I talk a lot about "energy alchemy." When I do, I'm primarily referring to the positive spiritual transformations I help my clients intentionally create. But there are plenty of other alchemical "reactions" we unknowingly trigger, and they're not all pleasant.
If there was an award for Most Toxic Energy, it would go to ... resistance. Big, hairy, claw-y, drooly, smelly, moldy resistance. Not fear, but the resistance to fear. Not pain, but the resistance to pain. Not grief, but the resistance to grief. (You get the idea.) The original issue might in its own right be stressful or traumatic (e.g., a painful exchange with a friend, a toxic political climate ... even the death of a loved one). Yet if we allow ourselves to experience that stress or pain without judging ourselves or the situation, those feelings eventually pass.
On the other hand, if we resist our emotions or steel ourselves against future traumas, we start storing that charged energy in our aura, where it functions as a powerful magnet for additional negative emotions and energies. Eventually, this energetic buildup starts seeping into our physical body, expressing in our tissues and systems as chronic pain or disease. I speak from experience when I say resistance can be a hard habit to break. It's also the seed from which resentment, regret, and despair all sprout. Good times.
Resistance, defined. Resistance is a simple thing: It's the attitude or feeling that goes something like, "I wish things were different." Resistance builds an energetic "wall" around our grief or fear, giving us a false sense of security. We might feel like we've ditched our pain or grief, but all we've really done is 1) buried our head in the sand and 2) painted the energetic equivalent of a bullseye on ourselves: Beyond those walls is a veritable petrie dish of bubbling, burbling negativity where the original emotion, fortified and fueled by oh-so-yummy resistance, grows fangs and claws and blossoms into an undead zombie version of itself. Have I mentioned I speak from experience?
Let's go a little deeper:
- Resistance + judgment: Energetically speaking, resistance and judgment are identical twinsies. When you decide something should be different from how it is, you're making a judgment. You're resisting. Resisting what, though? Reality. This act of judgment takes up valuable energy that could be used for navigating the reality of a situation.
- Resistance + attachment: Attachment is the flip side of the resistance coin. You've may have heard/read more about the perils of attaching than you've heard about the dangers of resisting. But both hold the same charged energy of expectation, and both trigger our impulse to control. We create attachments to things we consider "positive" by building up assumptions and clinging to outcomes. And we resist things we consider "negative," building up fears and clinging to defenses. Attachment and resistance zap our life force in ways that are similar, each robbing us of our clarity and of the potential to experience life as it truly is.
Managing resistance. If pushing away resistance is itself an act of resistance, how does one navigate these murky waters? You might not like the answer, here: You let in the scary energy. You allow the grief, pain, disappointment, or fear to occupy your precious space and wash over you - without judging it, clinging to it, or forming an opinion about it. Like I said, not the most exciting answer.
This exercise will go against everything that feels normal. But the surrender to things-as-they-are is our most powerful antidote to (or prevention for) the potentially crippling effects of resistance. Depending on the magnitude of your particular struggle, letting in that grief or fear might make you feel like the world is ending. Or you might experience relative relief immediately. Either way, the only way to get around is to go through.
What surrender is NOT (for the record). Choosing to surrender isn't the same thing as inviting fear or pain to set up permanent residence in your world. It's more like setting parameters around the experience: "I see you, grief. You are an appropriate response to this situation. Let's spend a few moments together, after which we can part ways amicably." With this act of allowing, you give yourself the permission to experience an authentic response--for an isolated chunk of time that has a beginning and an end. Yay, boundaries.
Since the idea of surrender is fairly abstract, I'll share a few of my go-to resistance-slayers:
- Resistance-slayer No. 1: Stop asking "why." Many moons ago I was dealing with the pain and invalidation of heartbreak and betrayal. I resisted the crap out of those feelings, asking no one in particular, "Why is this happening again? What have I done wrong this time?" Etc. etc. Then a very wise colleague told me asking "why" was tantamount to requesting a similar scenario so I could "figure it out next time." Noooo thank you! These days, I try to replace "Whyyyyy?" with "What next?" It's a much more productive path of inquiry!
- Resistance-slayer No. 2: Start saying "thank you." I'm not saying you must thank the powers that be for your pain. (Let's be reasonable.) But you can start to notice and reflect with gratitude on the things that bring you joy. And maybe - just maybe - once you have a little practice with that, you can offer up a "let's see where this goes" vibe to the experience that hurt you.
- Resistance-slayer No. 3: Give yourself an energy transfusion. Meditation and energy healing are pretty much my answer to everything. Not because they represent the easy way out (they don't; sorry), but because they work, as long as you approach them with an open mind and an open heart. The reason I offer the healings and sessions I do is because these are the ones that have helped me the most. Whether you get in touch to work with me, or another credible healer ... start learning, discussing, sharing, and practicing.
- Resistance-slayer No. 4: Try forgiveness. Practice telling yourself "It's ok, I forgive you." Do this even if you don't believe it, or you feel like it's a dumb thing to say. We are unbelievably hard on ourselves, and that's reason enough to ask forgiveness of ourselves (and to grant it). Another reason is that forgiveness and self-love are potent resistance slayers. Want to clear resistance? Love yourself. Forgive yourself. End of story. (I guess this could have been a much shorter blog post. :))
Let's learn from each other! Please reach out with questions about resistance, or share your stories about how you have defeated scary energy monsters through energy work.
Slay on, friends!