Have you ever been accused of ‘being resistant,’ for example to change? Think about the hundreds of ways that change can sneak up on you, like when your parents announce that instead of going to Disneyland like they said last month, now you’re going to Auntie Jean’s cottage on the Lake with all your cousins.
It’s not that you don’t like Auntie Jean and all your cousins, but dang, you had your dreams set on Splash Mountain for weeks!!!!
Heck yay, you’re resistant!
The thing is, in my opinion, resistance gets a bad rap. People talk about it like you’re being childish or selfish, or worse yet, ruining it for everyone else who took it in stride…
For me, though, resistance has often been a good thing. It gets my attention! It comes in fast and loud, making enough of an entry to stop the momentum and get me to reconsider and question just what is going on. It ends up being both a clarifying presence as well as one that often foretells that I’m right on the precipice of an important discovery.
Right now, for example, I’m participating in a year-long program that is teaching me how to think differently. To notice things in greater depth, to view things from a positive perspective and be insanely curious about everything. It directs me to seek the good in every situation, get clear about what I want in the primary areas of my life and be as detailed about it as possible. I’m learning how to use specific sentences that I create to become a lifejacket for me when life gets rough or overly turbulent. All great things that I’m learning. The focus is intense and non-stop…and I have to stay tuned in to keep up with the pace. And before too long, I notice my habits are changing. As I recognize it, I am pleased at first. All the habits I was letting go of weren’t really dangerous in any way, but they weren’t particularly expansive or affirming either. The road is clearer now that I am marching forward in a life more intentional, more finely tuned, and broad enough to offer more generosity, breadth, and support than I was previously advancing.
All of these things are positive—and too—there is resistance. The changes I’m participating in create a world in which ‘familiarity’ is not the norm. Sit back and relax is not the usual calling. The curiosity I mentioned earlier means digging in, taking a closer look, seeing what needs arise—both mine and others’—and discovering how I might be able to assist, be present to, and contribute. The resistance helps me to identify my fear, my uncertainty, and indeed, my capacity. And as one of my mentors told me today, “the resistance is telling you that breakthrough is right around the corner.”
Breakthroughs are not always easy, but they bring us to another level of growth that is surely not to be missed. There is celebration brewing. There are unlimited possibilities presented, and before I know it, I’m releasing my grip, letting go of fear, and the resistance starts to dissolve before my eyes. The visit from resistance is bountiful, even though my goal is to let it go—I have to face it before I can move through it. And so it is. Everything has a place in the circle of life.
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