Resistance comes with all kinds of baggage these days. I say “baggage” because of the weight of meaning. It’s become associated with a political stance and movement. On the one hand, I like the idea of “resistance” in the face of tyranny. That can be a positive thing.
But I’m not talking about politics.
On the other hand, the spiritual part of me sees resistance as a signal for a change of pace. Resistance in that setting is a call to surrender – to let go of an old idea and embrace the new.
It’s a completely different orientation to resistance.
This is the practice of non-attachment.
If no girls are allowed…
I’m thinking in particular to a reaction I had not too long ago – an invitation to go to a certain religious service that would have required me to sit in the back because I have a vulva.
If you’ve read my memoir THRIVE, you know I’ve been set aside a lot because of my sex. You would also know that I’ve done a lot of work to get to tables where I was not invited. I’m a Celtic woman in this way. There is nothing I can’t do – nowhere I don’t belong unless I choose it.
I am a free woman – and I see myself as such.
So I said no. I’m happy to visit with people. I’m happy to do all kinds of things, but the physical separation for me is not a question of modesty. It communicates something very different to me in my context in a way that is triggering.
No. I’m not sitting apart for anyone.
My reaction was intense. It shocked me. In another situation, I might have covered my mouth because it was so strong. At first I thought it was resistance – resistance to an idea that is part of a certain tradition. But that idea isn’t just part of one spiritual tradition.
It’s in a lot of them.
I wouldn’t do that for anyone – no matter how it’s pitched – because it communicates inequality to me. There are other things I wouldn’t do – boundaries that are unacceptable. And that’s okay. Setting a boundary and holding to it is not inherently resistance – resistance is something else.
Resistance is futile.
I watched a video from Dina Proctor that explains the difference between making things happen and letting things happen. In the past, I was a big “goal” person. I’m still big into “systems” and “processes.” When I watched this video, I was still big into goals.
Yet, I found myself nodding and smiling as she described the clinging anxiety that goal pressure can produce.
As an empath, I am an incredibly emotive person. I feel my own feelings very deeply.
It is easy for me to act and write because of this – I see myself as the character in a story and suddenly I actually feel what they feel. I can cry and love genuinely – though it isn’t me.
Necessarily this impacts my social and professional lives. I feel everything. In the past, I would get anxious in anticipation of feeling things. Sometimes I still tense in anticipation of feelings laying in wait for me.
You see what happens here? All that tension makes goals harder to attain because the entire time I’m fighting with myself.
Leaving Resistance, Becoming Water
When I recognized this struggle around goals, I realized I needed to practice non-attachment, and non-resistance.
I needed to become water.
Water moves and bends. It’s flexible and molds to any shape necessary – but it is essential to life and nothing can stand against it. Rocks become sand. Trees fall and snap. Mountains turn to valleys. This is the power of water, so flexible, unassuming, and yet strong.
Owning this change, I began listening in earnest – listening to my heart’s quiet urgings. Rather than racing towards an apparent step, now I move gently into place, listening, watching, and waiting.
Before, I thought I needed to follow someone’s proven system or process to get things going and I was anxious to figure out what this was. I was frantic, spinning my wheels without direction or intention. The result was, I didn’t know what I was doing. Now, however, I realize I may still follow someone else’s plan, but I don’t need to worry about it. All I need to do is listen and it will become clear what I should do.
Letting Go of Resistance in Your Life
Now that you understand what resistance is and how it is important to address, let’s talk about how you can let go of it in your life.
Step 1: Acknowledge the resistance you’re experiencing.
It’s important to acknowledge the resistance you feel in order to transform it. This means sitting with the uncomfortable feeling for a little while.
Step 2: Ask yourself why?
Why are you resisting this situation? What specific feelings does it stir in you? What burdens from your past does this bring up? A lot of times we are resistant to something because it reminds us of a situation from our past that we may not have addressed completely. The resistance in the present gives us an opportunity to address the past in order to clear the way for the present.
Step 3: Would it really be so bad?
Is the fear around this situation realistic? Would the situation really create such a bad result that you couldn’t handle it? Take some time to imagine the worst possible scenario. Then consider the best and the full range between the two. Likely you’ve experienced some similar situations in the past, so you probably have an idea of what will happen. Hint: You got through things before, you’ll get through this now.
Step 4: Focus on the good.
You have gotten through things before. You’ll get through this now. It’s only temporary, and there are opportunities to learn and grow in every situation. You’ve got this.
Struggling to let go of resistance? Let’s talk! Contact me here!