I had finally gotten into a rhythm in my physical training when I started a 200-hour yoga teacher training summer intensive. The schedule has forced me to cut back my morning gym time and wreaked new havoc on my body: in teacher training, we spend hours at a time sitting on the floor, then we work through various poses. It’s a lot for the body and mind to digest.
Each day, immediately after training ends, I meet Carlos Rocha, my physical therapist, to train my strength and movement patterns, and stem the damage from teacher training, to keep up with the bigger objective of retraining my body to correct a lifetime of dysfunctinal movement patterns.
Over the weekend, during my gym workout, I had a moment.
I struggled with my exercises. Sensations flooded each part of my body as it tried to make sense of all the information I’ve been throwing at it.
My movement patterns were atrocious. Despite all the effort I’ve invested, I felt like I was regressing.
That was enough for the little voice of my pesky inner critic to rise up and ask,
Why aren’t you making progress?
This led to an emotional charge, and then the gripping of frustration, annoyance, and despair.
None of this is working. What am I even doing here?
Have you ever felt this in your life?
It’s not the first time it has shown up for me, even over the past few months, and won’t be the last.
This is resistance.
What’s really going on when we’re in resistance?
When our present experience is not matching our expectations, we are in resistance.
In this case, my resistance was coming from an unarticulated, unmet expectation about how long I think this process “should” take and where I believe I “should” be right now — even though I have no frame of reference for what it “should” look like.
I was caught in the common trap of wanting to see results faster. I want to get there already so I can get on with the next thing.
How much longer is this going to take? When will I get there?
Resistance is a function of the ego mind, which tries to protect us. But resistance creates our suffering.
Uncertainty is part of the process of growth and change. It’s unavoidable.
Resistance to the uncertainty is entirely avoidable.
As the saying goes,
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
How to Extract From Resistance
Awareness is the first step to extracting from the trance of resistance.
Just seeing that I was in this trance created space for me to shift the pattern.
From the place of awareness, I could also release my expectations about and attachment to the results I desire. This doesn’t mean I have no outcome; only that I’m not attached to that outcome or to obtaining it in a certain time frame.
I reminded myself:
Progress is not linear. I don’t control the timing. It’s not my plan.
This is a Practice
To be clear, this is a practice. Cultivating this awareness and the shift in perspective requires grooving new neural pathways.
This is the workout of the mind. Here, too, progress isn’t linear.
But one day, you see the situation for what it is even while you’re in it, and then you know that you can make the shift.
Just keep practicing.