Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Resistance Is Futile

There's something about me that is dysfunctional. (Wife says, "Oh...?")

It's very much a bad habit, and it's in my way. I've been receiving guidance about it now since we opened Firefly Willows, but I guess old habits die hard.

I have grown up and lived my life as an over-achiever and as a hard worker. I have reveled in my ability to carry heavy loads, be strong, and grind my way forward.
In theory, I have held this capacity in reserve, used on an "as needed" basis.

The facts seems quite different. Upon close inspection of my behavior, I notice that if it isn't hard, I don't think it's worth doing. If it isn't a struggle, I don't feel like I've accomplished anything. If it doesn't include resistance - something for me to push against - it's not a good use of my time, talent, and resources.

That's kinda dumb.

Because I end up making everything harder than it needs to be.

When I find myself in a place of ease, I look for a way to push up against its boundaries, to find the edge. To find the resistance.

This behavior is in sharp contrast to the "effortlessness" I have been guided to embrace.

Seeking resistance, I'm informed, is pointless. It's no longer useful exercise - it's just wasted energy and lost momentum. It just slows me down. Perhaps it was useful once, but no longer.
I go for a walk in the woods and I see squirrels and deer. They blend effortless into their daily routine like melody in a song. I look at the undisturbed natural systems in the world and they always balance. Yes, there is death. Yes, there is loss. Yes, there is pain, in all those balanced systems. So? I know I don't live as freely as the chipmunk or the crow. My sense of security and of my place in the world is much more tenuous than theirs. I observe death, pain, loss here in this human construct we call "culture", in much greater measure than I see out there.

Effortlessness is not laziness. It's a willingness to let go of a white-knuckled grip on the wheel and take the time to enjoy the ride. It's about stopping the march and starting the dance.

In a deep shamanic trance a few years ago, my spiritual guidance fairly shouted in my ears, "STOP TRYING TO FORCE IT, AND LET IT HAPPEN!!"

Here I am, still trying to stop trying.


  1. I am the same way with writing-- it's why I've avoided first person for so long. It's too easy. Never mind that the ease probably means that it's the path I should take, a la natural talent, but it makes me feel like I'm cheating.

    I'm finally starting to embrace First Person, in little drips and drabs. A story here and there! Sometimes I still feel a little bit of guilt about it. But. It's a start!

  2. I recommend you stop trying harder to stop. try softer...

  3. Amalia - good for you! Start tackling the insidious, odious, malodorous, fictive "Life should be a struggle" mantra when you are younger rather than older. There's struggle enough without picking a fight with it.

    jws - excellent advice. It's a fine line that requires mindfulness - trying to stop trying is classic. Coyote is having a good laugh on my account.

  4. In 9th grade, I took geometry with Mrs. Pinkerton. She told me once that I was the only person she'd ever seen who kept making 8 step theorem proofs into 25 step theorem proofs. Ms. Armstrong told me I was the only one who could take a problem that should take 3 minutes to solve and turn it into 25 minutes of work. Sounds like you do that with life, not math.

    "Let Go" was the message for you a year ago and it is still valid today. As much as you think you know what it means, I think you're still missing the totality of that message. You'll get it soon. My instincts tell me that.


  5. Yeah! Glad to hear I'll "get it" soon. It'll be a welcome awakening...!