Most mornings I sit down with my journal and write. What gets written isn’t as important to me as simply creating the opportunity to release whatever thoughts, feelings and emotions need to flow out of my body. Some days I write about my sadness, the unexpected changes in my life or challenges I'm facing, and on other days I write about my dreams and what I feel is my calling.
No matter what I’m writing, I set the intention to let it flow.
No judgments. No corrections. If a word is spelled wrong, I leave it and keep writing. This time set aside to journal is sacred time. It’s a time to take care of myself, an act of self-love, and to release the burdens that I am carrying inside of me. And it’s a time to release resistance.
“What are you resisting?”
I was sharing my writing process with a friend recently. I explained how each morning when I sit down to write, I ask myself the question, “what are you resisting?” She was surprised that I started my day like this instead of ending the day recapping all the instances that I could look back on and see the resistance. It was a good point. I could see how doing a recap at the end of each day, assessing what went well and what didn’t, would be a powerful tool. In fact, this was something that I did for years.
Except I used the daily recap to beat myself up.
For me, reviewing the day and assessing the “good” and “bad” in my actions, steps or decisions became nothing more than a tool to beat myself up and validate that I wasn’t good enough. I would lie in bed at the end of the day and lament the things that I could have done differently. Not a very loving way to complete the day.
As I learned to love and honor myself more deeply, I knew I needed to make some changes.
I’ve been on a path to learn what self-love really means to me. To learn to re-parent myself in loving and gentle ways. To love and protect myself as fiercely as I’ve loved and protected my own children. And to do this, I had to begin to eliminate the practices, formal and informal, that resulted in me feeling bad about myself.
Which bring us back to the subject of resistance.
Shifting my practice from a bed-time recap to a morning exploration has dramatically changed my life. Instead of using this tool for the intention of finding ways where I have failed, it now becomes a beautiful invitation to be open to the possibilities of where resistance might show up in my day. And not just where it might show up, by why. From this vantage point, I can begin to explore the situations that arise where I might be resistant and use this information to explore more deeply into my belief systems and stories that I tell myself.
Without resistance, there is room for growth.
Don’t get me wrong, I still resist things daily. But with the awareness that has been evolving over time, I’m now able to recognize where I am resistant, explore the resistance sooner and pivot faster than ever before. This gives me the opportunity to not only observe my progress in a loving and gentle way but also to change the beliefs that caused the resistance in the first place.
Here are three things that I do to shift out of resistance:
- Set an intention every day to be aware of what it feels like in my body when I resist. If you don't know what resistance feels like in your body, you can start to explore this by simply thinking of something you know triggers resistant feelings. Sit with the sense of resistance and observe what your body feels like in this place. Is your jaw clinched? Is your stomach tight? Do you feel anxiety or nervousness in your body. Get to know these signals and then start to become aware of them as often as you can.
- Write about my resistance. Sounds simple right? But there are times when I will actually stop whatever I'm doing, pick up my journal and write for five or ten minutes about the resistance. My goal is not to make it go away. My intent is simply to bring attention to it and make space for the resistance to be present. Too often we try to make our perceived "negative" feelings go away before we get the deeper message they can hold for us.
- Share with someone I trust. This is a big one for me because for so many years I was afraid to admit when something wasn't going quite as planned. I didn't want people to know that I had challenges. I know! Crazy right? But that was where I was at the time. Sharing with someone I trust allows me to talk through the resistance and gain deeper insight and outside support at the same time.
So…what are YOU resisting?
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