The Unlived Life

by Elizabeth Adams on March 25, 2014

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us.  Between the two stands Resistance.”

Steven Pressfield

 

(Warning! Controversial Material!)

Last week I went to see “The Monuments Men”, a George Clooney movie based on a true story about a group of men who were sent out to rescue and return to their rightful owners, artistic masterpieces that Hitler stole from invaded countries in the second world war.

It’s always good to see a movie that celebrates Art, but what reverberated for me throughout the entire movie, what I’ve been thinking about ever since, is something that Steven Pressfield said in his book, his  genius creation called, “The War Of Art”.

This is what he said.

 

“You know, Hilter wanted to be an Artist.  At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study.  He applied to the Academy of Fine Arts and later to the School of Architecture.  Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I.  Resistance beat him.  Call it an overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hilter to start World War 2 than it was for him to face a blank square of canvas”.

 

I was sitting alone ( I do mean alone, there was no one else there but me, slow night I guess!) in the theatre, watching the movie discovery of these treasures hidden in numerous mining sites destined for Hitler’s “super museum”. A museum  that would contain every important artwork in the world; thinking about the ruthlessness of resistance, and its remorseless need to pulverize every impulse to be who we were meant to be.

 

Along with the other horrors of Hitler’s reign of terror, we see in his quest to fill his museum, the painter who stopped painting because he caved to his shadow, the toxic force called resistance.

 

Steven Pressfield also says,

“To yield to resistance deforms our spirit, it stunts us and makes us less than we were born to be”

What if Hilter, after his non-acceptance to art school, kept painting? Decided that he was an artist, kept learning, got up every day and painted, found a job to support himself and just painted?

What if he turned toward his genius ( defined as the guardian spark of the inner spirit) away from his shadow, resistance, and did the work? Turned all that ego-mania into Art instead of distruction? I don’t know what would have happened, but I do know that the path would have been very different for all of us, of that I am sure.

 

Want to paint?

Paint.

Want to write?

Write.

Want to be a Yoga teacher? A mother, a doctor, run for office?

Do it.

The world is filled with writers who don’t write, but own cafes where writers who are actually  writing meet, artists who want to paint but don’t, who staff art galleries featuring artists who do paint, people who cheer on the marathoner but are too afraid to become one themselves and the list goes on.

This is what I thought of, in that movie theatre, that resistance is an equal opportunity player, it infects all of us if we allow it to define us.

Resistance is an excellent teacher if we decide to challenge it.

Do it, challenge it, throw down the guantlet, say hell to the yes…

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