Do you ever find yourself resisting someone or something? Maybe you’re thinking that that someone else should be different – should do something differently, talk differently, or have different qualities. Or perhaps you think that a certain situation - the way things actually are right now - should be different , that something different should be happening.
I’ve known intellectually for a long time that resistance ties up a lot of energy and causes emotional suffering.
But I didn’t always embody that knowledge. Often, when something happened that I didn’t like or didn’t want, I would stay stuck in the emotions that kept me in resistance mode. And so, I suffered.
Before three years ago, I never would have guessed that a vacation “disaster” would turn out to give me a golden opportunity to release a long-term and painful pattern of resistance.
But this difficult event brought my resistance into the light, where I could clearly see it. It was “in my face!” Confronted with my strong resistance, I used the same tools I use with my clients to help me release my resistance. This stopped my suffering in its tracks and brought me to a place of peace and acceptance that felt so wonderful.
Here’s what happened: Several years ago, my life partner and I took a vacation trip to New England to bask in the fall colors and see new sights. I had not taken a vacation in over a year, and I was looking forward to this trip with great enthusiasm. I had spent many hours planning our itinerary, and was very happy with our plans and accommodations that included a two nights at a beautiful old inn and five days in a small apartment in the heart of Boston, with lots of walking on our agenda.
First, we flew to New York and spent a week visiting with family and friends who lived in the area. The night before we were to embark on our New England tour, my partner received an email that his 95-year-old mother had been taken to the hospital in Victoria BC. We were both pretty upset – both because his mom was not doing well and that we were on vacation so far away. After getting more details, he decided that he wanted to go and be with his mom.
So, we speedily and stressfully re-arranged all our travel plans. My partner flew to Victoria and I returned home, emotionally and physically exhausted.
Three days later, after catching up on my sleep, I still felt drained and upset and disappointed. As I mused on why I was continuing to feel this way, it dawned on me that I was telling myself a story. My story was:
“This shouldn’t have happened. This shouldn’t be happening.”
“I should be in New England, enjoying a trip with my partner. I shouldn’t be here in Regina.”
Pretty crazy, huh? Because it DID happen and WAS happening!
In that moment of recognizing my underlying story, I realized that I was resisting the flow of life.
"Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you.
And do not worry that your life is turning upside down.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?" - Rumi
In this experience, what I came to understand and feel deeply in my body, was how much my resistance was causing me to continue to suffer. And I don’t want to suffer so much anymore, so here’s what I did.
First, I asked myself some questions based on “The Work” of Byron Katie:
1. Is it true that this shouldn’t have happened?
- Part of me said “no” but a part of me still wanted to say “yes.”
2. Is it absolutely true that this shouldn’t have happened?
- No. Clearly, no.
3. What can I do now?
- I can take it easy for the next week, as I have nothing on my calendar. (It was, after all, still my “vacation week.”) I can fill my week with pleasurable activities. I can rest. I can be gentle and kind to myself. I can plan another trip if I choose to. I can enjoy my life right now.
But even though I now understood that I had options, I could still feel the resistance within myself.
So, then I tapped. I used EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) tapping to acknowledge, accept and release all the emotions, thoughts and beliefs that I was harboring:
- I still feel so disappointed and depressed that my vacation didn’t happen,
- I feel guilty for feeling disappointed when my mother-in-law is in hospital,
- I’m thinking that this shouldn’t have happened and shouldn’t be happening,
I accept myself and all my thoughts and feelings about this, and I’m open to releasing these emotions and beliefsso that I can feel calm whenever I think about this and any similar event or experience, and I choose to accept and be fully present with whatever is happening now in my life.
After tapping, I no longer felt any disappointment and guilt, and my negative thoughts were completely gone. I was now thinking very neutral thoughts: “This happened. I’m okay. What do I want and what can I do now?”
With my emotions settled down, it was easy to make a choice: I chose to take it easy for another week – the same amount of time I would have been on vacation – to be kind and gentle with myself, to enjoy my free time at home, to get some household tasks done, and to connect with friends.
Letting go of resistant thoughts and emotions through tapping brought full acceptance of the situation, and a return to be present with “what is” - right now.
And I didn’t stop there. Since I’ve had similar reactions in the past, I continued to tap for my lifelong pattern of resisting.
Even though I have this long-term pattern of:
- resisting and pushing away unpleasant things that are happening,
- feeling disappointed for too long when things do not according to my plan, and
- thinking that something different should be happening,
I deeply and completely accept myself and all these thoughts and feelings, and I choose to release these so that I can flow more easily with life as it unfolds, no matter what is happening.
Letting go of resisting “what is” with EFT tapping produced lasting results.
In the days that followed this tapping, I felt full of energy and bursting with aliveness. This showed me how much energy I had been using resisting the flow of life.
It’s now been over three years since this event happened and since I tapped. I’ve had much time to notice how I’m engaging differently in the world:
- I’m much more comfortable when plans change at the last minute or don’t work out as I had wanted them to.
- Even though my true nature is to plan in advance, I’m now more comfortable with spontaneity.
- When things don’t go according to Monica’s plan, my feelings of disappointment are much less intense than before, and they don’t last as long as they used to.
- Overall, I feel more settled in my body, less reactive, and take things more in stride.
- I’m much more in flow with the curve balls that life continues to throw my way, and the curves in the road of life.
I’m not saying that I do this perfectly now, or that I’ll never again resist “what is.” What EFT tapping gave me was a big shift in my being and my outlook – a gift of release and of moving to a new level of acceptance of the flow of life. Now, when I find myself resisting, I notice it very quickly and take action by shifting my thoughts or by tapping.
When we become willing to fully acknowledge our resistance and learn how to release it effectively, we re-gain our connection with the natural flow of life, and we open up to what life is bringing, right now.
©Monica Milas, September 2016
Are you resisting something or someone in your life? Are you resisting life as it happens? If so, I invite you to explore working with me so that you can be more present to our life and feel more alive. Simply fill out and submit the form at the bottom of this page: http://www.monicamilas.ca/personal-sessions/ - and I’ll contact you to set up a time to talk.