Come close, dear. I have a secret to share.
Your resistance contains wisdom.
Multitudes of wisdom. Like a chest filled with golden, glistening treasures. You just need to stop shutting the lid if you want the gems.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. But Sonja, you constantly teach about the value of dropping resistance and embracing surrender.
Yes, and I’m going to keep saying that. Because surrender, otherwise known as the act of falling back into the steady arms of what is, has a view that is unsurpassed. But that doesn’t mean the resistance you felt on the way there should be tossed into a discard pile. Quite the opposite.
Let’s dig into this mess, shall we?
Any good conversation about the value of resistance must first begin with a teaching on surrender. These are sisters, one of the heavens and one of the underworld. I won’t assign one to any particular realm, because the truth is they can easily glide in and out of each. They are shapeshifters that way.
Surrender, at its best, is the aim of most spiritual practices. It is the release of the burden of one’s will and ego that, if left unchecked, stomps all over town proclaiming to know things. When we reach surrender (which is nothing more than the absence of denial that something is happening), the will of the divine courses through our bodies, showing us all that we don’t know.
However, surrender is only possible in the light of trust. Trust in another person to safely hold you over the edge without dropping you. Trust in the divine to guide you as you walk blindfolded. Trust in your own body’s experience and ability to communicate.
But without trust, surrender shows up as the ugly mess known as resignation. This is a tired sigh that serves as a yes. It is a life lived on lonely ceilings and cold front stoops. It’s as far from spiritual bliss as one can be.
So if you are being asked to surrender but the trust is missing, let’s hope that you have some fight left in you. Because this is the moment of your great resistance.
A Path of Self-Redemption
Fighting for fighting’s sake is foolish. To go about swinging your fists at anyone who appears even the least bit untrustworthy is a path to self-destruction. But strategic rebellion, as a way of either testing the ground for signs of trust or protecting what you love, is a path to liberation built by resistance.
Like food, resistance can be either poison or nectar – it depends on how you use it.
The most poisonous form of resistance is that which attempts to deny reality in the hopes of changing it. The kind of resistance that pushes against all the signs clearly pointing to what is. Think: people who deny documented events in history or refuse to believe others’ experiences that they cannot or choose not to see.
While this may sound like something that other people experience, think of the last big fight you got into – how graciously accepting were you of the other’s lived experience? You know, the one that shaped their worldview in a different way than yours. Unless you’re a saint, there’s a good chance you were drinking some poison.
We all engage in this kind of resistance. Sometimes it leads us to eat ourselves alive. Sometimes, it leads us to rock bottom, where we might pause long enough to realize it’s time to let it go.
It’s true, poison can turn into nectar.
Let me make this clear: dropping your resistance to seeing what is doesn’t mean you must agree with what is. It doesn’t mean you give way to the path of disheartened shrugs and 1,000-yard stares. Dropping the poison only allows you to acknowledge that a reality exists outside of the one you would prefer.
When you get to this place of acceptance, you’ll find your power waiting patiently. You’ll find it smiling back at you, showing you a basket of tools, and saying, “Now do something about it.” Because your power knows that when you really understand the landscape you’re looking at, you’re finally able to paint it in a different form.
This leads us to the type of resistance that is as sweet as honeysuckle nectar – the kind that sees reality clearly and says, Okay, but I’m gonna see if there’s a different way. This is the kind of resistance that is courageously disloyal, brilliantly destructive, and deviously subversive. It’s the kind that calls out unquestioned beliefs and origin stories told from festering wounds. Most importantly, it seeks to heal what it cannot change.
But: in order for resistance to act this way, it must stem from a pure desire. It must seek to protect the deep and beautifully vulnerable current of love that runs through your being.
In other words, it must rise up from the sister of resistance herself – surrender.
We cannot taste the nectar of resistance until we willingly embrace our whole selves, including all of our desires. In order to fight the good fight, we must know what we want, and have no apologies about it.
If you think that sounds hard, you’re reading it right. If you think it sounds like the most fulfilling experience you could imagine, you’re reading it even more clearly.
The most dangerous villain in your story is your own resistance to what you want and who you are. If any part of you is out of alignment with that, then you will waste your precious reserves boxing your own shadows and believing it’s working.
But when you have learned to lie back in the current of your being and see the sky for how you see it, you’ll know which parts of you deserve protection and what you are seeking to protect yourself from. There’s a difference.
The latter is a way of hiding, a defensive posture that assumes that something in us is terribly wrong and must be obscured at all cost. The former is mighty. It stands for action that upholds the parts of us that still love, despite all that the world has done to snuff out that candle.
When you hit that mark, you’ll soften your stance, yet your strength will be undeniable, your armor impenetrable, your heart radiant.
This, my friend, is how you win the war and the battle.
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