“Where there is resistance…LEAN IN.”
I didn’t get it. It seemed simple, but what did it really mean?
This was the topic of one of my vibrational medicine courses, and it turned out to be a very controversial topic. In fact, the idea made a lot of students angry. One student told the teacher off…and never came back to class.
Emotions were high that evening, and I could feel all of them–from myself and everyone in the class.
Why? What is it about resistance that makes it such a triggering topic?
I tried to understand the meaning of this phrase but ended up feeling like I was searching for ghosts. How do you find your resistance if, by definition, it is something you are avoiding? After all, resistance is something that you are reticent to observe in yourself. Something you keep glossing over and saying, “It’s fine. I don’t mind.”
It reminds of this meme that kept circulating during the pandemic:
Sometimes I just want to drink my coffee, OK?
And the truth is, there is no problem really. You can keep drinking your coffee and ignoring the chaos for the rest of your life if you want. And the universe will never judge or punish you.
But maybe one day you decide you want to change. You want to improve your life and stop putting out fires—and this is where we lean in. You lean in and get curious about what is holding you back. You may ask more difficult questions such as “Why do I find it so hard to forgive?” or “Am I really happy in this job/marriage/etc?”
My resistance blocked me from starting an energy medicine practice for many years. I could not see the resistance at the time, but now that I have moved through it, I can see all the ways I ignored the support and signals along the way. There were signs pointing me in the right direction from the very start of my childhood–having grown up in a household of alternative medical practitioners. When I was a teenager, I developed precognizant dreams, which were truly amazing, but I pushed forward with other pursuits. I just wasn’t ready to truly see myself in that light.
Finally, after I had achieved what I thought I wanted in a career, I woke up one day to find that I wasn’t truly happy. I remember that day so clearly, driving to work and becoming aware that I had a knot in my stomach–it was dread. I paid closer attention and noticed this knot appeared most days on my drive to work. It didn’t take me long to realize things had to change after that.
This much is true when it comes to resistance: when you are ready for change, there is no stopping you. It may take you months or years–but you will get there.
Removing resistance requires a change of perspective, and this can be the hardest part. This is often where anger or denial is stirred up from your mind, as a form of self-preservation. You will need to let go of old beliefs that no longer serve you, such as “work is supposed to be hard” or “I have the worst luck (i.e. I’m always the victim). Out of fear, you may hold tighter to those beliefs at first and you may even yell at your teacher for suggesting things could be better. (How dare she?)
But resistance is not all bad. I can look back and see the good things that came from my journey through it. I am also starting to believe that we need a certain amount of time to integrate our lessons—and resistance buys us that. When you are making a big shift in perspective and letting go of what you thought was true, this requires time and patience. It’s like watching the world go from black and white to technicolor–or all aflame to quiet embers. There is a smokey middle ground where you stand between what you thought you knew and what you believe now. This nebulous state of integration is so important, and really cannot be rushed. I needed several years to view myself differently. I needed time to make new dreams.
Now that I am on the other side of my block, I find it all very amusing. It’s adorable how hard I pushed away everything that I truly wanted. And my old friend Resistance laughs along with me, for her and I share this inside joke. Now that I know her, I recognize her more easily when she shows up in other areas of my life. But it doesn’t mean I’m ready to change.
Depending on the day, I may just invite her inside to share a cup of coffee with me. She gives me a knowing smile, and we both enjoy the warm glow for a little bit longer.