Viva la Resistance!

Lately, I have noticed that I have been doing a very shitty job at things. Specifically, instead of investing as much time, energy, or effort into the various things currently on my plate, I have noticed that I have been attempting to push through most activities as quickly as I can in order to get it over with and move on to the next thing. As I have sat with this observation, I have noticed that the shitty efforts are actually a form of resistance in disguise.

Specifically, it appears that I am putting in little time, effort, or energy because there is a part of me that doesn’t want to do that thing that I am attempting to force myself to do. And because that part of me that doesn’t want to do something doesn’t feel powerful enough to override the wishes of the part of me that feels compelled to do something – the part of me that doesn’t want to do it partially complies by doing that thing, but in a very subpar manner.

The best analogy is a kid who doesn’t want to clean their room and yet doesn’t feel able to tell their caregiver no. Being unable to say no, the kid shoves things under the bed, into the closet, or cover it with a sheet and call it done. Right now, I am that kid.

There are many things on my plate that, I apparently don’t want to do and yet don’t feel able to say no outright. So I say no by doing whatever it is I have on my plate in a half-hearted way.

The logical next question for most is, “Why are you forcing yourself to do things that you don’t want to do?” And as an adult, there are some things that I do have choice around, and yet there are also things that I don’t necessarily feel that I have choice around. And while I understand that, it’s interesting to me how often I force myself to do things in areas of my life where I do have choice and yet don’t say no.

This has of course led to the following question: “Why don’t you feel able to say no?

And the long story short is that I am identified with a lot of fear, worry, and anxiety of the potential repercussions of saying no to something that I don’t want to do. All because I generally do not trust fully in myself or in the mysterious knowledge of the universe.

Which has led me to the obvious next question: Okay, so how to cultivate more trust and faith in both the Universe as well as your own inner knowing.

The solution to that – or at least a contemplative point I have been working with this week – comes from Bio-mechanical Expert Jules Mitchell. Specifically, I am referring to her notion that “resistance is where adaptation occurs.” While Mitchell said this in the context of the physical body, I think it can apply to all aspects of our lives. For if injury occurs within the physical body when we force our bodies past their natural points of resistance, it stands to reason that harm happens within our relationships and within our profession when we force something or someone beyond their natural points of resistance.

Taking this notion, and applying it equally to life on and off the mat, it seems that the first step we each must take is to stop and listen. Specifically, when we notice that someone or something isn’t performing as we expect it to, instead of pushing ahead can we take a moment to pause?

Next, our task is to fully honor and receive whatever resistance might be present.

And finally, we must act in accordance with that message – even though it may seem completely counter-productive to who we think we are or what we think we need to be doing.

Physically, as well as emotionally, I believe that our bodies are always sending us signals to help us better understand when something is or is not okay with us. The challenge is of course to be sensitive, receptive, and courageous enough to hear those messages, honor them, and act upon their instructions.

The more we can really take the time to stop and listen to this inner knowing, in the words of Jules Mitchell, “adaptation occurs.” Naturally, we may find that the fears and anxieties that can drive our frenetic movements may begin to dissolve of their own accord as we gain strength and trust in our own feelings, needs, and abilities. We may find that we discover new strengths and abilities, not to mention the innate desire and energy to perform well on new and different aspects of our lives.

The questions I have for you, the ones I am working to answer for myself this week, are: Where is resistance showing up in your life?  Where do you find yourself stuck, struggling to make something happen, or engaging in behaviors that are counter-productive to your stated goals and objectives? Where do you find yourself pushing to complete things don’t light a spark of passion in your being?

Wherever these questions land for you personally or professionally, can you take a moment to stop. Can you quiet the mind enough to listen to what messages that resistance might be attempting to convey?

Before judging what you see or hear, can you allow yourself to really be present with the resistance, trusting that it is only there because it wants to protect you? By honoring our resistance, and adjusting our actions and behaviors in accordance to its message, we have the potential to grow and evolve – or in the words of Mitchell adapt.