What do you do when you meet, feel or are faced with resistance?
Do you lean in or bolt – or surrender?
Over the years I have faced many forms of resistance, as I imagine you have as well.
From decisions I’ve had to make in my career and still have to make daily, my personal and professional relationships, to even my health – I have learned much about this word, resistance. I have seen that through each of these hard and trying times, which can also be named suffering – I have often felt like leaning into the resistance would make it work, which at times it has – other times I have had to learn the lesson of just go with the flow.
We all encounter resistance in life, it’s how we choose to handle it is the real question that brings success and ease.
Let’s look at one definition of Resistance, as there are many.
“Resistance is a measure of the opposition to current flow in an electrical circuit.”
We are all electrical beings – with tons of tiny molecules bouncing around here and there – some moving faster than others. However, when we face certain situations that are difficult for us to move forward on, we are faced with some form of resistance.
In the early years of my career I was faced with this feeling and kept pushing forward; kept rowing my boat upstream against the force of the water. At many times I felt that if I just took a breath I would lose control and then be washed up by the raging river. However, I have learned to trust…
I don’t always get it right on the first encounter of resistance, but sometimes on the second or third.
Resistance can be a great indicator for us in life. It can help us, almost like a bit of an inner compass. Resistance can teach us lots of great things. When to speed up, when to slow down, when to release the relationship, when to surrender and get back to ease.
A few years ago, I was at a personal development training weekend, I was doing some advanced speaker training. My coach and mentor is one who isn’t a fan of the traditional way of learning but more experiential, he wants his students to live this amplified life, where they seek opportunities to consistently expand their comfort zone.
I went to this event in my head… I had just come off a huge speaking event with John C. Maxwell, Lisa Nichols and Jack Canfield – which was an off the charts experience for me to share the stage with such amazing legends in the personal development industry. However as much as this experience was incredible, my husband couldn’t make it as he was home with our three babies (which I was grateful for, but also upset that he missed this massive achievement of mine), my friends – who I thought would be with me til the end of time – were more interested in other things than being with me and my business (even though it was growing, I was starting to get a bit bored). Now, reflecting, I realize that I was being a bit of a 5 year old and in an “oh, woe is me” state of energy. I was probably causing a ton of resistance with my friends as well, without knowing it.
So, I head to this great week-long program to sharpen my skills, and I’m feeling this crazy pain in my ribs. It was awful, I couldn’t sleep right – I was in pain, however not a chance was I going to complain about it to anyone. I just sucked it up and kept going.
A few days into this program I’m having a great time – however I still have the pain, and to be honest I was in a very bad mood. I just couldn’t shake how disappointed I was with some of my relationships in my life at the moment. Next came the board break exercise. I have done these many times in the past and it was never ever an issue. Set my intention, know what I’m breaking through towards, get in the proper position and BAM – break the board. Easy-peasy…
Through running these exercises for many years I have seen so many people struggle with breaking the board. It’s not the board that is keeping them stuck, it’s the resistance they are creating that’s not allowing for a breakthrough to happen. In life we can get stuck, and stay in a place that even though feels so uncomfortable, has become comfortable. You will know what this is if you complain about a situation all the time that keeps repeating itself and doesn’t change.
So, here I was ready to be the hero. “I’ve never had a problem with this”, I thought. “Piece of cake, I got this” were all the words that ran through my head.
I got my partner, set my intention, knew what I was going to breakthrough towards and then…. BAM …. I hit the board and it didn’t break. The pain in my ribs went through the roof. I was like, “WHAT the F?!?”. So, I tried again, and again, and again. By this time my hand is killing me, my ribs are in agony – yet my ego was saying DO IT AGAIN, and AGAIN. You are weak, look at you, all of your peers are here and you can’t break the board. Resistance, after resistance, after resistance.
Then, my coach just simply walked by, completely aware of my intense frustration, pain running through my body, my mindset already feeling so defeated and lost – and just looked at me and said “it doesn’t always have to be HARD, Shannon, you can break the board in another way”.
I had totally forgotten that I could use my foot to break the board.
Within seconds, I had the board set up on the floor and with all my strength, in a very trusty flip flop I might add, I went through that board and into the cement floor — where I then felt intense pain in my foot!!!
The pain in my ribs was now gone, which was amazing – however the pain in my foot was almost unbearable. What have I done, I thought. Did I just blow my achilles tendon, fractured my heel?? I was unsure. But again, I was mad and frustrated. I wanted to just leave the event, run home and cry into my pillow for months. I wanted to hide away from everything and everyone. It was awful.
I knew I had to go to the hospital but after being checked out by a few amazing therapists I knew I was going to be okay.
My mentor then asked me to stay and wait for a bit before I got completely checked out at the hospital. I was like, “are you freaking kidding me!?!”. NO, I don’t want to stay. I want to flee… he shared with me that the next speaker would help me. I really didn’t understand, other than the fact that I trusted him and thought “what the heck, emerg will be busy anyway so I might as well stay for an extra hour and see what this is all about”. So with my foot wrapped in ice, I went back into the room for what was one of the best outcomes I could have ever asked for.
Her name is Natalie Alexia and she is the founder of the movement Love is the New Black. Through her talk, I became inspired, I started to get back out of my head and into my heart again. I didn’t realize at the time that so much of my resistance was coming out of my own insecurity and fear. As I listened to her I could feel myself becoming whole again. Broken, yet whole. I could feel the fear and rise once again.
As I laid on the floor after our meditation, the pain in my ribs was now completely gone, the pain in my foot was manageable and I knew that I had to go through this experience to teach me how to deal with many forms of resistance. In that 3 hour period, I feel like I had gone through it all.
That day changed me. Yes, I ended up with a stress fracture in my foot and lots of soft tissue damage, nothing that wouldn’t take time to heal. The new outlook on life was my gift. As we finished the meditation – I was asked to think of a statement that if I could tell the world a story what would it be. These were the three words that came to me and have become a bit of my words that I live by. TRUST THE NOW!
The crazy thing was that what I had written on my board was this.
Breakthrough “getting out of my own way” to just “BE”. Interesting that I needed to learn a very hard and physical lesson for this to allow me to just BE.
I came home after that week, and went camping for 3 weeks with my kids – crutches and all. I normally would have come back, pissed off, hurt and in a state of shame and blame.
However I came back with a huge sense of gratitude, peace and ease.
Resistance is a great teacher, one for me that has taught me tons.
If you are facing resistance now in your life, know that there is ALWAYS a solution.
Ask yourself: What is this costing me by allowing this resistance to stay?What am I learning about myself with this resistance?Is it time for me to shift, pivot and let go?
Take some time to meditate and ask for your answer to get back to ease.
I love to use my Fearless – Face Everything And R.I.S.E Strategy when it comes to many things and it’s great for this too.
Review and reflect – Meditate on where you are feeling the resistanceInnovate – Imagine your life without the resistance. What are you learning? What would your life look like if this resistance shifted or was released?Strategize – Create a plan to move back to ease. Execute – Get into action.
In my opinion, resistance is a key to our ease, for us to realize that maybe we need to grow again, or shift directions and create a new plan. Or to really… “just go with the flow”.