What You Resist Persists – Including Resistance

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“What you resist persists, including resistance.”

How’s that for a mental puzzle early in the morning?   Perhaps you can tell that I spent several days resisting writing this post. Of course, I was also resisting making important phone calls, sending important emails and working on the important things. In fact, I may have been resisting everything … everything of importance that is. Before I knew it, I was curled up under a very warm blanket watching the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” from start to finish. While curled up in the fetal position on my couch, I realized that I was beating myself up for taking a Netflix weekend. I was tired – for many, many reasons. I’m not even sure why I started beating myself up, (ordinarily I’m pretty good at giving myself snuggle-based recovery days) except that deep down, I knew I was in resistance and I didn’t like it. And then I realized … I was resisting my resistance, which (you guessed it) only makes it worse.

On Monday morning I got up, and proceeded to go into a different type of resistance – the resistance of distraction by random busy-work. I barely remember how I wasted the hours between when I finished working out and when my first client called, but I know I did.

Then, just as I started to flog myself again, a little voice in my head said,

“What you resist persists, including resistance.”

So, I finally gave over to it. I grabbed my shoes, headed out the door and off to my singing lesson in the middle of a Monday afternoon. My singing lessons have little or nothing to do with work. They’re purely in honor of my Carpé Diem theme for the year (see last week’s post here). I felt called to do it, I like it now that I am doing it, so … I’m doing it. The main difference between the Netflix filled weekend resistance and the singing lesson was the permission that I gave myself. During the singing lesson, I gave myself full permission to be present in the singing lesson (even though I knew there would be a pile of work waiting for me once I finished). Man, it was fun. It was thrilling. I felt alive.

As I walked out the door, I still thought I might meander and escape into some other form of resistance. And then, the funniest thing happened when I walked in my front door… I dove straight in to those important tasks that I’d been avoiding for days. One by one I checked off several to-do items on key projects.

“What you resist persists, including resistance.”

SO WHAT CAN WE DO INSTEAD? …

1) Acknowledge the resistance.
Acknowledging that we’re facing resistance is different from pretending that we’re not feeling it. It’s also very different from beating ourselves up for feeling it. Acknowledging it means noticing what’s happening with self-compassion.

2) Go toward the resistance
“What?! Go toward the resistance? Are you bonkers?”
I’m deeply serious. Go toward the resistance. Get curious about it. This is a much more open, creative choice than the alternatives – resisting it too while pretending its not happening or beating ourselves up for feeling it.

3) If necessary, set a time limit.
Fully embrace the resistance during the time period, and then let it go and move on. That time period might be a Netflix weekend, and evening pity party or an afternoon playing hooky. The important part is the full permission within the time-period. Soul Suckers are not allowed in the pity party.

This way of facing resistance allows us to create from everything in our lives. On top of being much more alive in its own right, it also trains us to create from other things we might be tempted to resist – such as change or the ideas of co-workers, friends and family.

All my best,
Lauri

P.S.  If you’d like some helping moving through resistance and back into your creative flow, schedule a complimentary Breathe Easy Consultation now.  I can help.

2 Responses to What You Resist Persists – Including Resistance

  1. Mary-Ellen Hynd January 14, 2016 at 9:21 am #

    Well said Lauri! Love your personal Netflix example which most of us can relate to:) I have also believe that not only do we need to acknowledge and give permission, we must also trust in the resistance. It serves a purpose (we can’t always be engaged and doing) and then when the time is right, wow – away we go. Hopefully you will make another trip to Toronto!

  2. Jean Kathryn Carlson January 14, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    HI Lauri, soul sister!
    I’ve had my share of curling up with Netflix or other distractions. Recently I came across a movie called Jackie & Ryan and I watched it over and over. The gifts coming from that are numerous. Your suggestions are spot on and feel my soul. Thanks.

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