You might know by now, that I love to ask questions. So…
What in your life, right now, are you resisting?
(Whether that is a little or a lot)
It really is a great question to start the illumination and growth process. Sort of like the sun shining on a seed in order to help it grow. You are the seed and the illumination in this case is the gaze of your CURIOUS and consciously aware mind.
In fact, to get the most out of this growth experience, you will also be adding another ‘superfood’ ingredient to the mix…COURAGE.
This article is inspired by a colleague of mine – Leah – a fellow explorer of life and its meaning (and also the author of a very cool book called Drawn Together: Uplifting Comics on the Curious Journey Through Life and Love).
Leah told me that my article on creating our ideal lifestyle was a total trigger for her. She experienced a whole bunch of RESISTANCE to the activity where you evaluate what your ideal lifestyle might look like. Therefore with Leah’s permission, and my own curiosity, let’s see what we can learn from her experience.
My blog article included 12 questions in order to help us gain a better understanding of what an ideal lifestyle would be like for each of us. Instead of just letting life happen around us, I suggested starting from a blank sheet of paper and working on ‘creating‘ our ideal lifestyle.
Leah told me that when she started reading the questions she felt a contraction and aversion to answering them.
Her first reaction was to turn away from the activity, but being someone who is into the learning and growing thing, her next (conscious) choice was to get curious about WHY she had that reaction in the first place.
Being curious, and having the courage to stand in the discomfort of any resistance we experience, is a HUGE part of personal growth and evolution.
There is often so much to be learned by noticing what trigger’s us and why.
In this case Leah had one of those common thought spirals we have all probably experienced, which goes along the lines of: “I can’t have an ideal life” or “I don’t deserve an ideal life” or “Who am I to ask for a life like that?”. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I am sure you can relate to this.
The method Leah used to work through this was to make the statement “I can have an ideal life” and then paid curious and conscious attention to how any resistance to the statement showed up in her body, in order for her to transmute it.
She also noticed ‘thoughts’ like: (If I had an ideal life) people would envy and dislike me and I might not be able to relate to people, etc..
It truly is amazing what stuff takes up uninvited space in our minds on occasions.
The other thing Leah did was to get curious about what may keep her attached to her current lifestyle, in particular the parts which may not be serving her so well.
Often there is a subconscious perceived positive by-product of us doing a particular thing. It is not until we truly get curious, and stand courageously in the discomfort that we get to see the FULL illuminated picture – the conscious AND the subconscious one.
This is a great example of experiencing or noticing RESISTANCE, but then using that experience and discomfort to learn what is really going on, particularly at a subconscious level.
What I would add to “Leah’s Lesson”
It has been my observation that most people, when they feel or sense resistance, their very next step is to look away, or distract themselves, or discard it (the feeling) as not important.
Thus missing out on a golden opportunity.
Let’s face it. Sometimes life is pretty hard to figure out. It’s complex. There are lots of moving parts.
Given this, we need all the help we can get.
This is the case with this thing called resistance. Our body is alerting us to the idea that something needs to be addressed. Something is out of harmony.
We might have conflicting thoughts in mind.
One thought might be: “I want to live a lifestyle of adventure, variety, leisure and only 10hrs work a week.“
An equally opposing thought might be: “If I have this ideal lifestyle people would envy me, not like me, talk behind my back, and maybe even make fun of me.“
Obviously these thoughts are out of alignment. They don’t and can’t harmoniously cohabit your mind. They oppose each other.
But here is the thing: Neither thought is true until we make them so.
If neither of them are true (i.e. they are not chiseled in stone), why not choose and focus on the one that makes you feel better, brings more harmony into your life and which helps you gracefully evolve.
Noticing and then leaning into resistance is a perfect opportunity to truly discover what might be holding you back (often a crappy thought or belief), and to gain perspective on what might be the ideal way forward for you.
Next time you notice resistance, don’t avoid it. See it is as ‘gift in strange wrapping paper‘.
Decode what it (the smaller you) is trying to tell the BIGGER you.
Then use that knowledge and right action, to turn it into integrated wisdom.
And eventually you will be saying:
“Thank you resistance for being one of my greatest teachers.”
Opportunities for learning and growing come from the most unexpected places – like a harmless article talking about how to create a lifestyle that you love.
Some of our greatest opportunities and lessons happen in the space of discomfort.
You already know that in the gym, it is through the creation of resistance (e.g. lifting a 10kg weight) that makes our bodies get physically stronger. The same goes for our mind and spirit. The resistance isn’t there to push us down, it is there to lift us up.
To help us grow, like the illumination of the sun helps those seeds grow.
Get curious and look behind, under, over and inside your resistance to see what is REALLY going on.
Then roll the sleeves up and create your own (uniquely you) masterpiece.
“Thank you resistance.”
Have a stupendously illuminating day and week, and all the very best.
PS: For a deeper conversations, check out my weekly Podcasts here.