This came in an email newsletter the other day from an inspirational woman by the name of Tama Kieves who wrote a book called This Time I Dance. Her words of wisdom really resonate with me and I hope you find them as helpful. â€¨
We commit to real change, and then we resist it. This cosmic dance has been going on forever in every ballroom since the beginning of time…
I’ve committed to write more this year. It’s what I want. Now that I’ve said it, I know I will drag into my writing room, and it will feel as though I have to hoist a dead body out of the way, just to sit down and type out a sentence. I’ll want to wash my hands, and then research how soap got invented, and then perhaps start a small organic soap company…. But I’ll stay there and write instead.
There is a part of myself who will wheedle: “Maybe tomorrow. You’ll feel better tomorrow.” Then there’s the one who’s painted her toenails hot pink and stomps her imperial feet. “I don’t want to do that,” she bellows. Another part of me bargains. “I’ll answer email now. I’ll do the dishes. Okay, okay, I’ll exercise!”
What is all that about? Therapists call it resistance. In spiritual traditions, they call it the death of the ego or the frightened self. But I’m thinking the technical term is: blah, blah, blah, something to ignore on the road to everything you really want.
In Buddhism, there is a classic story about Milarepa, a Tibetan monk who sought to meditate and find peace in a cave. You can think of it as his new year’s resolution. Just when Milarepa gets all ready to keep his promise to himself, these unruly, foul demons arrive and disrupt his lovely peace-fest. But Milarepa didn’t go ballistic and he didn’t go limp either. As the tale gets told, he accepted his disruptive energies and invited them to tea. He stopped thinking things should be otherwise, and refused to reject the way things were. Then having stopped protesting the demons, they simply disappeared. Those fun-loving Buddhists always have great answers for our pain.
Natalie Goldberg, creative writing guru, makes a similar point. She talks about writing past your inner critic, not giving the critic any energy or pushback. Remember that old childhood retort, “I know I am, but what are you?” That wouldn’t be a good strategy for an infinitely vicious and disturbed inner troll. She says fighting with your inner critic is like “wrestling with tofu.” It’s pointless, exhausting, and smelly in the end. So I’m guessing you can invite tofu to tea as well.
This year I’ve decided I’m going to write– no matter what form resistance takes. I may have to walk past a screaming baboon, crusted barbed wire, or stay in a room with a foul odor. I may have to look in the mirror and confront cellulite and age and the breaking of past promises. But it’s all okay. Because I’m on the road to freedom. There is only one road through this. I’ll be gentle with myself, but I’ll hold to my desires with both fists, all my breath, and the golden stallions of my yet untapped strength. I’ve fooled myself for far too long, saying it’s easier not to make the commitment. Now I know I’ll never live my full dreams without this commitment. Besides, resistance is the clear sign that I’m getting too near the gold mine or stash of real change. I must be afraid of something very big and explosively good. Ooh la la.
What’s the one thing you can do this year that would make every difference in the world to you? What calls to you right now? What would you regret not discovering, beginning, doing or finishing, yet again, for another year? That’s your road to freedom. That’s the pathway to everything you want. Your monkeys are out there. But so are the angels. That’s where you’ll meet your white hot truth and freedom. Everything else is a secondary version of your real life.
I see now that resistance doesn’t matter and will always be part of the turf. Resistance will take many faces. My feeling of failure doesn’t matter. My fear and shame and even all my “reasons” don’t matter. There is only one road to what I want. I can get on that road or not. My dreams aren’t going to change.
This year I’m going to take that road. It’s my year to do it.
I might have to crawl or step over broken glass and hidden rattle snakes, I don’t know. And I don’t much care now. It’s the only next step I can take that points me in my true direction. I’ll bring snacks, bribes, amulets, faith and self-mercy. But I’m going, baby. I’m taking the road to freedom. I hope I see you out there….