Today I am reflecting on my resistance to change. The meaning of resistance is non-acceptance or struggle. Or conflict. Why would we want resistance in our daily lives? We do not choose resistance…it chooses us. Actually our subconscious chooses it for us and it is based (as most negative energy is) in fear.
Fear. That word pops up again and again, but why? Why do we fear so many things? Eckhart Tolle reminds us in all of his books that fear is the basis of most of our negative thoughts and actions…it is the opposite of love. Our ego plays the lead character in creating fear in our lives, and so the trick is to remind ourselves of the ego’s goal…to undermine our good intentions; that is, our goals, our passions, our love.
For me, I have learned that when I feel resistance rising (which is my default button when I sense change in the air), I need to stop and become aware of the resistance. So I name it or label it, “Oh, I am feeling an inner struggle with that thought. Here comes resistance!” Thus, the first step is the recognition that there is resistance. Next, I ask myself why I would resist this. Most times the answer comes easily… fear of change, fear of letting go, fear of failing, fear of the past and my personal favourite (because it has become my old friend)…fear of the unknown. When I face my fears head on, I feel relief. Yes, relief. I have faced my fears and labelled them. When we do this simple action, we are taking the first steps in dissolving the fear.
Now for the next step: Add trust and love. Just thinking about this next step calms my fears and my resistance because I have changed my own personal energy. When I remind myself to trust in the Universe and to trust myself, I can calm myself and begin to smile. Metaphorically and literally. I remember to smile because it is my way of assuring myself that I am okay just as I am. When I add love to the mixture, I feel whole again. And I feel peace.
Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art, states that resistance is a sure sign that the thing we are resisting is the very thing that we really must want or desire. Resistance is the key or red flag to our deepest desires, or deepest yearnings. What a powerful thought! Pressfield’s take on resistance gives us another tool to open ourselves to a more complete, fuller and enriched life. Why live in resistance when we can open ourselves to overcoming the challenge of the moment. If we can meet our struggles or resistance with insight, instead of fear, we can live up to our potential. I am all for that. Growth! Instead of digging in our heels and saying “No!”
The Tao’s greatest message to us is to live life as it happens, fully present – to flow like a river or…flow with the river. I often visualize the river gushing in torrents at some parts of its journey, while lapping serenely against the banks of the river at other times. The banks of the river do not resist the river. The shoreline may change over time, but it does not stand up and resist the water’s impact. Nature just flows. As humans, we can take a lesson from Nature.
Resistance is inherent within humans – we abhor change. We like the status quo. But we meet change and adapt to it every day – we say goodbye to neighbours who move away; we change jobs; children grow up; our children’s children grow up; we age and then we die. All change.
When we begin to accept change and even embrace it, we will begin to flow like a river.
When I looked after my father who had Alzheimer’s disease, I rallied against the gods every day – I resisted change! Since his death, and my second chance to care for my mother and do it better (with more insight and loving energy and less resistance and fear), I have embraced the lessons – the gifts – and learned to accept change, not as a good thing or a bad thing, but just to accept that the change is what it is. Nothing more; nothing less.
And a funny thing happened while caring for my mother…I have learned to accept aging and death without fear. And while visiting the aging residents at the long-term care facility where my mother resides now, I have learned to live in the moment – to laugh and appreciate the residents – each one unique and oh, so beautiful.
So, the next time we meet resistance (and we will often) we must confront it and stare it down. Ask ourselves the meaningful questions: What am I resisting? What do I fear? Why do I fear that? Our answers might surprise us as insight into our true nature is often surprising. But insight is just that…inner sight!
Let us learn not to judge ourselves, but instead, learn to open up. When we open, we become bigger and larger and we create a space for our potential – we open ourselves to possibilities. What if I can change? What if I can do it a different way that leads to a better way? What if my loss leads to a gift – a new experience that nourishes my spirit? What if resistance can lead to an opportunity?
In Deepak Chopra and Ruldolph E. Tanzi’s book, SuperBrain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being, the authors remind us that change is vital to living a long and healthy life, as they encourage us to accept change in all its forms.
I have found that I am completely open to accepting that I have resistance…that I am not as evolved as I had hoped I would be at this stage of my life. That acceptance has led me to more acceptance. I accept that I am not perfect or as evolved as I had hoped. I am okay with that. I accept myself just as I am.
I am going for a walk now. Perhaps I will take a different route; maybe I’ll open myself to a prettier, more scenic one. Or perhaps I’ll meet someone on my way. Or…maybe nothing profound will happen. And I am okay with that.
I choose to take a different route because I can. And that is enough for me.