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  • annelisamacbeanphd

Unraveling Resistance

On a conscious level, of course, we very genuinely want to heal and fully step into a life of deep intimacy, creativity, and aliveness. This authentic human longing is precious and can be honored and held close.

It’s also wise and compassionate to realize that we may simultaneously have an unconscious investment in not healing. This is adaptive and intelligent, because we know the implications of healing and transformation are world-shattering.

On a very deep level we sense that things will never be the same, that to truly heal we will be left with no familiar lens through which to imagine ourselves, others, and the world. While this is exhilarating and exciting, it is also profoundly disorienting.

In the context of early relational experiences, we learned how to fit in, survive, and stay out of unworkable bodily states of fear, pain, loss, and grief. Our perceptual, somatic, and autonomic lenses have been long-calibrated to help us stay safe.

As these lenses are removed or recalibrated, we lose the protective and adaptive functions they provided, and we may find ourselves in a very direct, unfiltered relationship with life. It can feel as if our heart is no longer inside our rib cage but fully exposed on the outside, raw and tenderized.

We may wonder why we’re not feeling better sooner, what with all the working on ourselves, workshops, seminars and therapy . . . we're “not healing fast enough” or in a way that conforms with others’ paths or with the fantasies of a culture that is addicted to positivity at all costs. Rather than attributing this to our own weakness, failure, or inherent badness, we might remember, with mercy, that our adaptive ways have been put in place with incredible creativity and intelligence, to keep us safe and alive; that they are, in their own ways, manifestations of an outrageous sort of grace.

Importantly, in those moments when you feel that familiar self-attack, shame, self-aggression, and critical self-judgment boiling to the surface . . . slow down and bring a bit of loving, spacious kindness to yourself. Open yourself to not knowing how this is supposed to go. Focus on your breath. Bring your breath into your solar plexus and heart. Surrender your resistance to the unknown and lean back into the wisdom of the process that is unfolding you . . . that is unfolding as you.

True healing requires the unraveling of the old world and the birthing of a new world… including the middle liminal, in-between period of labor which is essential and holy, and is crafted of a timeline written in your cells and guided by the stars.

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