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On Hippos, Blackberry Pie, and Creative Resistance

If you've created anything ever, you've dealt with resistance.

What form did it take for you? Procrastination, perhaps? Maybe never finding time for what you're supposed to do? Or maybe even of a tendency to just 'forget'?

Whatever form it's taken in your life, there's a way to make friends with resistance, and use it to your advantage.

Turn it into your buddy

One incredibly powerful way to work with any energy is to make it into a character. Give it a name, a shape, and a one-of-a-kind personality.

Maybe your resistance is a fuchsia hippo named Bernice who loves jazz and blackberry pie, and she simply doesn't feel like getting out of the way. She's comfortable where she is, and she's not interested in all your reasons why she should move.

Logic be damned, there's blackberry pie here and she's staying put.

Ask it what it wants

Once you've got a sense of your resistance, it's easier to communicate with it. The fact is, it has stuff to say to you.

Resistance is almost always covering up something that we don't want to acknowledge. The first step to finding out what that might be is to straight up ask.

You can do this any way you want, letting your intuition be your guide. Maybe you just feel into what Bernice (or whoever your resistance is) has to say, and let it all take place in your mind.

Or maybe you draw it, or write out a conversation, or perform an interpretive dance wherein you mash your face into imaginary blackberry pie.

Whatever works, follow that.

Find out what’s underneath

With that imaginary blackberry juice dripping down your face, it'll be easier and easier to tap into what's going on underneath the resistance.

Is it perhaps a sense that you won't be able to do this project right? A worry about what'll change in your life if you continue down this path? A niggling feeling that perhaps you just don't have what it takes to do this at all?

Whatever it is, the first step is just to notice it.

Say yes

Once you've got the noticing down, the next step is to allow it. Say yes.

If there's anything that makes Bernice more reluctant to budge, it's telling her she shouldn't even be there to begin with. This is where it comes in handy to feel some affection for her.

I mean, you have to admit she's kinda cute, with that smudge of blackberry juice on her cheek, and her tiny little hippo ears atop her ginormous hippo head. Get friendly with her and tell her that she's welcome to be there. She's here to make you aware of whatever it is you noticed, and she really only has the very best of intentions in her obstinate hippo heart.

Let it be easy

Find out what comes next. Ask if there's a small, easy way in to this project that might feel agreeable to Bernice. Maybe she doesn't want you writing ten pages, but is okay with you writing ten lines. Perhaps she's unwilling to try oil paints but is fine with watercolors. Ask her if there's any way this project could be fun and easy, and then let it be exactly that. Maybe even toss on some Billie Holiday for her, and remind her there's more pie on the way. Just to sweeten the deal. Bringing a light, playful energy to your interactions with Bernice helps her relax, and perhaps even move her glorious pink hippo bottom out of the way.

So play with this process. Enjoy it. And let me know how it goes for you when you do!


One thing that helps enormously with resistance is having a planned time when you sit down to work, particularly in the company of other like-minded creative friends. Co-Creation Time is designed with just this in mind. Our warm, super friendly group of creative folks meets weekly to ride the collective creative energy we generate together and get stuff done. Come join us!

What participants say:

Head on over to get more information about what Co-Creation Time is like, and to sign up and join us. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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