decent excuses. I could have taken the bait. I could have stayed home.
 
But I did not. I got on my bike in the warm pouring rain. Threw on my defunct Shower’s Pass rain slicker (after only 2 years!). I am insane to ride in the pouring rain to art class, a small plastic grocery bag covering the paper sticking out of my bag. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten something essential for my work. I get to the corner – about half way now. I’m waiting at a light in the pouring rain. My jeans soaked. How insane to go to art class in soaking clothing. I look up at the sky and there is a beautiful hole in the clouds where the sun is shining through. The pastel colors and light through the clouds is divine. The whole scene is divine. Uncomfortable and messy yes, but beautiful and exhilarating with untold treasures waiting on the difficult path.  This is the war of art, playing out in my mostly mundane life.
 
I went to class and finished my first painting since high school. Afterwards I was so exhilarated that I could not sleep.


"Jazz Apple" 1st painting since high school, 14 yrs ago 

“Jazz Apple” 1st painting since high school, 14 yrs ago 

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