Friday, May 22, 2009

Self Help for Comics Creators Series – Overcoming Emotional Resistance

Unlike procrastination, which can be defined as “the act or habit of putting things off till later” and “repeated delay or postponement”, resistance is a slightly different phenomenon. I actually define it as a “feeling-based internal response that acts as a block to action or change, or opposes something”. Therefore, procrastination is the “act of not acting” whereas emotional resistance is more like an “internal force that prevents motion”.

For me, emotional resistance manifests as a heavy sludgy feeling around the chest area as if I am about to plough through thick mud. I usually experience emotional resistance as I am about to start a new project or am confronted with something that will take me out of my comfort zone. I've found that the best solution is to acknowledge resistance front on. I do not try and hide from it, I do not turn my back on it, I do not try to get around it and I do not fight it. I actually name it.

What does this mean? Well, there are differences in the feeling energy depending on where the emotional resistance originates from in the mind body spirit. I endow each variation of resistance with its rightful name. For example, it can be "laziness", "tiredness", “mind space switch" [from one project to another]; or the fear-based "self doubt". Once named, that variant of resistance loses much of its potency and that is when I take action and start working on the very thing I was resisting. What I discover then is that instead of struggling through it, the mud metaphorically drops from chest height to maybe knee height and I can wade through it until I eventually walk out free.

I also allow for it. Every time I start a new project I will invariably go through one to five working days of resistance (average three days) before I shed it and move fully into the action and find my momentum. Being aware of this idiosyncrasy about me, I factor in a three-day resistance time frame into my creative work schedule. It's not good or bad; it just is and I accept it now as part of my personality.

If you're experiencing similar dynamics of resistance and you're contemplating moving away from a challenge rather than into it, the question you need to ask yourself is: “Will I grow and improve as a person if I complete this task/perform this deed/take this action/break this pattern/confront this situation?

If the answer is “yes” then the keys in the right sequence are:

1. Close your eyes and experience that internal resistance inside you;

2. Give it a visual, audio or feeling value;

3. Name that resistance (sounds like a TV gameshow!), eg. “insecurity”;

4. Assign a time frame to it to move through it: and

5. Take action (small or larger steps it doesn’t matter).

There is another variation on resistance, and that is the intuition based response, which I call “intuitive resistance”. As already established, your true self as encompassed by mind body spirit, may communicate to you through a feeling of resistance to say that you are not on the right track or that there is an energy leak of some sort. Provided that there is no internal sabotage, it may be a feeling-based message to say you are straying off the inner pathway that reflects your true nature and calling.

For example, a few years ago after I made the decision to give up my hypnotherapy/PSH practice in the city to work full time as a comics writer and editor, but then I thought I could somehow juggle both careers at the same time because I loved them both. I began to set up a new home office in a new location that would be conducive to both writing and seeing clients. However, when it came time for me to do all the marketing and to write the promotional material for the therapy side of things, I encountered that heavy sludgy feeling in my chest. This time the internal resistance was so strong I ended up procrastinating for weeks. In the end I accepted what my intuition was attempting to communicate to me through this particular form of resistance – I was to say goodbye to therapy altogether and to concentrate wholly and solely on my writing. I needed full focus and commitment to do one or the other, and the timing was now right and my true self was now ready to take a huge leap of faith and embrace professional writing full time. As soon as I came to that realisation, the feeling of resistance evaporated inside of me to be replaced by a feeling of relief, excitement of new prospects and contentment of being on track.

As mentioned previously, it is those deep feelings that signal and provide us with direction in life.

An airplane can overcome the resistance of the air and go in the desired direction, but an ordinary balloon just drifts haphazardly. You need to decide whether you are the airplane or the balloon!

© Julie Ditrich, 2009