War and Art and a Tiny Little Book

by Kim on February 3, 2011 · 3 comments

The War of Art

I just finished reading an amazing little book by Steven Pressfield called The War of Art.  It’s a must-read for anyone who’s beginning, or thinking about beginning, to pursue the life of their dreams. If you’re feeling fear or resistence about pursuing the thing that you were born to do, this book is for you. 

Here are a few insights that I pulled from the pages (I’m paraphrasing at times).  Read them slow.  Like, slllooowwww.  Let the words sink in.

On Resistance and Fear

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.  The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.  That’s why we feel so much resistance.  If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no resistance.”

On Resistance and Isolation

“Sometimes we balk at embarking on an enterprise because we’re afraid of being alone.  We feel comfortable with the tribe around us; it makes us nervous going off into the woods on our own.  Here’s the trick: We’re never alone.  As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our Muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly.  The act of courage calls forth infallibly that deeper part of ourselves that supports and sustains us.”

On the Authentic Self

“Do you have kids?  Then you know that not one of them popped out as a blank slate.  Each came into this world with a distinct and unique personality, an identity so set that you can fling stardust and great balls of fire at it and not morph it by one micro-dot.  In other words, none of us are born as passive generic blobs waiting for the world to stamp its imprint on us.  Another way of thinking of it is this: We’re not born with unlimited choices.  We can’t be anything we want to be.  We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny.  We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become.  We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.  Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”

And finally,

On The Magic of Making a Start

“Concerning all acts of initiative there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence (the care and guidance of the universe) moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would come his way.”

Sold yet?  Seriously, this book sort of blew my mind. 

Do you have personal experience with any of these insights?  I’m just starting to see the power of that last one.  Now that I’ve taken the first step towards pursuing my calling and living the life of my dreams, it seems that the world is opening up to me in ways I never imagined. 

I’ve always believed that each of us is born with a calling and it’s our job on earth to figure it out.  Oprah says (oh, how I love Oprah) that there is no greater gift we can give or receive than to honor our calling.  It’s why we were born and how we become must truly alive.