What Are You Resisting?

Ah, Resistance.

I experience it. And based on recent conversations I know colleagues and friends experience it. How about you?

Last week my husband asked me if I wanted to join him for a short kayak excursion. I responded the same way I do every time he asks. My jaw clenched, my stomach tightened and I froze, unable to speak.


Why do I resist kayaking so much?

  • I love the water
  • I love spending time in nature and outside
  • I love physical activity

In an effort to understand my resistance, and enjoy the weather, I decided to join him.

Lessons on the River

Here is what I noticed with each paddle:

Lesson 1: Basic needs

I fret about basic needs like food, water and bathrooms. Food and water weren’t a problem. We packed snacks and I tucked my water bottle into the kayak. The bathroom? My husband assured me we would find spots along the river to pull over if necessary. He was right.

The Lesson: Before taking a risk, get clarity up front about expectations and care for basic needs to feel settled.

Lesson 2: Confined to a small space

When I sit in my kayak, my legs disappear under the skirt which protects me from getting wet. I don’t like feeling trapped and limited. Yet without choices I had only one option: To pay close attention to my environment and be present.

The Lesson: Sometimes fewer choices provide more focus and less anxiety.

Lesson 3: What if my arms get tired?

In other words, what if I don’t succeed? Kayaking on a Sunday morning isn’t a race. Rest is always an option.

The Lesson: Stop once in a while to regroup, catch your breath and re-energize in order to endure and persevere.

What are you resisting?

When I think about my own resistance I think about how I sometimes resist

  • Writing blog posts and articles
  • Teaching yoga even though I love it
  • Asking for business
  • Making time for hobbies

When talking to friends and colleagues they resist

  • Starting a blog
  • Using social media
  • Publishing articles
  • Public speaking and sharing their message
  • Time for exercise, fun or hobbies

And then I wonder: What am I missing?

If I hadn’t joined my husband on the river, I would have missed so much

  • The fish jumping ahead of us as we paddled
  • White heron flying so low and close I could hear the whoosh every time they flapped their wings
  • Osprey searching for his next meal from high atop his nest

kayak osprey

  • The sun glistening off the river, providing a sense of peace
  • The spray of salt water that cooled my arm every time I lifted my paddle out of the water
  • A different perspective

I don’t want to miss out on opportunity by resisting

I realized I could apply the lessons learned on the river to other areas of my life. When I begin to feel resistance, I can check in and get curious:

  • Are my my basic needs met?
  • Do I feel limited or focused?
  • Is it time to regroup and catch my breath?

When I have conversations about resistance with others, one solution holds true:

Step into the resistance for more satisfying results

Even as I write this post I feel the resistance. Is it good enough?

I won’t know until I hit publish.

Your turn

What do you resist? How have you learned to step into the resistance instead of avoiding it? What lessons have you learned?

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  • Margaret Bellafiore

    This is so clearly written and on a topic that is quite complicated. I love your ability to analyze the situation. You have such a skill for breaking down the complex especially one that is literally “wrought” with emotion. Those kinds of situations for me are TOO BIG and TOO HARD to tackle. But you did it! Now, I need to get a sign made of your 3 bullet points so I can remind myself.

  • Cis

    I agree with Margaret. You took a topic that can stop or stall or make us avoid and hit it head on and showed why it’s great to face it down and “unpack” the blob of fear. It’s well done. I’m so glad you DID post and it has me thinking of my own resist fears (driving to Boston and into a parking garage at night, alone), ordering a drink at a bar feeling that there is a “right” way to get the bartender’s attention, pumping my own gas (which I faced and do all of the time) and these “things” that seem easier to just avoid but can limit experience. Go you!

  • Stacey Shipman

    Hi Cis & Margaret, Thank you so much for commenting. I was thinking of our recent conversations when I wrote and published this post! Step into it! :-)

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