Posts Tagged ‘resistance’

The presence of resistance

September 3, 2012

It took me forever to write this.

That you are reading it is testimony that I am not yet a master of resistance. I was unable to resist writing about resistance. It was even a mistake that I began writing about resistance. I misread this quote:

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
Pema Chödrön

I read the word “resistance” in that quote and decided right then and there that Pema was right. I was feeling resistance and, darn it, that meant it was time for me to “lean in” because that is exactly where I am stuck; however, please note that the word “resistance” does not appear anywhere. How Freudian is that? Note also that I am still resisting writing about my resistance.

I am but a novice struggling to make the art of resistance effortless. I don’t resist life entirely. I have made many things happen in my life and actually wanted most of them. There are a few more goals I want to reach but I still resist moving towards them because I would rather push the mountain instead of going over or around it.

(take a moment here and let that image sink in)

The mountain is the mountain resistance. You have one, too. And it is immovable. It’s a mountain! Occasionally, a few pebbles might tumble down and pop me on the head but I don’t think it happens as a result of my efforts. I think any movement on the part of the mountain is a spontaneous outburst to inertia. In other words, the mountain burped and then settled in a little more comfortably. That mountain won’t move because it is self-perpetuating. Pushing the mountain encourages it.

Pushing the mountain can look a lot like waiting for the “right time.” That’s called passive resistance in disguise and here’s how it goes:

“I really would like to [insert desire] . . . (let’s look at the mountain . . . hmmm . . . okay, start pushing!) . . . but it’s [too late, too dark, too early, too light, too soon, too cheap, too costly, too whatever]. . . whew! Did I push any of that lateness, darkness, earliness, lightness, soonness, cheapness, or costliness out of the way? No? But I tried SO HARD!”

Pushing the mountain can also look a lot like living but it is just a decoy for active resistance. Here’s what that sounds like:

“I would really like to [insert desire] . . . (inspect the mountain) . . . but I have to work, wash, clean, cook, travel, exercise, watch, sleep, stretch, fall, get up, love, be, whatever] . . . OH MY GOSH! THAT WAS SO MUCH WORK! But I got it all done. Now, I have time to devote to my desire . . . what? There is no time? But I pushed on the mountain ALL DAY LONG. What do you mean it’s still there??!!!”

Okay. I’m done.

For now.

©2012 by Barbara L. Kass

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the presence of resistance

August 3, 2010

Resistance is a powerful tool. It can stop any process or force. It can create its own force and defeat the efforts of nature, interrogation, desire, and microbes (note: with microbes your body mounts a defense and sends raiders to kill the invading microbe, so technically not resistance because a carefully designed counterattack is taking place; however, this is my blog and because that action takes place totally outside of our decision-making process, I am calling it resistance).

Resistance can be our friend – just ask any recovering alcoholic or ex-smoker.

I am strongly resistant. I conquered addiction to nicotine. I have resisted temptation hundreds of thousands of times in my life. For example, if someone cuts me off when I am driving, I resist the temptation to run them off the road and verbally* teach them a lesson in polite driving. The only lesson they might learn from that is to sell their car and buy a Behemothmobile. At those times, my resistance is connected to my inner wisdom. If someone is willing to risk hurting me and themselves just to get a space in traffic, what’s to stop them from hurting me as I prevent them from reaching their destination?

*screaming incoherently

Other times, my resistance gets in my way.

I am even resistant to writing about resistance. Resistance appears as a physical stiffness in my breastbone and a total lack of coherent sentences in my brain. I find myself immersed in distraction rather than production. I make a decision to surrender to my reluctance. I could make the decision to meet my resistance and negotiate. Like this morning. I would rather go read other people’s blogs but I am working a deal with my resistance to write about it.

I am resistant to writing about anything. I start a little interrogation with myself about what to write about, what I think about the subject, how do I feel, and then I check with my creativity to get some advice as to how I want to say it, and up pops my resistance. Behind that resistance are some whopper stories. I type in some words and immediately think to myself “But that’s not brilliant!” I want to see the mastery in each sentence before I proceed to the next. It does not matter that I know writing is rewriting, that I have the option of coming back to revise and craft the sentences until they reflect exactly what I want to say.

Sometimes the writing flows even through resistance, like water finding invisible cracks in a concrete dam. Here’s a revelation: even when my writing is flowing, not every sentence I write is brilliant. In fact, some of them . . . okay, MOST of them are downright remedial.

I consider all of my writing as works in progress. At some point, I will revisit this post and play with it some more. I am in hot pursuit of being a qualified writer who says things that other people find useful at some level.

I resist giving up.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass