All human beings are creative/creators, whether or not we claim this capacity. No matter what you are experiencing in the moment, you had a hand in creating it. This is not blame, if you don’t like what you have. This is a message of hope – that when you create unconsciously, you can become a more conscious creator. And this is scary territory!
You’ll find resistance hiding in plain sight, in any excuse you offer. It’s not bad, it’s a part of life. Resistance needn’t be the limiting factor – rather your reaction to it will determine whether it’s the springboard to transformation, or the edge of the cliff you dare not step off of and learn you can sprout wings (figuratively).
So resistance – to seeing, claiming ownership and creating a new dance entirely – is a protective factor, designed by the small, frail ego, who has as its mission to PROTECT you from what’s scary. So think small – “Who do you think you are. . . ?” and retreat from confronting your shadow (to avoid thinking you need to grow or change) , or take on confronting your shadow, excessively (because you’ve got a LOT to fix in yourself, and it’s a never-ending game of self-improvement). Either way, the ego wins and keeps itself in a job.
You needn’t stay caught in the endless loop of binary avoidance/perfection strategies. Fortunately, there’s a third option: see resistance for what it is and move TOWARD it, with tenderness, compassion and courage. If you can engage with it, with support at first, you’ll emerge on the other side. It then becomes the portal – the key really – to personal transformation. Transformation is the result of moving from one state of being to another, or from one perspective to another – like water transforms when subjected to heat or cold.
When you apply the heat of awareness, action (moving toward with curiosity) and openness, something shifts automatically. That’s where the unknown comes in. Every hero’s journey starts with a bold, brave intention – “I’m going to have an awesome adventure/life/job, etc.” Then you set out, leaving the comfort of your known life and way of doing things and get a little uncomfortable. Not sure where to go, what to say, who to ask, what to do. . . but you partner with the unknown and begin to listen more acutely to your insides, to your impulses and intuition.
Good news – there are no ultimate mistakes! Every choice leads to new awareness, learning and opportunity. Each action or inaction you take, leads to an outcome – one you either like or don’t. But that’s not an indication you’ve failed or should give up. It’s an indication you’ve gone beyond your familiar comfort zone and are in new territory. Staying open, non-judgmental, curious and willing to continue are what you need to call upon. Resistance is just fear-based ego logic that doesn’t have to limit you.
That being said, there are certainly times to honor the resistance, hang out with it and observe how it affects you. It is not helpful to just push past it and try to clear it out of the way, for whatever we resist, grows stronger. Stretching a too-tight muscle too vigorously, causes the muscle to tighten, in an attempt to protect itself from stretching too far. If we continue to exert force, it might actually tear. However, if we sense the resistance, breathe a little, soften into the feeling of discomfort and observe with kindness and stay present, something gives. Something opens up and yields – not because we demand it, but because we are present, accepting and willing.
When you work creatively with your experience of resistance/fear and move toward that which is unfamiliar and challenging, with kindness and care, dedication and persistence, something opens up and expands your options and access to resources. You need to keep your goal in sight, but know at some point in the journey, it may seem unachievable. This is where the magic starts. You begin to experience a shift in your relationship to resistance, much like the tight muscle. You soften, breathe, gather and apply yourself to the tension, with creativity and courage.
Suddenly, you are not defined by your ideas of what is safe, known and familiar. You step into your limitlessness, and access your pure potential for creating new outcomes. Along the way, you harness faith, will and trust. Fortunately you needn’t possess these qualities, but they come when you take each next step. It’s like in the movie Avatar – each step lights the way. The ground comes alive as you move forward. So does the ground of your being. With each step in to the unknown, you come more alive.
Resistance is the portal. So see it, welcome it, become curious about what it’s trying to protect you from. Reach for a hand of support, and step forward, with courage and self-love. And as Satchel Paige once said, “Dream big. Small dreams ain’t got no suction.”
And I would add, “Don’t let resistance be the barrier to dreaming big – it’s the portal for your transformation. Acknowledge it, honor it even. Then find your unique way through.”