Dear Shadow Muse,

I battle with resistance. I have a strong shadow side (grumbling, negative,etc.) but I suppress. I know there’s creative energy in there. How do I use it to get to my writing?

—Negative Naomi

Dear Negative Naomi,

Do you notice artists and writers who are truly authentic have no problem standing in a corner and hissing at people if that’s what they feel like doing? Mortals need to let loose with their shadow energy by channeling it into their art. So to break through some writing resistance what I suggest is to take the side of the things you are suppressing at least on the page. What this does is create a flow of freedom—resistance breaks down in this regard and then has a better chance of breaking down in regard to getting started.

Let me illustrate with a writing example. Rather than resisting being irritable in this piece, I make a case for it. It was a warm up and fueled me to keep going with other writing.


Slump. Not a slow staggering slump but a quick deliberate slump as if disappointed by a piece of unexpected bad news . . . the plumber did not show up to fix your overflowing john, the part you need for your car to run still did not come in, you got fired by Donald Trump.

Feel the slump from the inside . . . from every cell.

Accompany with slump facial expressions . . . eye brows furled, cheek raised and eye squinting on the left Both eyes should side swipe the upper right of your existence. Make a short forceful grunt almost like a cat expelling a hairball but very abbreviated. Then heave a heavy sigh . . . live inside that sigh just as moisture lives inside a fog. Feed it with any anguish you can marshal. Cross your arms . . . Wax melancholy with all your might . . . filter optimism into irreconcilable doom, operate from your smallest self. Also decline any consolation that would lift your mood. Harbor hardships in your port of pity. Rationalize the consumption of grand quantities of sweets and things with real cream in them. Banish any notion of having to be civil.

Isolate until there is occasion to share your angst state with those attempting typical facades of cheerful exchanges at restaurants, diners or nightclubs, at occasional parties, in lines at the grocers, waiting rooms in doctors’ offices (never at the dentist . . . those people have enough misery).

Groan, snivel, throw cynical comments into the conversation pool. Scowl. Contradict, minimize and challenge the passions of others with overt dissenting dismissives and covert murmurs of nausea. Send out your angst pathogen to susceptible suckers within earshot’s contagion. Watch for responding slumps indicating misery’s acquisition of new company.

When alone again connect to the suffering of the human condition, the daily struggle that never seems to go away. Bills, taxes, unfair decisions, endless dirtying of the kitchen floor, unrequited love, traffic jams, stubbed toes, grease stains, poor radio reception, cellulite, obnoxious drivers, people who litter, holidays with dysfunctional families in denial, and lost keys.

Then find a surface with relatively few crumbs and write from the heart—express and celebrate the awe of liberated creative vigor drawn from the soul’s dark place that simply needed the fuel of attention for it to fester with brilliance, ingenuity, honesty and cunning.
Once completed stand on a chair in the kitchen and with the refrigerator as your witness: smile.

Make a case for something you ordinarily suppress/resist.
Resist writing for 15 minutes every morning .. then write with all your heart.

“Art begins with resistance - at the point where resistance is overcome. No human masterpiece has ever been created without great labor.”
—Andre Gide

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