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Change Maven Musings: On Reflection and Resistance.
Real stories. Real people. Real change.
Resistance as a conscious act. That’s an intriguing take on something that is often seen as an obstacle, something to ignore or avoid, or that shows up at incredibly inconvenient times on the path to change and growth.
Many of us resist because of our strong reaction in the moment. We don’t like something about that person, that situation, that paint color, so we throw out some unfounded judgment, add a dash of entitlement for some flavor, and a skosh of self-righteousness for sizzle. We decide that we are right, they are wrong, end of the story. Our version of the story, anyway.
When did we stop getting curious about what’s causing the resistance in the first place? When do we take that pause and notice how our strong reaction feels in our bodies (clenched jaw, pounding head, racing heart, ragged breath), so we can learn more about ourselves, see where we need to grow, and — heaven forbid — make some necessary (and often long-overdue) changes within ourselves? Where does it come from? Why is it there? What can we do about it, no matter how small that step forward may be? How do we give ourselves the space, the grace, to reflect on all of that?
There is something innate about both resistance and reflection for us humans. We’re wired to resist things that aren’t safe, that could cause harm and destruction, and that’s for good reason. However, the nature of physical danger has shifted today and we are becoming more conscious of the psychological dangers that are running rampant in our society, which present a unique opportunity to get acquainted with another mode of resistance.
It’s about resisting group think, social injustice, racial/gender bias, the increasingly isolated ways of being (sitting across from a real, live human in a coffee shop or restaurant and opting instead to scroll through social media in silence, anyone?). It’s taking back the very things that make us living, breathing, flesh-and-blood humans before they are stripped away from us forever and we are left with all of the “Big’s” making the decisions for us.
You know what I think about sometimes? How planting a few herbs in a planter box is an act of resistance, even if they all die in the end (this may or may not have happened to me…stupid basil plant). How the growth of those herbs are an opportunity to reflect on the miracle, vastness, and interconnected nature of…nature.
How putting down the phone, looking someone in the eye, and truly being present with another human can feel awkward and uncomfortable, and how I deeply want to change that response, one interaction at a time.
I think about how deeply distracted we are, every single day, that we have no unscripted time to gaze out a window, let someone we care about drop into our heads so we can send them a quick message to let them know we were thinking about them, or to sit down to a simple meal of Cacio e Pepe made by our own hand, and ideally shared with people we love and care deeply about.
I heard on a recent podcast a comment around how criticism can be a cover for longing, and how anger a cover for hurt. That truth of that statement resonated deeply for me. We long. We hurt. We criticize. We rage. I’m nudging myself towards a deeper reflection on how that truth has played out in my life, doing my best to ride those waves out like the surfer I aspire to be, fully anticipating the wipe-outs, as well as the sublime moments riding atop beautifully-crested waves, fully immersed in the experience.
We are in danger of losing those moments. We must reflect on which ones bring us joy, bring us back to our humanness and the connection we need, and to then resist the forces that want to strip them away. We must resist against that which assails us, both internally and externally. Resistance doesn’t have to be sweeping or grandiose. It often arrives in small moments, in seemingly insignificant or banal choices that present themselves to us, quick to vanish, never to return if we miss them.