Soften Into Resistance
Prior to becoming a wife, mother, and business owner I found the rhythm of my life generally effortless.
Prior to the heightened demands and responsibilities of those roles, it was easier to focus my attention on the present moment and to allow myself to observe and respond to what was happening as opposed to engaging in reactionary patterns.
Prior to the fatigue that comes with motherhood and being an entrepreneur, I had endless energy that would find me instantly at the sound of my 4 AM alarm clock. It seemed I was unstoppable and capable of anything life threw at me.
It was at 29 that I felt the rhythm of my life begin to shift. I had been a wife for two years, a mother for one year, and was a relatively new business owner. There was so much transition and change in such a short period of time that I felt an imbalance begin to work its way into the fabric of my life. The familiar rhythms and routines had faded, I was confused about where my time was going and what I was supposed to be doing, and I was risking running on empty.
We all hit those moments in life, those moments where life piles up on us. Those moments when we feel imbalanced, confused, or fearful. Our immediate instinctive reaction is often to fight, to flee, or to freeze. Our reaction often becomes one of building resistance rather than one of opening to what life is trying to teach us. It’s a reaction that is wired into our nervous system for self-protection and self-preservation. It’s a reaction that puts us at war with our reality, and to the degree we are at war with reality is the degree of suffering we will experience.
We all crave a level of certainty, routine, and predictability in life, but life isn’t going to be all of those things all of the time. Even if the current moment appears to have certainty embedded within it, anything can happen at any moment (or everything can pile up at once). The trajectory of our life can change in an instant. It doesn’t have to be good or bad. It just is. When we can accept this without fear, resistance, or attachment, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and discoveries.
If we look closely when we fall into the resistance patterns of withdrawing, avoiding, controlling, blaming, etc, we’ll find there’s usually a key emotion we want to resist feeling. It’s often not the situations themselves, but it’s the emotions and thoughts playing in the background that feed our resistance.
One way we can begin undoing the resistance is to start “waking up” from our own background static noise and self-talk. One of my favorite methods is to use the breath and the body as an anchor point. It’s a practice I regularly go back to when my life is imbalanced. Somatic (body based) awareness helps us notice what tension feels like in our body and what it feels like to let that tension go. As we become more adept at noticing tension and resistance in the body, and as we learn to soften into the edges of resistance, we often find a mirroring effect in the mental realm as well. The tone of our body can have an immense impact in the tone of our thoughts, actions, and reality.
How to do this in 5 minutes with 5 simple steps:
- Find a comfortable position in a quiet environment
- Close the eyes and take a few long, deep breaths
- Notice the quality of the breath without judgement – the rhythm, depth, speed, texture, temperature, etc. – see where you can soften the edge of the breath to find more ease
- Scanning the body from head to toe, notice the quality of the body in the present moment, noting where there’s tension or discomfort, and soften those areas of resistance
- Spend 5-10 minutes doing this and then slowly open your eyes and come back to the present moment, paying attention to any shifts in how you feel