May 1, 2018
“Why are you resisting?”
“You’re resisting. Why?”
A poignant and profound question, posed to me last week by my wisest and most insightful nemesis: The voice in my head.
Just can't get away from that guy.
It's my own fault. I set myself up during the latest in a long string of mostly futile attempts to meditate. I’m not very good at it, and, frankly, I’m not sure how good it is for me, but I was ping-ponging around in my own brain, asking the usual questions about purpose and life and what I’m meant to do, and from the depths came the voice.
“Why are you resisting?”
I didn’t have a good answer, and the conversation, if you want to call it that, didn’t go any further. It did, however, leave me thinking about some heavy stuff. Why indeed am I resisting? And if I’m resisting, what am I resisting? And how is that hurting me? Or helping me?
Tough questions, man.
There have been times lately when I’ve felt like I’m resisting music. I want to go further. I want to expand. I also know that expansion can create problems. Touring takes you away from home. Money is money. I have an issue with feeling guilty for enjoying the work (which opens up another rabbit hole I probably need to explore). Music is an uncertain path, love it though I do. Maybe I haven’t surrendered to that and it holds me back.
Or maybe it’s something bigger. The last four or five months have been about letting go. I’m still having trouble with that, even though I’m doing better. Resisting is very much an ego function. To the ego, letting go means giving up – possibly – whatever dream or plan you may have had. It means your music career might dissolve. It means your business idea might go bust. It means that person you’re so sure is perfect for you might fall for someone else. It means allowing for the idea that you might not know best, and having faith (there’s that word again) that things could work out better than you ever imagined.
Ego tends not to see that missing out on one musical opportunity might open the door to stadium tours with someone else six months down the road. Or that approaching your business from a different angle might produce the very thing that makes it viable. Or that the girl you’re so hung up on could be a raging sociopath, but the person you can’t see behind her might be the love of your life.
If I’ve learned anything in my travels, it’s that ego can be a killer.
A seductive, convincing, and extremely potent killer.
So maybe that little meditative intuition was reminding me that I’m not fully surrendering. That I’m hedging my bets or holding something back or still trying to control things. That I’m resisting the flow instead of letting it take me where I need to go. That my ego remains in charge. It’s a hard lesson, but evidently it’s one I still haven’t learned.
Hey, stop me if you’ve read this before:
“John, why are you telling us this stuff?”
Well, partly because it can be helpful to write your way through things. More than that, I think probably a lot of people are resisting something in their lives. It’s not necessarily resisting the universe or a dream. Maybe you’re resisting forgiving someone for something. Maybe you’re resisting believing that you’re good enough. Maybe you’re resisting a new job or career. Maybe you’re resisting a move. Maybe you’re resisting a great opportunity. Maybe you’re resisting a haircut. Who knows?
The question is why? Is it ego? Is it because everything’s supposed to unfold in a particular way? Is it because your dream wasn’t supposed to be what’s showing up in front of you? Is it because you don’t want to “lose,” however you may define that? Is it because you don’t have faith in whatever alternative might come along? Are you afraid? Do you feel undeserving?
How’s that working for you?
How’s it working for me?
Not great so far at times, but as I’ve written before, we can always start again. If you’re feeling some sort of persistent nudge or seeing signs or have a very obvious thing that you’re pushing away, think about whether you’re resisting and why.
Then imagine all the amazing places the flow might carry you if you let it.
Hope we run into each other along the way.