Creativity Q&A: How to Turn Resistance into Passion

Q:  Hi Katherine! Love your Facebook page and your site too. Having to think about my journey honestly helped me so much personally. Thanks for the occasion to do so. Now I would love your support as I afront a lot of dreams, which are coming true… I am trying to work through old habits of resistance and procrastination!

(Amy B., Opera Singer)

A:  Ah, Amy. The subject of resistance is one of my favorites. We all must confront it many times in the creative process, especially when dreams are coming true. This is one of the most common places to get stuck. But resistance has a place and a purpose in the creative process.


Creative Anorexia… Station 3 in the Wheel

Resistance and procrastination are active and passive versions of avoidance. And avoidance is the fundamental energy of station 3 in the Wheel of Creativity, which I call Anorexia. It is the cunning shadow side of desire and, when left unrecognized, produces a state of paralysis, both painful and debilitating.

I define anorexia as the compulsive avoidance of that which nourishes you, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. It is the automatic No that follows your authentic Yes. It is designed to slow you down, but it does not need to paralyze you.

In fact, Anorexia can be a powerful turning point in the creative process, where energy is built to move you from your dreams to reality. But, because its power is so great, you have to learn to work with it.

Four Keys to Transform Resistance into Passion:

  1. Honor your resistance. Our usual cure for the resistance/procrastination duo is to push through them or ignore them. But a cure is not the same as healing. Avoidance is the natural expression of an inner conflict, which must be resolved or it will be repeated. By embracing your No habit as a choice, you empower yourself to release it as a worn-out coping mechanism.
  2. Choose what you love. One of the most powerful benefits of resistance is the way it spotlights what you love. It marks the boundary of your creative Promised Land. The more you avoid taking action on your passion, the more painful it becomes. So, use this time to witness the beauty of your longing. Observe the No, and practice the Yes. Choose what you love, first in small, finite ways, then gradually taking on bigger challenges over time.
  3. Take advantage of the torque. Anorexia is the final station in the Vision quarter of the Wheel; the next quarter is Exploration. The transition from the dream to reality, from your vision to your work in the world, takes energy, power and force. Think rocket-on-launch-pad. Cycling again and again through Yes and No eventually creates the torque for liftoff. In this station, observe how energy builds until you have enough force to leave the way it’s always been.
  4. Cut your losses. The tricky part is making the commitment. If, when that force is reached, you do not achieve launch, creative energy can destroy you. It is time to let go and step into the Promised Land. Be willing to make commitments from which there is no turning back, take the risk, and burn your launchpad.

I have also found in my research and work that the people who succeed are those who have a ground team in place for their creative journey. But that’s about Station 4!

Thanks so much for your excellent question, Amy! Keep us posted on your progress!

And continue to live CREATIVE!


P.S. Do you have a question for me about living your life creatively? Fire away! I’ll be answering questions every Friday. If this answer has been helpful for you, please share it.