“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”
– Steven Pressfield, Author of The War of Art
It’s been said that the closer you get to living your purpose the more resistance you will feel. I am here to testify to the maddening truth of this notion. A decade and a half ago I was bold, courageous, and chased my dreams with great enthusiasm. I was also directionless, so my fervor led me down a variety of dead end roads. Then several major life events demanded a lengthy hiatus from the early incarnations of my passion. I stepped away long enough to let my drive fizzle, if that was what needed to happen. But I never could shake that stirring inside that said I had more to offer. I wasn’t done, I was merely on a break.
That downtime gave me the chance to reevaluate what truly fueled my fire. What excited me? What energized me? What felt most important? What did I have to offer? And finally what should I do about it? I found myself drawn to personal growth, meaningful conversations, observations of the world around me, and written reflections of my journey to living my best life.
My vision came into focus
Suddenly my vision came into focus: Poetic Soul is a lifestyle. And this website is a space to offer my written reflections and word-based products inspired by the life philosophy of prioritizing Authenticity, Balance, and Connection. (The ABCs of Poetic Soul)
Resistance reared its ugly head.
Now that I had a clear purpose, resistance reared its ugly head, sporting a variety of disguises. Fear (that nasty old liar) told me I had nothing important to say, and if I did have something important to say someone else had probably already said it better. Distraction (that fickle flaky fool) told me, well, all of the things—anything to pull my focus away from my purpose. Procrastination (that frustrating time-sapper) told me there were 100 more important things that needed to be done before I could start fulfilling my purpose. (My kitchen cabinets were never so organized!) Overwhelm (that looming scary beast) paralyzed me in my tracks. But the one who had the most to say was Perfectionism (that nagging, nit-picky, impossible to satisfy, confidence-crushing %$^@#*&.) Perfectionism told me good enough is never good enough. It pointed out every weakness and shortcoming and shone a gigantic spotlight upon them. It told me I could please everyone if I just tried a little harder, found the right words, used the right tools, and learned to do everything everyone else is doing, even if it meant betraying myself. It begged me to agonize over every micro-decision until I missed the whole point of my purpose. It held a magnifying glass over my doubts and fears and convinced me that my inner critic was the only voice that could be trusted.
Be the doer.
So I did nothing. (Well, not nothing. I did oodles of worrying and self-sabotaging.) But you know what the difference is between you and that person who’s doing the thing you love and wish you could do? They’re doing it. That’s the difference. The difference is the doers.
After years of holding myself back behind myriad excuses, I’m ready to be the doer–not the “perfect” doer, because perfection is an illusion–but the person who actually does the thing she loves. I’ll do it slowly, I’ll do it badly, then I’ll do it better next time. I will falter. I will stumble. Then I’ll stand back up. But I will do it.
It’s not you, it’s me. (But it’s probably us.)
What you will find here is a documentation of my own personal journey. It’s not a prescription for anyone else’s life, nor a judgment of it. It’s not about convincing others to be like me, but to encourage them to figure out how best to be themselves. It’s not about offering answers, it’s about posing important questions for others to fill in their own blanks. This blog is my story, but my hope is that while you’re here you might find something in my story that is useful to your own.
It is important to note that I am a member of my own audience. I need to read these words just as much as I need to write them. When I preach my personal philosophies, I am issuing reminders to myself. We all need reminders about the things we already know, and Richard Bach says, “You teach best what you most need to learn.” So let’s teach and learn together. Let’s be authentic and open. Let’s check perfection at the door, discover our truest and best selves, give each other grace, and knock Resistance on its keister.
Welcome to Poetic Soul.
Ashley SchwartauNovember 2, 2021 at 4:48 pm
Love it! Excited to follow your journey.