I captured this view outside of my home a few weeks ago. When I saw its glory, I couldn’t predict its impact. For a few minutes, I kept a close vigil as magenta melted into the pink, the sky igniting in this fiery palette of other-worldliness. I paused, taking a few deep breaths, absorbing the universal, knowing minutes before I didn’t even want to make the trek outside. What if? What if I hadn’t opened the door or pulled out my camera? This scene lasted mere minutes – if I had waited too long, I’d miss the transformation. And I wouldn’t even know it. Later that evening, I couldn’t shake the spectacular sky and perhaps what it might be trying to whisper to me. I believe the universal offers subtle hints, beckons for my attention and alerts me to what I ignore.
The last two weeks before this view unfolded with a frantic pace. There were deadlines to meet, tasks that needed immediate attention and a sense of urgency to complete what languished in the periphery. Within the midst of crossing off items on my to-do list, my routine slipped out my hands. I didn’t exercise, neglected my morning pages, skimped on reading time and put off other necessary tasks for my personal contentment. There were other responsibilities, I let linger – the ones that startle you awake at 2:00 a.m. in the morning. Under my breath, I kept saying, “I will make it a priority tomorrow,” knowing fully well uttering these words weren’t enough to quell my resistance.
I’ve often thought about the word, resistance. When thinking about this concept, I reach for Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art. In his work, he describes what is underneath the terrain of resistance. “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 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.” I turn to Pressfield’s words when I fall out a pattern that I’ve identified that is good for me to maintain.
In midlife, though, there isn’t much time to resist. In our youth, we are given the luxury of do-overs, second chances, and the damage isn’t as hard to overcome. With age, though, resistance isn’t an admirable path. It is the quickest way to solidify regrets. I think a better way to move through midlife is to use the word, “now” to combat what we resist or fear. I didn’t want to exercise today, but instead of saying tomorrow, I squeezed in a quick workout. The blank page offered its own intimidation – I had put off this blog post because I didn’t know exactly how it would come together. And maybe the same has happened to you. My point, though, is scheduling time to exercise, getting some words down the page helps makes resistance a little less intimidating.
These recent reflections paved the way for me to conceptualize my choices, making better judgments on where and how I want to spend my time. I know it is important and the sky reminded me the magnitude of learning how not to resist.