“Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”

Ahem. Now that I have your attention…

That’s actually a quote from author Steven Pressfield, who was on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this morning as I was driving in my car listening to the show on SiriusXM radio.

If you’re not acquainted with Pressfield’s work, I strongly urge you to get cozy with at least a couple of his books that are, at the very least, perspective-blowing. Shape-shifting. I personally recommend The War of Art and my favorite, Turning Pro.


I could go into a lengthy explanation about what he’s all about, but the title of this blog post is your best clue. There are those of us walking the earth, myself included, who believe we are here to create art. Now, before you tune me out because you don’t paint, write, act, sing or dance, please understand that I define “art” in a way that’s more expansive than the first ideas that come to mind upon hearing that word.

During the Oprah interview today, Pressfield talked about creating our lives as a work of art — whatever that means for you. And yes, some of us will perform and create to entertain others or share a message or story, but a lot of the people I consider “artists” don’t necessarily do any of those things.

I watch people all around me who are artists in the way they parent, engage in their careers, grow their friendships, take care of their bodies, or help others heal and grow. They are fully engaged with their lives — the beauty, the mess, the humor, the grief, the serenity, the chaos. It’s all part of the masterpiece that’s the difference between going through the motions of what Pressfield calls “the life we live” or drowning out our resistance to “the unlived life” and going all-in to live it.

Resistance. There’s a lot of talk about resistance in Steven Pressfield’s books and during his interview this morning; it’s something we all struggle with in our lives. There’s the dream of what we want in our lives:

  • a healthy body
  • a thriving career or business
  • money saved to travel the world
  • a deeper connection to others
  • (fill in your dream here)

And then, there is the “shadow of resistance” that edges its way in. The more important your dream or desire is to you, the more you’ll resist it. Aren’t we humans interesting?

That resistance, much if not all of the time, comes from the thoughts generated in our own minds. Even if you think you hear the voice of your nosy neighbor saying, “Who does she thinks she is trying to pull that off?” — it’s not really her. It’s a thought that you have invented for her in your mind.

Resistance I have known (both personally and professionally):

  • I’ll never get a handle on my money.
  • I’ll never get to a healthy, stable weight.
  • Oh, and there’s no way in hell I‘m going to love my body.
  • I’m just meant to be alone. And lonely.
  • No one’s interested in what I have to say / offer / do.
  • What’s the point? (often rhetorical question to ask oneself — often poisonous, too)

One of the best things I’ve gleaned from this author is the idea that resistance is a force of nature that I can just expect to show up when I’m dreaming and scheming and living “the unlived life.” I can stop blaming myself for the inward struggle. The avoidance. The extracurricular chocolate eating. The resistance. It just IS because the stakes are high.

When I am deciding I want to put my ass where my heart wants to be, that is powerful stuff. I want a healthy and strong body. I want work that is meaningful, creative and of my own design. I want to travel. I want to have a great marriage. I want my kids to succeed, make mistakes, thrive and grow. Of course, resistance is going to come up in all sorts of interesting forms. Limiting thoughts. Avoidant behaviors. And it’s okay, because I am choosing to believe my thought that my will or desire to have those things is much stronger than that resistance. 

I put my ass in the chair (really I do) and help my clients work their own private miracles.

I put my ass on the dance floor and teach class for whoever shows up (and sometimes it’s just a couple of people) and give it all I’ve got as if the room were packed.

I put my ass in the chair to write my blog posts because I feel like there is a message that needs to come through me for you — and I can’t even believe how beautiful it is sometimes. So I trust there is something divine at work when I work past the resistance.  

I put my ass in my journal and write down what I’m putting into my body when I feel like I’m eating for entertainment or comfort. 

Your practices or your processes — your own forms of putting your ass where your heart is — will lead you to what your desire. It’s not a one-off deal. It’s cumulative. It’s courageous. It’s habit. It’s knowing your resistance is really your fears showing up  in the form of your thoughts.

You get to decide that you are not your thoughts and that you will transcend them and choose the unlived life.



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2 thoughts on ““Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”

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