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Thoughts on Resistance

The other day I read a blog post by my dear fellow artist Jessica Serran who wrote about Resistance (yes, capital R).
Most artists I’ve met know this feeling well and I’m no exception. I meet Resistance every time I start to work, and for a long time I just tried to push it away to get at least some work done. I also tried to acknowledge Resistance to make it go away, to talk to it and to learn from it. Those approaches didn’t work: Resistance does not simply go away.

When I read the article the other Jessica wrote, those lines really caught my interest:

I was thinking about it again this morning on my walk to the studio. And remembering how Matthew Barney uses the concept of resistance. As a former jock and student of biology he understands that in order to build new muscle, we have to tear the ones that are there. And that in order to tear our muscles, we need, drum roll please…

Resistance.

Every body builder knows this. You go to the gym. You lift something really heavy. Your muscles tear, and then you get stronger. That’s just how it works.

And then you return and do it all over again a few days later.

This concept is an entirely new point of view to me: I don’t have to get rid of Resistance. I don’t need to get rid of Resistance because it is part of the process. Furthermore, it makes me stronger. The next step is to find a way to work with it.

I like the sports analogy.

I started to think about Resistance in a sporty approach.
I talked to the hubby about this since he regularly exercises in the gym. He said, in order to grow your muscles, you better try to tear your muscles without overstraining them. If you stress them to much, you’ll only hurt yourself. His point is, that we need to find a balance between gently stretching our boundaries and keeping ourselves sane and healthy.

I wanted to do any kind of sports for years, and occasionally started jogging or cycling or so. But I only did it once or twice and then stopped doing it for months. Even though I always felt better afterwards, it somehow was to difficult to keep on doing it and I got angry with myself and disappointed all the time.

The problem was that I didn’t like the types of sport I was doing.
A year and a half ago I started taking ballet classes. This is a thing I always wanted but I had an image of myself as a rather non-ballet type of girl. Out of desperation I just wanted to give it a try. – When I started, everything changed. I love to be in the dance studio, and I’m kind of really pissed off when I have to cancel a class due to something else. I now have a barre at home and exercise regularly and voluntarily and enjoy most aspects of the learning process.

It’s the same with yoga. I started taking yoga classes last autumn, and I so much look forward to every class because I can see how the sports change the way I move and think about myself.

Back to the arts.

I had a returning thought over the last days:
I always knew that I am a person who loves to move and to sport around. At the same time I presumed that I must be wrong about this since no kind of sports seems to be attractive enough to keep me going with it. Then I started ballet and yoga, and I just loved it. I could do it all the time. Aha! The knowing was right, the assumption was wrong. What if that’s true for the arts, too?

I always knew that I am meant to be an artist. At the same time I presumed that I must be wrong about this since no kind of art seems to be attractive enough to keep me going with it. What if the knowing is right and the assumption is wrong, too? I’m tired of struggling with the arts as I’ve been struggling with the sports before (I do it a lot). I now know that I just have to find my art form to make my peace with that Resistance. I don’t have a solution yet. Yet I know I will.

What about you? Where do you feel Resistance, how do you meet it or work with it? Share your thoughts in the comments, lift some weights with me!

Much love to you,
Jessica

Jessica Serran is not only an amazing artist and psycho-cartographer, she also runs a crowdfunding campaign for her beautiful art project, Field Guide to the Czech Psyche. Jessica is exploring „the pieces of life that make us who we are. It is an investigation into the threads that matter and the things that stick“, and you should go and support it. – I already did!