Thursday, March 22, 2007

Theoretical Thursday

I'm full of theoretical ideas today. The first is that Resistance appears in greater concentration when things are going well and the path is lit to your better self (for those who are still catching up, try reading Steven Pressfield's The War of Art and then you will know all wisdom).

That last statement sounded a little woo-woo, but bear with me here. One can imagine a person who is a telemarketer thinking to herself, "I'm going to help the suffering" and flying to Darfur, and doing good things (something I wish for myself many times each day). The movies make it seem as if the pathway clears for everyone when they decide this. But sometimes, more often than not, things are not clear, disillusionment sets in and the person who had such pure strivings is left feeling wrung out. That's Resistance.

Now, imagine a person who has helped for months in Darfur deciding that she is done and deciding to go home to be a telemarketer. I would say the path home is much less "resisted" than the path to her incredible act of self-sacrifice (oh, that we all would pray for Darfur today). So here's my theory, and yes, I stole it from Pressfield, and it's that as you clean up your life (not that I or you have to head to a war zone or a refugee camp), don't be surprised if things don't go your way. They might, but also, you're going to get people around you who just cannot handle that you're going, or they cannot fathom going themselves and so they take it out on you.

For example, my brother traveled to Israel last year, he also was able to visit Jordan to see Petra (yes, Indiana Jones's Petra), and he loved his time in the Middle East. He's planning to return in 2008 for another trip and hopefully to get to Egypt to see the Valley of the Kings and the pyramids. He called me last week to tell me about the Resistance he's getting from people about his return trip. Heck, my brother would live in Israel or Egypt quite happily and never think he was missing out on much back here in the old US of A. He was astounded to find out how many people were so afraid of the very mention of the Middle East that they begged him, warned him, threatened him, and cried when they found out he might go back. It's not that they will stop him from going, but that they thought he would die, just by going over there. It's true, it is a possibility, but my brother said he felt completely safe in Israel and for much of Jordan (up until the end when they were threatening to close the borders on his travel group and he faced spending the night there without knowing where he could stay.) He was dumbfounded and had to realize that he might be going where, literally, people fear to tread. It's Resistance, because in our society, doing anything different, whether you write, teach, sing, work like Dilbert, or freelance, is looked upon fearfully by many of our peers.

Don't be discourage today if you are attempting something no one thinks you can (or should) do. If at the least, know that this blog, and myself, are rooting you on.

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