Dr. Marry and Me,  Personal Writing

Resistance, messy journeys and mountaintops

I was talking with a friend earlier this week, and she asked me how my new venture was going. I told her I was experiencing all the various emotional stages of the entrepreneurial journey, sometimes multiple times a day: excitement, despair, inspiration, fear, delight, terror, certainty, doubt…

She said, “That’s so interesting because from the outside, it looks like the journey is a straight line going up,” and she angled her hand like an arrow on a successful growth chart. “But in actuality, I guess it looks more like this,” and she mashed her hands together in a jumble of fingers and action making it impossible to focus on any single point or to know where things started and stopped, much less if there was actual growth happening.

“Exactly!” I cried out.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I kind of assumed that when I announced my official resignation from my day job, the Universe would rain down success as a kind of blessing that I’d finally done my part and taken the leap.

That has not happened.

Instead, everything I’m trying is failing.


So what’s a person to do with that?

An outside source of inspiration

After that conversation, I listened to a podcast with Oprah Winfrey and Steven Pressfield about his book, The War of Art. I’ve read the book multiple times and always find it valuable, but this conversation hit me differently.

My internal force, aka Resistance, is rearing its ugly head because I’ve had the audacity to dare greatly. I’ve told the world I’ve left my comfort zone and have entered into the great unknown. Resistance is working its hardest to stop me from taking the next step, from looking at the proverbial pie and saying, “I want a bigger piece of that.”

In the book, Pressfield says, “The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it” (12).

Tell me something I’m not experiencing right this minute, Steven!

A journey to sobriety

On a different, but tangentially related topic, this week, February 1st to be exact, was my husband Dr Marry’s 6th soberversary.

Six years ago that morning, I was sitting in the hospital where he had been admitted from the ER after spending most of the very early morning hours trying to find out what was wrong. What the doctors knew was limited to what he was wiling to be honest about—which, it turns out, wasn’t much.

“How much do you drink a day?” asked the doctor as part of a long series of questions.

“One, maybe two whiskeys.”

I didn’t say anything out loud, but I could have rejoined with, “Yeah, in the morning before work.”

Truthfully, I hardly cared by that point. The life of a spouse of an alcoholic, even if s/he doesn’t know that’s what their spouse is, has ceased to have much of the excitement, inspiration, delight or certainty left in it. Rather, s/he’s managing the darker emotions: despair, fear, terror and doubt by the time rock bottom is clearly in sight.

That journey, while to the outside might appear to be a straight line going down, is also a jumbled mess of emotions, actions and reactions, hopes and dashed dreams and so much more. That journey oftentimes has no clear beginning and definitely has no immediate end: everyone in the mix is living in a kind of limbo, uncertain who or what will tip one way or the other in nearly every facet of life.

Now that Dr Marry has years of sobriety under his belt, it’s easier to breathe more deeply into the faith that sobriety is our present and future way of life. I know there’s no guarantee and that people who’ve got decades of sobriety can fall and have to start again, so I’m not being glib about where we are, but I’m hopeful this will be our continued normal.

One of the best blessings about Dr Marry’s sobriety is the way he manages stress and uncertainty now. When he was drinking, the most insignificant molehills were mountains. Today, legit mountains are formidable but not insurmountable. He often says, “I survived and overcame active alcoholism. Whatever problem is facing me is not that, so let’s tackle it with rational sense and even some humor.” He takes a deep breath and starts metaphorically walking. It’s an extraordinary thing to witness.

As I grapple with the roller coaster of emotions I’m experiencing in the entrepreneurial front seat of the train, climbing the track that will inevitably send me plunging down the other side only to inch my way up again, I am reminded that I, too, took the unknown journey of Dr Marry’s sobriety. I didn’t have to physically turn my back on a substance, but I did have to deal with the emotional ramifications and the rebuilding of myself and our relationship.

Wrapping it up

Today, my new journey might feel like an impossible mountain, but if I’ve learned anything in these six years, it’s that no mountain gets scaled in one giant leap. The top of Mt Everest is reached one step at a time, and Resistance is a force of nature that needs to be faced head on and shut down if you ever expect to get climbing.

From The War of Art, “Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master the fear and we conquer Resistance” (16).

Let me restate, as part of my fight to shut Resistance down:

I’m embarrassed to admit that I kind of assumed that when I announced my official resignation from my day job, the Universe would rain down success as a kind of blessing that I’d finally done my part and taken the leap.

That has not happened…yet.

But I’m not afraid that it won’t because I know my higher purpose, and I’m doggedly pursuing it, through the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and I won’t let fear be the reason I don’t stand at the top of the mountain and survey the beauty all around me.

Over to you

So what’s your Resistance? And what are you doing to banish it from your life? Because only you can shut it down. Pressfield says, “Resistance is not a peripheral opponent. Resistance arises from within. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated” (8).

Don’t give in to the drink, the doughnut, the easy credit card charge, the porn site, the self-defeating talk, the abuse, the…

Recognize it for what it is and begin to shut it down by taking the first step toward your purpose. And if you don’t know what your purpose is, then stay tuned because I’m about to launch a program designed specifically to help you Discover Your Spark, maybe for the very first time.

Dayna Del Val is on a mission to help others (re)discover the spark they were born with through her blog and newsletter, her professional talks and the (re)Discover Your Spark retreats she leads. Dayna works with people to help them not just identify and articulate their dreams but to develop a framework to get going on the pursuit of those dreams—today, in the next few months and for the years ahead. She's at the intersection of remarkable and so, so ordinary, but she knows that pretty much everyone else is, too. She's excited to be sharing this extraordinary journey with you.

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