Why Inner Resistance is Gold
As I write today, I am full of anticipation. There’s a new baby arriving into my chosen family, the first of the next generation, and I am very excited for her arrival. And by the time this post is published, she will most likely be here, on this side, eyes open and in her parents’ arms.
Although there are thousands of babies are born every day and it is sometimes viewed as common place, the truth is that each of those births is miraculous. A unique blend of Stardust, light and love coming into the world at this place, at this time, to these parents and grandparents and community. A unique soul with special magic to share.
And so I’ve been thinking about birth with respect to my coaching clients. Each one of them has come to me seeking support to bring forth something in themselves, be it be it more grounding in the present, more voice at work, more clarity of purpose. And I’ve been privileged to guide and support, like a midwife, the birth of another beautiful aspect of them that’s more aligned with the magic that they brought when they came into the world.
Do you know that feeling of something about to emerge in you? Something that’s been ripening? It’s like a new way of being that feels truer to your nature. It can be so exciting.
And, often, when we are in the change process, we encounter labour pains. Bones need to move. Fluids need to flow. Things must shift within us when we change.
And that’s where resistance shows up, right?
But wait. Don’t say, “Oh no, there’s my resistance again. I’m still not getting it right.”
Resistance is a natural biological function that is designed to let us know when our status quo is threatened. It doesn’t decide whether a change is good or bad; it just senses a change. What we know feels safe and dependable. What we don’t know, the change, will always feel riskier than the status quo.
So there is always resistance. It is a given and we must you must expect it. Just as doctors begin monitoring for signs of rejection the second after they’ve transplanted the kidney. Just as a manager schedules extra team meetings when a new person is hired. There’s always going to be resistance to change.
And it’s usually unpleasant. The immune system may start attacking the foreign kidney. The committee may come face to face with bad habits or unwritten rules in their way of working together. How does your resistance work? There was a time in my life when, on the cusp of change, I would quickly be engulfed in that same old, annoying cloud of confusion and procrastination. All I wanted was for it to Go Away!
But if we push our resistance away, then we are missing out on what it’s trying to tell us as we try on something new.
Instead, if we lean in a little closer to see it and hear it, what a wealth of information we receive.
The real juice is in getting familiar with our resistance, noticing its nuances, seeing the moves it makes when the status quo is upset, and hearing the stories it tells.
For example, if you’re trying to be more patient with your teenager, resistance might look like shoulders curving in around your heart or a nasty whisper that says you’re not a good parent. If you’re developing decisiveness, your resistance might sound a loud warning that you’re messing up and the consequences will be painful and irreversible. Resistance may have you leaving the room, eating junk food or laying in bed sobbing.
But it’s also a good sign because the appearance of resistance indicates that you are indeed on the path of change. You might feel wobbly and ready to run. That’s ok.
What I’ve seen in my coaching practice over and over is that resistance has a special ability to illuminate what’s below the surface waiting to emerge. It points to what we need to clear away or put in place for the birth to happen. Think: clearing out a dresser for baby clothes and buying a car seat, as my friends have just done.
And so I invite you, when your resistance shows up, to lean in and learn about it. You may think that you already know how resistance operates in you. You may feel painfully familiar with that same old obstacle that pops up. And yet, you may wonder if it’s really still the same. In fact, if your resistance is a tricky as mine, it may be telling you not to look at it: Just leave me alone and let me do my thing. What might you gain if you gather new, current data?
· Get curious. When exactly does resistance appear? What kind of change or unknown brings it forth? Does resistance raise its head just at the prospect of doing things differently, right in the middle of it or afterwards?
· Observe yourself. How does resistance insist you move (what would you see on a video replay)? What does it feel like inside your body? Does it last a second or hour?
· Listen. What do the voices sound like? What stories do they repeat? Are they even true?
· Check your heart. What exactly are the emotions that arise? Ripples, waves or tsunamis?
When you can see clearly what you’re resisting, you’ll also know more about what your resistance is trying to protect, bless its heart. And then you’ve found gold!
Coming into contact with that means you can design a new way of protecting it. A way that expresses even more of your true nature and the magic that you brought when you came into the world all wrinkly and new.