Pièce de Résistance

These past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a thicket of resistance. Struggling with what Is. Otherwise known as… suffering.

Wanting things to be different than they are. Comparing this with that. Wishing for that and not this. A healthy body. A flawless friend. Convenience. Trying to set things up so that everything is perfectly aligned: It’s a losing battle.

That feeling of gripping, it’s a hardened attitude. It’s also tightness in the body, a clenching of the jaw. Complaining, complaining, complaining. I don’t want to do it! Why do I have to do it?

And ultimately, all this reactive pushing-against means it’s easy to get knocked off balance.

Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground.
(Danna Faulds)

Funny how when we finally make room for or give voice to something in our experience, all of a sudden there are resonances everywhere. (Thanks Bob, for offering this piece of Danna Fauld’s poem, “Allow,” in the MBSR Practicum this week.)

So what about allowing resistance? Trying to ignore or get rid of resistance just leads to more difficulty. Instead, say: Hey, I’m really fighting this! What does it feel like? Follow it a bit and watch it a bit. I’ve found this brings some of my shadows into the light. Not resisting the resistance itself gives space for grace.

One last thought on this for now: pièce de résistance as “the portion of a creation which defies… common conventions and practices, thereby making the whole of the creation unique and special.” In other words, we also can work with resistance as a creative force. It has value. In resisting norms or dominant paradigms, mindful defiance can sometimes yield a richer experience. Personal transformation. Even social change.

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