When I was in high school I was a cheerleader. Our team was the warriors, the Western Warriors. When I took Andrew’s advice and read The War of Art, which I highly recommend by the way, I heard again the language of the warrior. We, as artists, are at war with something that Pressfield calls Resistance. It is that urge to do something else that comes from self doubt and takes the form of distractions. It is a powerful force willing us NOT to do what we must do as artists … create. It is a war against ourselves, our ego. The ego seeks immediate gratification and attention. Pulling ourselves back to the work is a tug of war.

At the same time I am reading “The Places that Scare You”. It is written by a Buddhist Nun in Nova Scotia. Pema Chodron also writes about the warrior overcoming the ego and attachment. The six activities of the warrior she lists as generousity, discipline, patience, joyful enthusiasm, meditation and an open inquiring mind free of judgement and attachment. The path to inner peace is to be active in these ways.

I just want to write, to become a pro. Pressfield talks about becoming a pro. He describes it as accepting the art as a profession, something that you work at daily, something you are dedicated to and proud of like you would be at any job. It is also something you work at mastering. That has helped me. I am a writing warrior a Western Warrior from my alma mater.
So is a professional warrior a mercenary? It does make sense. I want to be paid for my warrior activities and part of the resistance I feel comes from that notion. The self doubt is debilitating. The apparent lack of humility as we press our words to the paper leads us to skirmishes on the battlefields of our minds, bodies and souls. The apparent arrogance that is required to create clashes with the activities of the warrior to overcome such arrogance. And so we struggle.

Pema talks about the three kinds of lazy that I now recognize as resistance a la Pressfield. Comfort orientation is the first kind of lazy. Guilty! I seek comfort. I sometimes demand it and it does take away from my working on my projects. Loss of heart is the second kind. I have these sudden waves of hopelessness that put me in my chair in front of the TV. I watch for hours wondering why and helpless to get up and do something else. “Couldn’t care less” is the third kind of laziness and that one can lead to clinical depression. It is beyond the loss of heart to the loss of self. You can lose time to resistance or you can lose yourself. And so we struggle.

This struggle, this internal waging of war is tiring me out. I am done. Surrender is on the horizon. Surrender to what? To Buddha? To the Muses as described by Pressfield? Where do I go to surrender so this war with myself can be over? I surrender to the need to finish these books. I surrender to the need to put the books first for a while to treat them as a part of the career I love and that others value. I surrender to the work. I surrender to the art.