What if resistance was an indicator of a place to grow as opposed to a primitive defense mechanism that operates on fear?
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When I was a kid, I used to stand in the doorway of my bedroom and press my arms as hard as I could against the doorframe for 30 seconds and then step away to feel my arms magically rise up. How wondrous it was to feel that involuntary lightness. I never much cared to wonder why it happened, but was completely delighted each and every time that it did!
I now know that there is a scientific name for it called “Kohnstamm’s Phenomenon”.
Years later when I was teaching dance in NYC, I discovered that a similar principle could be applied to increasing flexibility. One dancer would stand against the wall while the other helped them raise their leg up. When the dancer with the leg in the air had stretched as far as they could go, they were instructed to press down as hard as they could against their partner’s hold, creating resistance and , when they couldn’t resist any longer, to let go. The result? When they stopped resisting, and relaxed/let go , their flexibility increased. They were able to stretch even further than they had before.
Today, through my lens as a coach, I can’t help but wonder if this principle can be applied to the way we approach our lives.
What things in life are we resisting that might actually be opportunities for growth if we consciously choose to let them go? Think about it. What would be different if we voluntarily stopped resisting things in our lives?
By definition, resist means “to fight against or oppose something or someone”, “to refuse to accept or be changed by something” or even “to stop yourself from doing something that you want to do”.
DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH ENERGY THAT REQUIRES?
All of these imply that there is something undesirable on the other side. An adversarial person, thought or thing that you are using all your might to keep out. Not to mention exhausting yourself in the process. But what if you reframed resistance as a tool that might actually increase your flexibility when used consciously. As my students did all those years ago in my dance class?
What if resistance was an indicator of a place to grow as opposed to a primitive defense mechanism that operates on fear? If you're a Star Trek fan, the enemy Borg threaten the humans by repeating the phrase “Resistance is futile!” meaning “don't bother resisting because we'll overtake you”. But resistance is not futile at all!
If we draw awareness around where in our lives we are resisting, we can also shine light on how we can use resistance to stretch the limits of what’s possible, to increase our edge - not by continuing to resist - I’m not talking about GRIT here - but by letting go. Not because you can’t resist any longer but because it serves your growth.
“ If you assert your will against the energy of an event that has already happened it is like trying to stop the ripples caused by a leaf dropped into a still lake. Anything you do causes more disturbance not less. When you resist, the energy has no place to go.” - Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul