Contemplative Photography & Reflections

The Surprising Intensity of Resistance

It is a gorgeous, warm, sunny, Friday afternoon in October. The Friday afternoon feeling is a wonderful feeling that heralds two days of relative freedom!

There is so much I want to do this weekend. First and foremost, I want to WRITE! There is so much inside me that wants to be released on paper! It’s been hard to fit in writing time during the week after exhausting days at work – and futile to even try on some days. The weekend is when I look forward to making space for writing.

I want – no, I need – time alone to recharge my batteries after teaching kindergarten all week.

I want to spend time with loved ones. Sunday is my parents’ 51st wedding anniversary – the first one my dad will not be able to celebrate with my mom. I would like to be around for him this weekend because I know it will be difficult for him.

I want to have some time this weekend to work on mid-term reports that are due in a week – and to plan and prepare for the work week ahead. It’s so easy to fall behind!

And of course I want to follow light and beauty with my camera and share magical moments.

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But I am not going to do any of these things this weekend. Instead, I am beginning a new adventure that involves spending the weekend at a retreat center four hours away with a group of people whom I haven’t met, shut off from the outside world. It is a commitment I have made to myself for deep healing and spiritual growth – the kind of work you cannot do on your own. Speaking with someone who is in the homestretch of this journey was like talking to my future self – a self who has faced and overcome many fears, barriers, and defenses and is more integrated and stronger as a result. I want to birth that self even if it means going through the hard work of labor – for I believe it is worth it.

This afternoon, I am experiencing so much resistance that I could gnaw off my hands! Part of me wants desperately to stay within the confines of my comfort zone and not go away this weekend to embark on this new adventure. It wants to remain fixed and stable and feels like crying, gnawing, escaping. But a deeper, quieter, calmer, larger part – the part that feels like the backdrop on which the events of my life are played out – is steadfast and confident that I must go. The deeper part knows it’s all going to be okay. Better than I can imagine. I sense that the larger part can hold it all. There’s room for everything.

The voices that would have me stay home are the ones that have kept me stuck all these years, that haven’t allowed me to grow past a certain point. I can’t follow them anymore, for they just lead me in circles. No, thank you. I’m going to get off the carousel this time.

The work I intend to do is similar to how I need to train my kindergarten students in order to have a well run, effective classroom. I can’t get rid of difficult students but have to learn more about them so I can work with them more effectively and do my job to the best of my ability. I cannot allow the behavior of a small number of children to sabotage the experience of the whole, just as I cannot allow myself to be sabotaged by unhealthy or undeveloped parts of my psyche.

In the future when I look back, I know it won’t matter one iota that taking the first step wasn’t easy. The only thing that will matter is that I did it. That I forged ahead despite the parts of me that felt threatened by my commitment to healing and evolving spiritually. I’ve done it before and want to strengthen that response whenever it’s time to shift or change in some way. I want to live dynamically.

Of course, after acknowledging how unsatisfying certain aspects of my life are, I remember all the underprivileged people in the world who don’t have enough resources to feed their families. People living in war zones. People who are dying or watching loved ones die. So much suffering! What right do I have to be discontent with any aspect of my privileged life? To complain about anything at all? The irony is that the suffering of watching a loved one die is what awakened me to the realization that some things need to change in order for me to live a fulfilled life. It’s not about the grass being greener elsewhere. It’s more about flowing with the current. Getting off the carousel when it’s time.

How strange that, at the same time, it is so hard to fathom staying the same and also so hard to take the first step into the unknown. At this moment, I am feeling the tension between simultaneously being discontent with current circumstances and being afraid to change. I’m writing about it because I know it is a temporary but very intense place to be. It’s the point at which you can choose to stop or to proceed. But despite the resistance, stopping is not an option.

I’m making a choice to be really aware and conscious and to explore those places that frighten me, that I didn’t even really know were there because I feel pretty comfortable with myself and enjoy spending time alone. I’m actually very surprised by the intensity of this resistance! It makes me think that the possibility for transformation is even greater than I’d imagined!

And I know I am going to look back at this afternoon and laugh about all this resistance. Possibly even by the end of the weekend.

The photographs in this blog (except for those attributed to other owners) and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a “custom print” in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears.

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this website’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography (river-bliss.com) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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