A MEAN BULLY
I had a mental day last week that was pretty painful. That sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too often…moments of it, hours of it…but not a whole day! It was one of those days where every thought felt like crushed up glass grinding into a wound. I was crying by mid-morning for Gosh sakes!!! Like I said, that mental place and to that extent don’t happen to me very often and, yet, last week there were tears.
The best way it can be described is like this: You know every time you have a longing come forward about reaching a couple of your really heart-felt desires and dreams, and then you have an attack of fear where a DOUBT seems to rise up in you that is sooooo frickin painful that it is absolutely soul crushing? Well that’s how it was. Shouts in my skull echoed like, “Who do you think you are to…?” “What is wrong with you?” “Are you crazy?” “What a loser!” You get the picture. I’m not proud of it. And, yet, something special happened that day. I met somebody… somebody who has been lurking around for a really, really long time!
THE DREAM AND THE RESISTANCE TO IT
Just prior to that painful mental day, I happened to be reading several books by Steven Pressfield on the subject of “resistance” namely The War of Art and Do The Work. Pressfield had hit a place of truth inside me that was so crystal clear that I found myself repeatedly saying out loud as I read, “Thank God! Thank God!” The way he describes resistance was very, very similar to how you might describe other subjects that have resulted in bringing your life to a screeching halt and making your world extremely limited and small. In my case, it was things like a history of compulsive overeating and co-dependency and even a much older history of alcohol abuse, just to name a few. He explains that what some people call “too much drama” or “compulsive gambling” (or “the ism”), he calls resistance! Resistance to the loving force of creation called LIFE! Resistance to LIFE! Eureka!
In his books, Pressfield doesn’t throw the word resistance around to use as a weapon on his readers. Nor should it ever be. His purpose is to expand his readers’ understanding of the scope and magnitude of this insidious, invisible force that all humans carry inside them. According to him, IT IS NOT THEM but it is inside them. It tries to follow quite closely behind our dreams. The Dream and The Doubt. The Longing and The Squelching. The Desire to be Healthy and the Blamer. In fact, the more near and dear the dream is to our soul, the more resistance we may encounter if we do not know how to properly deal with it.
And so with the purpose of observing the twists and turns and ups and downs of life from an eagle’s eye view and in an effort to consider the big picture, Pressfield’s theories on resistance can be helpful. In other words, maybe the problem isn’t compulsive shopping (for instance), maybe…in the bigger picture view…the problem is resistance to life and making our dreams come true. Hmmm…?
DON’T WORRY, IT’S NOT PERSONAL
And, just so we’re all clear. Pressfield explains that resistance doesn’t just want us unhappy or unfulfilled…resistance aims to kill! (Even if it’s one dream at a time.) Also, it’s impersonal. It doesn’t know who you are and it doesn’t care. It acts objectively. It’s trying to kill everyone’s dreams, not just yours. That’s why it’s up to US to care about OURSELVES!
THE USUAL SUBJECTS WEREN’T TO BLAME
Anyway, we’ve probably all used the word resistance here and there and had a rough idea of what we’ve meant by it but on that day last week, I MET my resistance, perhaps, for the first time. Because, you see, by the end of the day, I had realized that the PAINFUL DOUBTING FEELINGS that I experienced earlier had nothing to do with my usual labels. The realization came that those subjects are in pretty good remission and have been for a while. And one day at a time, they’ll stay in remission. THERE’S REALLY NOTHING STANDING IN THE WAY OF MY DREAMS OTHER THAN MY RESISTANCE! It had nothing to do with substances or food issues or lack of boundaries or my husband(!) or my kids(!) or any of the other usual topics that distract. To tell the truth, those subjects are pretty quiet.
The moment I realized that I wasn’t labeling myself or others as the problem and that I was considering the fact that it just might be plain old resistance, I began to chuckle. I felt some relief?! Have you ever heard of the saying, “What you resist, persists?” Well I stopped resisting my resistance and I stopped feeling weak or crazy. In fact, I felt stronger and more “clued in.” It may sound strange, but I felt more playful?! There was nothing wrong with me…I was just resistant! That felt like the best news I had heard in a couple decades! Yippee!! And my body was giving me clues that I was on the right track.
BEING RESISTANT ISN’T CRAZY OR SICK
In fact, I even said out loud to myself towards the end of the afternoon, “Oh…I get it…Oh…This is just resistance that I’m feeling…I get it?!!!” And I looked into the bathroom mirror and said, “Pleased to meet you Resistance. We meet at last. And, by the way, I’M ON TO YOU.” And I winked! And I realized that this was truly a wonderful stepping stone in my evolution because I was, in fact, feeling it AND NOT MASKING IT OR CALLING IT BY ANY OTHER NAME. A breakthrough had been made.
In fact, I invite you to experiment with that if you are one to usually call yourself “crazy” or “compulsive” — just once…consider that maybe you’re not “sick.” Maybe it’s just resistance? Do you have a goal that you can’t seem to reach and you keep sabotaging yourself? Do you keep working yourself into a mental corner every time you consider your dream to do ______(fill in the blank). Are you an artist who doesn’t create? Are you a writer who doesn’t write? I get it. And maybe you don’t have to label yourself? From the kindest, softest, most self-compassionate place inside of you, ask yourself, “Could this just be resistance?” And then observe yourself. Is there just a bit more freedom from that perspective? A bit less weakness and a bit more strength? Do you notice that you start to smile an impish smile when you consider that you might just be experiencing resistance and that’s ALL?
YOU CAME WELL EQUIPPED
Now, of course, resistance does NOT want any of this said because it operates like a bully. Well guess what resistance? This homey don’t play dat!!! I will not keep your secret. Because, my friend, you are not the boss of me!
With love and gratitude,
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