#3 How to Trick Resistance

“Well, you’re off to a bad start!”

I have been building a new habit of writing each evening. I set aside about 30 minutes to
simply write about creativity, the value of practicing an art form, or
sometimes, what I am learning from the practice.
Well, I just missed three evenings!

Each time I had a really good reason not to write.

I recently read James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. I appreciate his ideas about
starting new habits and stopping old ones that no longer serve us.

In one chapter he discusses how when we miss or skip a day as we are building a new habit, we
have simply missed a day. Not a big deal.

He then goes on: when we miss two or three times, we are starting another habit, and not the
one we originally intended, perhaps even it’s opposite.

I’m puzzled because I enjoy these times I sit down and write. I feel enriched. I have fun! So why don’t
I eagerly sit down each evening and write away?

Or perhaps, you might be asking why don’t I practice my instrument? Or why don’t I take
that evening walk?

We are experiencing Resistance. A human condition!

Resistance is a chameleon, fashioning itself on our state of mind, emotional or physical state.
It can convince us that we are too tired, too stressed, too bored…

If I have worked hard all day, I might have the thought: “You deserve to relax!” “You had
such a stressful day, just cool it.” Or, “How are you going to go for a walk
now, it is so cold out.”

Resistance knows our weak points, our Achille heels and goes right for them. It knows us
so well because resistance is from our own minds. These thoughts are our own.
Perhaps, you have someone in your life who supports these thoughts, believing they
are helping you. Doesn’t this make it harder!

You may have heard that neurologists have learned that our brains are wired to stop us from
taking risks, this includes trying something new like building a new habit.

Resistance, in whatever forms it takes with you, is your mind trying to protect you.

Resistance is fear based.

Once we understand this fact, resistance loses its power over us. We have more of a
choice when we recognize these are simply thoughts which trigger our physical
or emotional reactions. We always have the ability to choose our reactions once
we are aware of them.

When you are having a nightmare, there is a way to disarm the monster chasing you. You stop running, turn and face it and ask: “What do you want? Who are you?” The monster will respond.

Likewise, we can face off resistance, rather than looking the other way to Instagram or

The trick is this.

Let’s say you have a plan to engage in your creative practice or do your new workout regime.
You set aside the time. But then, you find yourself coming up with all sorts of
excuses not to follow through.

First, acknowledge this is your resistance. You may have to do some detective work to
recognize the form your resistance is taking this time.

Then, Trick your resistance!

Tell yourself you will only practice, exercise, write for 15 to 20 minutes. Then if you are
too tired, stressed etc., to continue, you will stop.

Resistance grumbles: “Well, ok, but only 15 minutes. No more!”

You begin. And before you know it, 30, 40, even 60 minutes have gone by.

And, surprisingly, resistance has slipped away. Until the next time!

I practice this “trick” often. I am amazed at the constantly changing forms my resistance
takes. I have to say, it is creative! And this trick works for me whenever
I recognize my resistance. I am still learning to do so.

I hope the trick works for you!

I would enjoy hearing what forms your resistance is taking with you and if the trick worked for you.

Email me at: art@rhaeamaurel.com.
We can start a conversation!

#2 Who gets to be creative? You do!

Many people mistakenly believe that creativity is some esoteric practice, the right to be creative given to only a chosen few.

For example, there is the belief that if one “can’t draw a straight line” then they cannot possibly do anything creative with a pencil, a pen or a brush. But in reality crooked, spiraling, circling lines are far more interesting than straight ones.

Try a little experiment.

Draw a straight line. ( yep, you can use a ruler!)….

Now draw a crooked, circling, spiraling line….

Which was more fun to make? Which looks more interesting?

In Wikipedia, “creativity” is defined as “forming something new and somehow valuable. The created item may be an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke.”

That leaves us a lot of space!

Have you done something creative today? Had a new thought? Planned and prepared a meal, (it turned out delicious, by the way!)

Perhaps you worked on a business proposal.

Did you take a photo of your pet with your phone?

Have you told a joke?

So much of what we do each day includes using our creative energy. We may take for granted that we can come up with an idea, and make something new and tangible out of our thoughts. Not even considering ourselves as being creative.

We constantly have the choice to engage our creative energy or not.

I can work on a painting all day. If I simply go through the motions, I might have a painting at the end of the day. But when I really look at it, perhaps the next morning, I find it is lacking something vital.

We have all had the experience of trying to read a book but find we can’t get into it. It doesn’t engage our curiosity or interest, not spark our imagination.

Or, we can write a business email using our imagination (our creative energy) and not only enjoy writing it but receive a positive response from our colleague.

In this world where practicality reigns supreme, creative energy is often buried under the more practical concerns of “real life” or duty.

It is a fact, creative energy is an integral part of each one of us. If buried, it can be unburied with some care and attention. Search for and find this sparkling gem hidden away in those dusty corners. It is there, waiting for you. Like a true gem, it will grow brighter with polishing!

How to begin?

Simply set the intention, feel the desire to be creative and start in small, simple ways. Acknowledge and appreciate yourself when you recognize you just did, said, or wrote something creative.

When we choose to truly engage ourselves and our imagination in whatever we are doing – from painting, to writing a story, an email, (or a blog!), to cooking an inspired meal, – we are using our creative energy and sharing it with others. This is the gift we can all give.

A challenge for you! If you play with these ideas and start to notice you are seeing or feeling something different in you or your life, send me an email and share your experience. I would be so pleased to hear from you and to share your creativity!

If this article speaks to you, I appreciate your thoughts and comments, simply email me at art@rhaeamaurel.com.

#1  A Fun Way to Lower Your Stress Level and Raise Your Energy

Seems like in the last few years, a lot of us have spent 3 to 9 days on the couch recovering from one of the nasty viruses going about.

Recently, I had my turn. There I was limp on my couch for the 4th day in a row. Taken down by a nasty virus that left me with no energy. Did you catch that one too?

I stared listlessly at my painting-in-progress with no inspiration to pick up a brush. The many books I had piled up beside me, that I sincerely wanted to read, awoke no interest.

Back to Netflix or, a nap?

No way around a nasty virus, only through it.

Then, about the 5th day, a friend brought me her delicious chicken soup and a book, “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.” I found I could read it easily and really enjoyed it, distracted from my misery. There are many subtle layers to his story. Charles Mackesy’s drawings intrigued and inspired me.

I picked up a drawing pad and a couple of pens and started playing, copying his lively lines, learning how to manipulate the pen and brush as he does. Time passed. I felt more like myself. After venturing into creative play, my recovery grew less tiresome. My energy and spirits rose.

Creativity won over the blues of too-long illness!

Playing is often a way-in whenever we feel lost or stuck, unable to create. Playing gives us pleasure, energy follows. Creative play is not about doing it right and exists far, far away from the cloud of perfectionism.

It does not matter how you play, or with what. Playing with an instrument or your voice. Playing with movement, as kicking up your heels to a favorite song. Playing with words, writing a nonsense poem, or a funny story. Playing with a recipe in the kitchen, creating a pink desert. Playing with colors, as children do with coloring and paints.

As adults, we often feel the pressure to achieve, to accomplish our goals, to succeed.

We seldom think of allowing ourselves the time to play creatively. We often believe we can’t possibly take the time.

Yet, creative play actually gives us more space and energy, lifts our spirits, lightens our day. A sense of more time follows.

Try it! Come away for a short break and play! Do you dare give yourself a mini vacation from your to-do list? Only talking about ten-twenty minutes here!

Turn on that music that always makes you want to move, pick up a pen or paint brush and doodle, sing out a song, whip up some cookies, pick up your guitar in the corner.

This short break could lead to your taking another small step, perhaps one that could change your life for the better. You could pick up some new guitar strings, order a sketch pad and pens online, pick up your journal and ease back into your writing practice, check out a dance class at the gym. Endless possibilities!

What do you want to play today?

If you enjoyed this, have thoughts or comments you’d like to share, simply email me. What my readers think is helpful and interesting to me.

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