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Creating When You Feel Resistance
Category: Zen Living Written by Leo Babauta
I’ve noticed that most of us let ourselves be driven by our resistance to something difficult, scary, unknown.
We take on a hard task — creating something, for example — and then we feel some kind of resistance. Or maybe it feels like overwhelm. It’s simply uncertainty, and fear of the unknown.
This is quite normal, to feel uncertainty, fear, resistance, overwhelm. Then we let it drive our actions, letting the fear be in the drivers seat. That’s pretty normal too, and very understandable.
What would it be like if we didn’t need to let this resistance drive us?
What if we could let ourselves stay in the uncertainty, feel the resistance … and then transform it into creativity and action?
Let’s take a look at the two parts of that.
Stay in the Resistance
So the first thing is you have to set aside some space for whatever you’re resisting. Warning: this step can be a doozy. We somehow always find ourselves too busy to make time for the thing we’re resisting. We’re so busy! We don’t have time for that scary thing! Funny how that works.
So, if you notice that you never have time for it … make the time. Set aside some time. Maybe 15 minutes in the morning, maybe 30. Cut out some Netflix, YouTube, or social media time, and make time for this. Put it on the calendar and commit yourself fully.
OK, let’s say you do that … now you find yourself in that block of time, and all of a sudden, everything else seems so much more urgent! Your emails are suddenly irresistible. Your kitchen magically needs some cleaning.
Stay here, don’t abandon the task. Your resistance wants to drive you away, but you’re going to try something different. An act of leadership rather than letting life happen to you.
Sit still for a minute. Let yourself feel the resistance. Not the thoughts about how you can’t do this, or how you should do it later … but the sensation of resistance in your body. The sensation of overwhelm and fear and uncertainty. It’s simply a sensation, an experience.
Be with it. If it feels like more than you can handle, stay a few moments longer. It’s a training, to be able to stay mindfully present with the feeling of resistance.
With practice, you learn that it’s not a big deal. You can be with it, with non-judgment, gentleness, even love.
Transform It Into Creativity & Action
Once you’ve done that, there’s another incredible way to work with this energy in your body. It feels like something you don’t want … but actually, it’s just energy.
This is the energy of life. Of being human. Of fear and meaning. Of learning and creating. Of discovering something new. Of connecting and falling in love.
This energy is not something to expel from your life, but rather to use in your creation. What can you create in this place of resistance, in the unknown? Can you let yourself stay curious, and explore? What might emerge, if you stay open here?
From this place, your deepest creation will be uncovered. You begin to realize that you are not the inventor of your creations but the discoverer of them. You begin to get excited about what might be unearthed in the unknown.
This is magic. What are you waiting for?
Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. My name is Leo Babauta. I live in Davis, California with my wife and six kids, where I eat vegan food, write, run, and read. Source
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