Are You Resisting The Good Things?

Feb 9, 2015 | Creativity

mark chadwick

(mark chadwick)

This feeling used to come over me when great things were laid out in front of me and I was right near the finish line of a big thing I wanted to do or make…

Suddenly people would pop out of the woodwork to torment me for their own fun… Strange things would happen that were really troubling… Or something inside of my mind would spin (those circular thoughts, rumination, worry) at the lack of control I had in the situation and I would get so stuck that it became monumental to move forward.

I created all of it.

For me it was fear. Resistance to good things.

It’s like washing all the dishes but leaving the last few in there…

Why do we do it? How do we stop it?

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know from years of staring down my own resistance that there are many ways to move forward anyway. Even if you are breathlessly doing it!

flow painting


People ask me why I am a big champion of doing what feels good and avoiding what feels bad.

It’s easy. It’s typically the right thing to do.

But in the case of becoming open where you’ve been closed, healing where you’ve been hurt or creating when you’ve been stuck, it’s more nuanced than always “doing what feels good.”

What would feel good today is a trip to the spa instad of six hours or intense filming and about 60 emails. But the filming and the emails are ultimately both what I want and need.   That pull to check out, disappear and do something else instead of facing a challenge is… resistance.


(amy jalapeñ


Steven Pressfield writes a ton about resistance in his iconic book on creativity, “The War Of Art.”

“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”

That’s a rich quote.  The more meaning something has the more loaded with emotion it is.  And the more resistance might be there.

I have always found that my adventurous friends deal so much better with their own resistance because fear- otherwise known as vulnerability when talking about most of life- is a pleasure-feeling to people who trust themselves. It’s like a rush or a high to be out on a limb taking a risk.

Learning to love the feeling of “not knowing what comes next” is something of a habit to practice in my experience.  The first handful of times its incredibly terrifying and once you get through it,  then it switches to somewhat fun.  Now, creatively, I feel like I’m sinking if I’m not out on a limb.

The only way I know how to own this habit and practice it is to stare down fear and do things anyway.


One of the sly-est ways I see my own resistance is where I protest, complain or otherwise create a big story to avoid something that scares me.  It feels justified, it feels “right” to be self-protective.  But… it creates a big wall, a wall I’ve never seen anything good come from.

If you are letting fear become a theme – a great big righteous story filled with justifications and reasons- chances are you aren’t living as self-expressed as you could be.


Typically if I can’t quite find my way through a project, lean into a relationship or even get the laundry fully done I’ve come to realize that “what comes next”, after I’ve finished that hard-to-complete task, is either unknown or terrifying.

It’s convenient to be stuck on a step in the process. You never have to see the next thing.  You have an excuse.

“Gotta do the dishes before I start working today…”

And the dishes never get done. Neither does the work.

Somehow, magically, though, other people’s problems, random drama and junk find there way into the day.

What are you trying to avoid by getting busy, getting sucked into other people’s problems or simply refusing for some very justifiable reason to actually finish something?

I asked myself that all the time.  I still do sometimes, especially when I’m really not moving forward.

Instead of trying to finish that stuck project, look at what comes next and get clear on it for yourself.  I didn’t want to finish my one project because I had no plans after that.

Yep, I would be lost without somethig to do once this project was done.

So, I reasoned that not finishing it would be better than feeling lost.

A little future planning can help you see way beyond the right now, and it can pull you forward, even through the scary steps, to get to where you want to be.


In relaxation you have much more control than in fear.  I didn’t understand that for a long time. I resisted that calm. I thought it meant I wasn’t doing all I can to be excellent, as if stress was excellent.

What a habit!

All the stuff we find ourselves doing in patterns and cycles are habits.  

Meditation, exercise and sleep are great ways to start breaking down those habits…

Of course, the best way to break those habits is just doing the things that are unfamilar (but excitingly worth it!) anyway.

You can do it!!!

xoxo Dana

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