"We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to."

~Trever Noah

Do you ever find yourself getting in your own way? Have you ever done battle with procrastination? What’s your approach to working towards your higher calling?

Most everyone has some sort of larger vision or secret dream. Yet far too many of us keep the really good stuff on the back burner while living a life of so-called responsibilities and the things that “should” be done.

Whether it’s writing, painting, starting a business, or saving the rain forest, there are things that you probably know you’d be good at, maybe even the best in the world at, but you might not be doing. It’s no mystery why the rare people who single-mindedly pursue a path that is perfectly suited to them garner so much admiration in our world.

Avoiding what you know deep down in your heart you’re meant to do has innumerable unpleasant side effects. Some people develop bad habits, others create drama in their lives. People cast themselves as victims or mire themselves in doomed relationships or worst of all find themselves consumed by physical maladies that stop them once and for all.

We’ve all heard stories about some unhappy person who has developed a terminal illness and is given six months to live. They say “to hell with it!” and sell or give away everything they own and fly off to Calcutta or some such place to finally pursue their dream of working with orphans or saving the orangutans or filming their documentary, whatever the case may be. The story ends with a miracle, they get a new lease on life and their illness goes into remission.

One way of looking at it is to say that there is an actual force in between us and our higher calling. There must be a name for this invisible pressure it gets in our way whatever we attempt to move up the ladder of consciousness. In his dynamite little book, “The War of Art,” Steven Pressfield dubs it “Resistance.” It’s almost like antimatter in our metaphysical universe, a negative, repellant force whose “ aim is to shove us away, distract us, and prevent us from doing our work.” We experience it as an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential.

It rears its ugly head at every step of the way along the path to our true gifts. Before we take the first step it appears as self-doubt, posing questions to ourselves like “Am I strong/talented/smart enough to do this?” or ”Who am I to try this when (fill in the blank) is already so famous?” or even just “Why me?

Then, assuming we do get going, Resistance appears as distraction. There’s nothing like finally buckling down on your big project to make you realize that it’s time to color coordinate your sock drawer. In today’s hyper-connected world of social media and always-on devices, there’s always one more comment to post or email to check.

The path of progress is pocked with potholes of procrastination. Writing, painting, or practicing your instrument isn’t actually that hard once you’re doing it and in the flow. The hard part is actually sitting down to do it. We hate to tell ourselves “I’m never going to do it.” Resistance seduces us by saying “I’m going to write the Great American novel! (I’m just going to start tomorrow.) ” Resistance wins when this becomes a habit.

The closer we get to our goal, the harder Resistance works to sabotage us. “The danger is greatest when the finish line is in sight.” As the anxiety and fear of the unknown draw closer, the nefarious force of Resistance goes into overdrive. “Gee, I’m about to get published?” How ’bout we blow up a relationship, crash a car, or break a leg? Drawing in a disaster is a great way to put your dream on the back burner, and you get Resistance bonus points for being able to play the victim too.

Pressfield states that “Resistance only opposes in one direction.” It only obstructs movement “ from a lower sphere to a higher.” The path to your calling is like a slide, it takes tenacity and grit to climb it, but it’s easy to slide back down.

Resistance is also proportional to love. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. The more love you feel for your un-manifested vision, the harder Resistance will push back. This is why Resistance can be such an excellent teacher, it’s a reliable compass to point you towards your greatest gifts.

The good news is that Resistance can be beaten. The first step is in simply learning to recognize Resistance in its many forms and developing habits practices to overcome it. Then one has to understand the difference between being an amateur and becoming a professional.

Resistance is a bully. It has no strength of its own; its power derives entirely from our fear of it.” Conquering Resistance is an act of will. Professionals understand that true success is not a flash in the pan, it starts by being committed for the long haul. You have to master your techniques, maintain your sense of humor, and show up no matter what.

Amateurs define themselves by their aspirations. They tend to over-identify themselves with their work. Resistance loves the person who is over-invested in their success and overly terrified of their failure. Professionals take failure in stride, then get up to soldier on another day.

As you dance through life it’s easy to seek the path of least resistance. But if that path seems easy only because it’s a way around your real work, then Resistance is getting the better of you and you’re headed down the road of regret. Like our family friend Suzie in the photo with me above, who has just completed her nursing degree while raising three kids and managing a household, you’ve got a will to put to work in service of your dreams!

May your spring days be bright and sunny and your vision closer every day!

Much love till next week,

M+

Mark Metz
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine

Conscious Dancer Community Spotlight :: Bay Area Dance Week Events by Dance First Members The Breema Center and The Tamalpa Institute!

This week’s Dance First Members Spotlight shines on The Breema Center and The Tamalpa Institute , two of our members who are participating in Bay Area Dance Week! This annual celebration brings together the extended movement community for a week of over 700 complimentary (as in FREE!) classes and workshops so that people can sample the wide variety of dance moves and modalities that thrive here in the Bay. Be sure to attend one or more of these amazing FREE classes!

Bay Area Dance Week at The Breema Center  

Breema: The Art of Being Present with Jon Schreiber
Saturday, April 27, 10:00  – 11:30 AM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Breema: Real Health Is Harmony with Existence with Jon Schreiber
Sunday, April 28, 10:00 AM  – 12:00 PM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Celebrating the Morning: Self-Breema Class
Monday, April 29, 8:15 – 9:00 AM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Breema and the Nine Principles of Harmony
Monday, April 29, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, The Breema Center, Oakland

The Gateway to Being Present: Self-Breema Class
Tuesday, April 30, 5:00 – 6:00 PM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Celebrating the Morning: Self-Breema Class
Wednesday, May 1, 8:15 – 9:00 AM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Introduction to Breema with Jon Schreiber
Wednesday, May 1, 6:30 – 8:30 PM, The Breema Center, Oakland

​Celebrating the Morning: Self-Breema Class
Thursday, May 2, 8:15 – 9:00 AM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Breema: The Art of Being Present
Saturday, May 4, 10:00 – 11:30 AM, The Breema Center, Oakland

Bay Area Dance Week at The Tamalpa Institute

Tamalpa Dances with lu-Hui Chua
Saturday, Apr 27, Mountain Home Studio, Kentfield, CA

Tamalpa Experience with Natan Daskal
Monday, Apr 29, Finnish Hall, Berkeley, CA

Life/Art Dances with Maggie Silverman
Wednesday, May 1, Berkeley Ballet Theatre, Berkeley, CA

Movement Ritual and Dance Explorations – with Joy Cosculluela
Thursday, May 2, Joe Goode Studio, San Francisco, CA