I was waiting for snow.
It felt important.
I’d been invited to participate in the Winter Harmony series that’s taking place at Inner Alignment Mandalas.
I wanted to do a video to show the beauty and peace of winter as I experience it here in the “Land of Enchantment” (New Mexico’s label).
I really wanted to share that!
So where was all that white fluffy stuff? Nowhere to be found!
I waited and waited. But alas. My snowy video was not to be, and I was disappointed.
(We did get snow later, though! And just in time for a few New Year’s day photos: Experience Your Beauty).
Resisting What Is
As I considered that, I got to thinking about all the times I’ve felt at odds — even in small ways — with what is.
Sometimes the feeling knocks me over the head with its intensity, but sometimes I barely even notice.
The odd thing is, the case where we don’t notice can actually be worse, because we don’t have that chance to work with it consciously.
The First Step to Getting Unstuck
Being aware of our resistance so we can work with it consciously is the first, most important step toward peace with what is.
When you can notice, you’re well on your way.
Fortunately, there are lots of signs life gives us when we are entering (or well into!) that state.
They come in many forms.
They can be obvious, in the form of mental, emotional, or physical turmoil.
Or they can be so subtle we barely notice. We can be so used to feeling these niggly little discomforts that we don’t even feel a difference. In this case, especially, self-awareness is the trick.
Signs You Are Probably Fighting What Is
Here are some signs that you might be fighting life.
Obvious indicators often have their own, built-in suffering.
Here are a few:
• Addictions — to anything! This can be to drugs, food, work, shopping, T.V., negative thinking, “distractions”, etc. Anything that serves as excessive escape. (And okay, some not so obvious, especially where denial is involved.)
• Physical problems caused by upset: a knot in the gut, abdominal upset, aches and pains caused by stress, etc.
• You get angry or upset
• You catch yourself grumbling about something or someone
• You hear yourself whining (poor me!)
• You complain that others don’t do what they should, or life isn’t as it “should” be
• You simply want things to be different
This is where things can get tricky because unless you’re very aware, you won’t even notice the uneasiness that accompanies these.
This resistance is quite subtle and can show up as a slight inner discomfort or a subtle contraction (vs. expansion).
Here are some behaviors to watch for (especially relevant when they are subconscious or automatic):
• You people-please
• You’re insecure
• You’re a chameleon
• You get defensive
• You find yourself rationalizing or justifying, especially in your own head with yourself (okay, I admit it! How else would I know this?!)
• You’re stressed
• You’re rushing
• You’re anxious
• You’re afraid to state your needs or expectations
• You bend the truth
• You hide something
• Someone says something that “bothers” you (subconsciously) and you tighten up without noticing
• You’re resisting or avoiding something. Anything!
Pema Chödrön calls this resistance by its Tibetan name, shenpa, and discusses it at length in her inspiring talk “Getting Unstuck: Breaking Your Habitual Patterns and Encountering Naked Reality” (which I highly recommend).
She offers tools for learning to stay with our uneasiness, and shows us how to recognize shenpa, catch it as it appears, and activate the wisdom and confidence that lies beneath it.
But noticing is the most important first step in addressing it. In fact, without this step, knowing what to do about it is worthless!
So, do practice noticing these signs along with me.
And if you do catch yourself, that’s the *magical* moment, that split-second, when you actually have a choice.
You can choose
to continue to
suffer with the resistance,
or you can
open to the spaciousness that you are,
and embrace what is,
in all its glory.
A Choice to Align — and Harmonize
The moment I came to terms with the idea that my snowy video was not to be, I began to open rather than contract.
New ideas began to flow in, and I have to say I’m very happy with what I finally submitted as part of the Winter Harmony series: 15 Ways to Awaken to the Gifts of Winter.
It’s soooo useful!
I daresay it’s even better than the video I first envisioned.
I explain why winter is special (from the perspective of Jyotish and natural cycles) and offer 15 ways to take advantage of its unique qualities.
Plus, there’s a free audio download included.
And all that because I stopped resisting. Pretty neat, huh?
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again soon.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!