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The Voice of Resistance

By Claudette Rowley

Are you experiencing a sudden and overwhelming urge to clean out your garage? Straighten your sock drawer? Write an overdue letter to Great Aunt Minnie? You may be experiencing some internal resistance.

Resistance occurs when the desire to do or be something new or challenging meets an equally strong urge to repel that change. This creates a sort of "spiritual friction," which can show itself as everything from avoidance to discomfort or even acute emotional pain to downright depression.

Resistance comes complete with its own symptoms. You may be experiencing resistance when you notice that:

  • A project has surfaced that urgently needs completion. For example, a sudden urge to dust off a needlepoint project you started five years ago.

  • You spend a good amount of time rattling around your office or your house, feeling restless and unsettled, perhaps a little flat.

  • You've become a "critic" - usually in an area of passion or interest. Rarely is anything performed or produced up to your standards.

  • Every time your desire to write, start a new business or become a concert pianist surfaces, your inner critic quashes the desire, saying, "That'll be a ridiculous waste of time. You'll never make any money doing that. Who do YOU think you are?"

  • You circle the task at hand the way a dog circles its tail before settling down in a comfortable spot.

  • You spend your time coming up with a list of 432 reasons why you couldn't/shouldn't possibly move forward with your project, task or desire.

  • You feel fatigued for no apparent reason (resistance is exhausting) or you notice that your calorie intake increases in relation to your level of resistance.

  • You turn down the universe's offers of assistance. In other words, you receive the gift of help and you give it back.

You're probably wondering: "Why would we go to all this trouble to resist a desire, calling or a dream? Wouldn't it simply be easier to throw up your hands and embrace what's coming along?" In his book 'Callings,' author Gregg Levoy writes that resistance is a protective mechanism - it's because we think highly of ourselves that we look to protect our self-esteem and keep our sense of self. Our fear serves as a protective mechanism.

What we care about most is often the most treacherous terrain to traverse. When you hit on that dream or new-found ambition, the wall of resistance usually rises in direct proportion to the importance of the dream. It's human nature to protect what we treasure, and we treasure our dreams. An ambition yet unrealized still exists as an ambition. A dream remaining in a dream-state can be far more comfortable than the scenario of a dream half- realized, then shattered. For many of us, the proposition of a dream rendered asunder feels unbearable, and rather than risk that possibility, we keep the dream safely contained where no one can touch it - even ourselves.

So here's the good news. Resistance shows us exactly where we need to look. It's a treasure trove of unexplored questions, such as:

"What am I afraid of?"
"What do I resist looking at clearly?"
"What do I need to be honest with myself about?"
"What is my resistance protecting?"
The friction of resistance refines us; it causes us to look more closely, to discern more carefully. Notice the places in your life where you're experiencing resistance right now, and I'll show you an opportunity for growth, talents and dreams. So saddle up your courage, gather your resources and bend your ear to the wisdom the universe is trying to impart. Now that's a message worth listening to.
© Copyright © 2006 Claudette Rowley
Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Learn more at Claudette
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