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REVIEW: THE WAR OF ART

REVIEW: THE WAR OF ART


PRODUCT (Book)THE WAR OF ART:  Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

AUTHOR:  Steven Pressfield

PUBLISHER:  Black Irish Entertainment LLC [2002]


I am reading my latest copy of Steven Pressfield’s book, THE WAR OF ART:  Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. 

It is a slim thing, less than 200 pages long.  It is made up of gunslinger-sharp mini-essays (some of them only one paragraph long) that examine and delineate the obstacles you will most certainly encounter every time you try to make your deepest dreams come real.

THE DARK FORCE

Most of those obstacles and hurdles on the road to your dream rise up from inside your own self.  Pressfield calls this dark force “Resistance” (always with a capital “R”).

Pressfield’s rule of thumb is this:  “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel towards pursuing it.”  That one’s a truth.

Any time you decide to make even a small change in your life that requires some kind of long-term effort, this dark force will appear.  If you are bent on doing a thing that demands that you step outside of your comfort zone or give up or forego some instantly available pleasure, the dark force springs into action.

Opportunities instantly appear to sidetrack you from your goal.  The dancing girls and randy studs pop out of the woodwork all ready to party down.  Your favorite boutique or parts store throws a monster gotta-get-it sale.  Your best bud comes up with a truly awesome idea that is guaranteed to stack up the big bucks really, really fast.

Right.

RESISTING THE RESISTANCE

In the second section of his book Pressfield presents a mindset that helps you bypass all the glitter and go for the gold.  He calls this mindset “Turning Pro.”

It comes complete with weapons and ammo – life strategies and mind-games – that you, too, can tote around and use to get over yourself and gun down the sneaky, villainous opposition that lurks in your head.

Here’s a You-Tube video, Steven Pressfield:  Overcoming Resistance, posted by Positively Positive.

If the book ended with this second section, it would still be an exceptionally insightful and useful business how-to-do-it book for tackling the self-sabotage and self-delusions that distract you from your dreams.

But, then, Pressfield takes it up another notch….

yin-yang-sky-earth

TO THE NEXT LEVEL

In the third section of this little book he sets out to tell you the “why” of doing all this convoluted dancing around.  Pressfield accomplishes this aim most handily.  You need to read it yourself to feel and be affected by the mana it holds.  (I’m not going to spoil it for you.)

WHY I HAVE A NEW COPY OF AN OLD BOOK

THE WAR OF ART first came out in 2002.  I devoured the thing and then re-read it many, many times in order to get the concepts to sink down into my bones.  It helped straighten my head about how to break down the resistances that (even now) I keep on putting up against following my own heartsong.

Over the years I’ve bought a replacement copy of this book whenever I notice that it is no longer sitting on my bookshelf.  It goes missing because I keep lending the thing to friends and they invariable “forget” to give it back.  (Sigh!)

So…here I am with yet another copy of it.  As I re-read it, I am reminded again of the value of this little book.  Maybe you will find it valuable as well.  Give it a shot!

Here’s a poem:


WHAT’S THE POINT?

 

Here it comes again.

It’s Thermopylae, Masada and the Alamo all over again –

A ragtag, beat-down band of little guys stand tall

As annihilation looms,

On the brink of being overwhelmed

By the massed forces of an invading army

That ripples like the tide

Across the landscape

As far as the eye can see.

 

The cavalry ain’t coming, and it is NOT looking good.

So you stand at the edge of that mountain pass, that mesa, that wall,

And you have to wonder…

What is the POINT of all this?

 

Us humans do this stuff over and over again,

Caught up in the dark tide,

Stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time,

We give it our best shot,

And, of course, it is not enough.

 

And the people who come after us

Make up all those glorious, useless, blood-and-gut stories

That rise up like phoenixes out of our ashes.

And the world goes on,

Dancing in a new light that shines

On a different world than the one

We fought so hard to keep,

The one we lost,

The one they dream about.

 

The Tai Ch’i turns,

Light in the dark,

Dark in the light,

Rolling on.

And maybe that is the only lesson:

The Dark doesn’t win,

And neither does the Light.

The only constant, always, is change.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  via Amazon.com (book)

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