Power and Resistance: Moving Beyond Fear to Action
by Liz Jansen
I debated on whether or not I should publish this post. On the one hand, I felt drawn to write it as a follow up to a previous post. On the other hand, I felt resistance. Seriously! Parts of me said it sounded too flakey or obtuse. I’d be better to write a different kind of story. I had to do my own work in preparing it. In the end, I went with my internal guidance. I hope you find it meaningful.
Two weeks ago, we talked about the need to overcome resistance in order to move forward. This week we explore a different relationship between power and resistance. Rather than viewing it as an obstacle to overcome, we can use its energy to our advantage.
On a motorcycle, we encounter resistance, known as the friction zone, every time we shift gears. If we don’t move through it, we won’t move forward.
But there are times we want to stay in that friction zone and harness that energy.
Slow speed turns are best executed by using the friction zone. As a proficient rider, you use this technique when pulling out of your driveway into traffic. And pulling into a parking spot at the donut shop.
Can you imagine what would happen if you let out the clutch during those maneuvers? You could careen into oncoming traffic. Or stall. Or over correct by grabbing the front brake and falling over.
That’s why it’s best to learn how to integrate power and resistance.
In life, resistance occurs when those parts of our selves we don’t want to see are activated. Known as our shadows, we’ve learned these aspects are unacceptable to our selves or our family. Whether we perceive them as positive or negative, we view them as a weakness. Thus, we keep them hidden and denied.
They don’t go away though. They stay outside of our awareness and operate without us knowing it.
You can identify your shadows by observing traits in others that trigger a reaction in you. For example, you may label a colleague as arrogant or a friend as judgmental. You may dislike someone who talks too much and never listens.
Likewise, you may admire people who you view as authentic, courageous, or compassionate.
The traits you see in others exist in you. They hold energy and they don’t go away. There’s courage in fear and power in anger.
It can take introspective work to recognize your shadows. And like the motorcycle example, you’ll need to slow down to tap into their power.
Acknowledge what they’re trying to teach you. Accept them so you can reintegrate their energy. Make peace with them.
Take the cue from someone who never listens to become a more active listener. Or embrace the beauty or courage you admire in someone else as personal qualities.
That energy that’s been hidden in the shadows will be freed up for growth and vitality.
How have you learned to use the power of resistance?
Related post: Managing the Friction Zone