I’ve been waking early over the last few weeks, a combination of being too hot in bed and a mind full of thoughts has kept me wakeful, excited I admit, but wakeful nevertheless. This morning it seemed the right thing to do to just get up instead of fretting and fussing and hoping I’ll go back to sleep.
So at 4.30am here I am at my computer, writing. And it occured to me that the phrase I was looking for to get started is ‘resistance is futile’. And I write that with a wry smile on my face because it has always been this way, but sometimes I want to stamp my feet and shout ‘NO, it’s got to be this way instead’.
The phrase was first used in Star Trek as a message from the Borg when they encountered another race they were about to assimilate and it would be easy to assume that this has a similar meaning for me. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In my last post, we are all walking miracles, I talked about things just making sense when I stopped and paid attention to what was going on in my body, instead of riding roughshod over the messages it was sending me.
And it’s this aspect that I’d like to explore a little more this morning.
Before I carry on though it’s worth pointing out that the word ‘resistence’ has become synonymous with ‘right’ across so much of our political spectrum and we see it in movements like ‘black live matter’ and ‘me too’. And, in this context the word ‘acceptance’ has also come to have something of a negative concept as well. Neither of these are what I’m pointing towards. Instead I’m talking about the internal resistence and acceptance that takes place in our own psyche.
Over the years I have come to understand that there are two things that drive my behaviour
- My thoughts
- The circumstance I find myself in
Each of these are independent of each other and neither needs to be driven by the other. Often what happens though is that I believe what my thoughts are telling me about the circumstance. And, it turns out nothing could be further from the truth.
If I go back to this morning and not sleeping, I could have chosen to stay in bed, tossing and turning, creating anxiety for myself because I was unable to sleep and assuming it would impact on the day ahead in a negative way. After all, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few days and it’s what the logical mind tells me I should do ‘because the human body needs 8 hours of sleep every night’.
Instead, this morning I finally recognised that resistance was futile and that accepting I was awake and ready for the day would be a much better use of the energy that had woken me in the first place. This is not to say I won’t be tired later on, I may be, but I don’t know that will be the case. In fact, I may find that getting up when I was prompted to do so means I sleep better tonight – or not! The truth is I never know what’s going to happen from one moment to the next and I cannot predict the future, much less plan for it. So, it seems easier to just ‘go with it’.
There is a phrase bandied about in spiritual circles that goes something like ‘what you resist persists’, if you haven’t come across it before then it’s worth understanding it’s deeper meaning. When I resist something I end up putting a lot of mental and sometimes physical effort into avoiding something I think is going to be negative, I almost never resist something I think will be positive. But the more I think about whatever ‘it’ is the longer it hangs around and the more pain and discomfort I have as I consider my situation from every conceivable angle in my effort to diminish it.
What I forget is that the more I focus on something, the more it will show up in different areas of my life. For example, when my ex-husband and I separated, I spent years fretting over the injustice of the separation, and the home and money I had lost. Until one day I woke up to the fact that the only person this was hurting was me and in that moment I accepted what had happened and my part in how it had all turned out.
Even though I was now in a new loving and happy relationship, I had been trapped in the past. Once I stopped resisting the way my marriage had ended and accepted what had happened I found that things started moving in my life in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. New opportunities started popping up all over the place, I met new friends and was enjoying life again. My depression lifted and I found myself in a present moment that was good, better than good, and definitely better than the past I had been living in.
Resistence comes from the past, a past we don’t want to let go of even if it wasn’t that good. Acceptance comes from the present, which is where all possibilities exist and our future is born.
Resitence often comes from an expectation that life should be a particular way. But when you let go of resistence often life has a way of showing up that is better in many unanticipated ways because you open the door to opportunity. And I’ve found over the years that when I come into a state of acceptance the creative spark in me begins to glow, giving me new ideas, generating insights and showing me ways to tackle the circumstances I find myself in which I had perhaps felt were insurmountable when I was looking at them through the lens of my past beliefs and assumptions.
Perhaps the greatest lesson though is in knowing when resistence is playing a part in my life. And that’s easy, I always know it’s showing up because I get myself embroiled in internal conversations with my other self, rehearsing what I should or would say if only the opportunity presented itself.
Now, as soon as I spot what’s going on – and it can sometimes take hours or days – I find myself laughing and letting go. Not because I’m forcing that to happen, but simply because that’s just what makes sense because it isn’t real.