26 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

How do you move forward?

Much of the movement and change in my life has subsided. There is a wonderful stillness in my life today. I see that all of the transitions I was resisting against actually brought me to this point, here, where I sit more comfortably. Things are easy in many ways. Where I am at now is much better energetically for my soul’s purpose and work. And it’s much better for my family.

I could not have told you this would have been the outcome a few years ago. The changes seemed for a while to just keep coming and at times I felt like a wave rolling back and forth onto a beach. Sometimes you have to just roll with it. At some point during all the rolling, I surrendered, into all the changes.

If someone were to look at the flow of my life today, in a simple context, they might not think I have anything to resist to. Today, I have the luxury to have my own business, better myself, help others and spend time with my family. This is a win/win for me. I get the luxury to do it all.

What’s not to like about that? And still I find resistance lurking around corners. Like so many of us that are practitioners in mental health, I have been trained to pathologize things, even my own experience.

What do you think about your own resistance? Is this a part of yourself you need to get to know better? Do you judge it?

I know it’s not angry or depressed energy because when I sit in the resistance, when I embrace it, invite and feel it flow through me, it’s pure natural energy. It might feel uncomfortable but it’s not dysfunctional. It’s a natural tension we carry in us as human beings. Some of it may be unconscious stuff, just waiting for a voice. For me, often it’s my creative spirit, wanting to be free and create. Sometimes it’s a child in me that just wants to play. If I accept that part of myself, it’s much easier to embrace it and utilize that energy. There’s nothing wrong with that. Actually some might say the opposite -that this part of oneself is needed in order to be truly alive.

What do you think about your own resistive energy? Are you willing to take a closer look at it?

I must say, that it’s taken a long time to get to know the more fiery resistive part of myself. That resistive wild energy in me is connected not only to my spirit, but my feelings, my thoughts and my experiences, which all lead back to my career house and my soul’s work. I’ve learned that it’s not a thing outside of myself, but rather part of who I am.

I no longer judge it, and choose to embrace it. I bring it out more when I play with my kids, I surrender to it when I meditate or wax philosophical. I check in with it when I suffer. I accept it, in all of it’s shapes and forms.

How can you utilize your own resistance?

When I am open to my resistance, it doesn’t go away nor does it simply make things better. It’s not a symptom that when given a pill or insightful thought disappears. As much as I want to read an inspirational quote and in that moment have an “ah ha!” experience, it probably isn’t going to happen. And it’s fair to say, that resistance also isn’t just going to go away. It’s part of the human experience. But acknowledging it, bringing it into my awareness and accepting it, makes it easier because I’ve acknowledged that part of myself.

Which direction do you want to go?

Every person has their own process of self discovery and understanding. The good news and the bad new is: there is no tried and true way for me or anyone else to make this easier for you. The even better news is that you know yourself the best. You’re the driver behind the wheel, so what you choose to look at and/or work on will guide you on the path you are heading.

So, as my father would say, what are you going to do about it?

I visit with it or check-in. Sometimes I check in with myself daily. I wait for a quiet moment and then ask myself “where am on this project?” “oh I’m still resisting it, ok”. I sometimes journal about it, or talk about it. This is where I have found my therapy and coaching invaluable. Personally I need to explore it and bounce if off of someone.

Sometimes I invite that part of myself into my work. Sometimes I even surrender to it. When I surrender, that means that I also let go of the outcome for that particular situation or project. And then I move on. Into the next place my spirit needs to go. This helps me keep a balance in my mind and stay in a fluid engagement with life.

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

18 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2

For the second part of this blog series on understanding your own resistance, I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and jot down answers to the questions that come up in the blog.

What is your resistance related to?

I find part of my own resistance to change is because sometimes I get hung up on the past. And I still tell my story from there.

Think of a situation where resistance has kept you from getting something done or achieving something.

When you think about it now, which perspective do you tell your story from? The present? The past? The future?

There was a time when I was a comfortable in my life. The things that the world is asking of me now, were things that came easily during that time of my life. I liked where I was and it matched my identity of who I wanted to be as a career woman, a wife, daughter and mother. Then a lot of change happened. I see now that I was being directed to move, from a comfortable place in my life to a place with a lot of transitions, transitions that would effect all areas of my life. I was being asked to grow and the growth was coming fast through this series of changes. Some I initiated, some I kind of just had to adjust to. Boy did I have resistance to this.

Is your resistance related to change? Do you have a fear around change?

They were not all changes I wanted or initiated. Some brought a lot of fear with them. Fear of the unknown. I see now that Life was leading me – to a place where things are easier. There is a flow I have never experienced before, both inside and out. The transitions in my life brought a lot of growth. I just had to learn to be with it. All of it.

Is there an outcome expected or attached to the thing you are resisting? Or is there a loss associated with it?

Often times resistance is related directly to outcome or to fear about the outcome.

How can you overcome this?

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

07 May

Understanding Your Own Resistance-Getting at what is uncomfortable

Why is it so hard to do something sometimes? Like start something new? Or end something? As human beings, even though our minds and bodies are in a constant state of change on so many levels- cellular, psychologically, physically and spiritually. For better or worse, we naturally fight against it.

So what happens when what you are doing is not working? You’re taking all the right steps, but it just doesn’t feel right? Or you just can’t get to that task? What is that about?

[This post is one of a three-part series about resistance.]

I’ve been shifting roles from therapist to Life Coach in my career house over the past few years. It’s been a difficult transition because a divorce happened in the middle of it, throwing us as a family into a serious transition, and then a death followed, which impacted us even more. The result is that now I a single full-time mom, and sole provider, so my lifestyle is busy. There are frequently many balls in the air for me to juggle.

I don’t think a lot about my job title. I’m still a healer and teacher regardless of what my business card says. That’s my calling and my soul’s work. I’m comfortable with that. It’s also where my values sit, so it works. But pragmatism in our real world, along with the instinctive way many human beings interact is forcing me to become more specific about my work identity. I have to be clear how I present myself to the world – right down to the language I use on a website. Who am I really? What am I offering exactly?

“Get specific,” they say. “Be clear on the services you offer . . .” I read things that say: “The industry trend is . . .” And off I go, lost in things about verbiage and standards to “grow and develop your business”.

Honestly, I have zero interest in that. So I naturally resist that part of developing my business (I think I’d rather play golf!) And while we are on topic, creating business cards is about as boring to me as taking out the garbage. Where did the administrator in me go? Can’t I just pay someone to do this stuff? I just want to coach. Can we move on please to something interesting?

I notice as I attend to these various tasks, my enthusiasm and passion starts to wane. Procrastination kicks in. Suddenly I take on new interests (anything but this right?) But I love coaching, what happened? Why can’t I get those stupid business cards made?

The advice I’m getting is actually good advice. It’s solid. It turns out that that’s just not how I want to spend my time. . . My passion is in the creating, it’s in the relationship between coach and client. It’s in the sitting with the clients in their process. That is where I thrive. It’s in writing, exploring, learning and understanding, not creating documents or good marketing techniques. I enjoy the relationship human beings have with life, in hearing other’s stories, learning about their struggles, celebrating their successes; supporting them on their path towards growth and self discovery.

So how do I overcome this resistance and actually get this stuff done?

Some ways to work with resistance

Clearly I can speak from personal experience. So this blog is about my own process around this. With a background in psychology and having had years of my own therapy, I am naturally introspective so it’s easy for me to identify the resistance. But that’s not true for everyone. Below are a couple examples of how I work with resistance.

QUIET TIME: Sometimes sitting quietly can help. My resistance comes into my awareness in the early morning hours, when things inside and outside are at their quietest. When do you find yourself thinking about your resistance to something? Struggling with it? Is there a time when you can find some quiet contemplation around this?

INVITE AWARENESS: It’s ok to invite the resistance into your awareness. It’s already there anyways, just waiting to be explored. This is your opportunity. I like visualizing it. I find an image that encapsulates how it looks and feels to me. It might be a free flow of thought while journaling, a meditation exercise, and a quiet walk alone. How can you invite it into your awareness?

ACCEPT IT: I can be the first to criticize myself. I get it. We are a culture that celebrates action and achievement. Resistance is not part of the formula. But acknowledging and accepting that you have resistance to something is important. And it’s ok to be in that space. You’re where you are for a reason. It’s important in your process of self-discovery. So don’t push it away, judge it or bury it. Be with it. What would it feel like if you just accepted it?

OPEN A DIALOGUE UP AROUND IT: This can be done with yourself, with another person, with a coach, a therapist, a pastor, a manger, anyone that can listen and support you in an honest and positive way. That’s means with no judgment. Observations and feedback are ok, but someone poking holes in your identity when you’re sharing a personal struggle is not ok. Who can you talk to? What do you have to say about this resistance stuff?

WRITE ABOUT IT: Writing is a great tool, especially as an exercise for exploration. They say writing is a great way to bring the unconscious and conscious together. Why not give yourself a leg up in the process? Start a journal, write a blog (hey!) read about it, start to get a better understanding of what resistance means to you personally. How does it show up in your life? in relationships? In your work? What insight can you keep in this exercise of self-discovery? And what can you let go of?

Read the full series on Understanding Your Own Resistance:
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 1
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 2
Understanding Your Own Resistance, Part 3

06 May

A Quote for May

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

– Rumi, The Essential Rumi

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