Snow days, grace days really, allow us the opportunity to relax, sleep in or to cross more off of the “to do” list. Usually, I belong to the first category, flowing through the day doing whatever I want to do, not much of a list maker or worried about crossing those items out of existence. But this winter, when I rediscovered the joy of these grace days, I have found myself ticking things off the list: laundry, bills, working out, cleaning and on and on until I look at the clock at the vanished hours and wonder where my day went to hide. In one of the grace days this week, all I wanted when the day began was to finish reading a book in which the author was breaking my heart and to write and edit my poems and creative nonfiction. And yet, at the end of the day, nothing. Much accomplished, yes. But what I really wanted done? No.
I must be an adult and make sure the city continues to send me water through their pipes and to pick up my recycling and garbage so I do understand the importance of paying those bills. But as it has happened repeatedly this bleak winter, I began to wonder if there was perhaps more going on than that. These things taking and consuming my time keep me away from what I want to do and to achieve my dreams and goals that I must do.
Steven Pressfield in the The War of Art points the problem back at me. “Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. Resistance is the enemy within,” he wrote in the book. So the fight is with myself. Instead of putting fingers to keyboard or pen to paper, I turn to bill paying or house cleaning or whatevering. Resistance, Pressfield further writes, will take any form to keep us from taking action, “protean” and unconscionable at its very nature. “It will pledge anything to get a deal, then double-cross you as soon as your back is turned. If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” So those deals I try to make of one more load of laundry and then I write can be my very undoing.
Now, the war is on, me fighting against that very nature within me. So excuse the house if it isn’t perfectly clean or if the clothes get a little (or a lot) wrinkled. I’m out to kick Resistance’s ass.