Allowing Resistance to Melt


We all have internal resistance to something. Resistance can be frozen in a muscle-clenching throw-down with gravity. It can be felt as tension around things like like falling in love, leaning in, connecting. Or sensing what's true, staying open, breathing, experimenting, leaping into something new, making a change or a commitment. Or it could be everyday resistance to fixing the washing machine or cleaning out the car.

The thing is, holding still by resisting action takes energy. Try holding completely still. It's hard, isn't it? Holding still with volitional muscle contraction is way more work than being still in a neutral, resting state. Muscles in their neutral state have a potential for action, a kind of latent energy. But when your muscles are already contracted, their potential for action is diminished. The energy is being used.

Resistance is the neurotic way we try to make ourselves feel safe in the service of being present, but it's not real presence if we're holding back or pulling away on some subtle level. Melting away resistance is one way to find stability and security within yourself without the tension in the belly, the vice-gripped chest, the forced smile, the stopped breath, the curled toes, the hunched shoulders, or the clenched jaw. We all do it, it's human and normal, but unnecessary.

Here's the kicker: Resistance creates a diminished potential for action while simultaneously wasting energy.

What happens when resistance melts?

Anything could happen! It will be different for different people. One person might breathe easier, another might feel more grounded while facing a difficult conversation, another might transfer force better through their hip or shoulder.

Melting resistance allows you to feel the force of gravity without anxiety--whether emotional or physical. It allows you to open the joints in freedom, the mouth in laughter, and the eyes in surprise, all without holding back. How many other muscular contractions close us down and create barriers between ourselves and others, ourselves and ourselves, or between our health and our healing?

The good news is that we don’t have to accept the narrow definition of reality our habits have given us. We can recreate ourselves. As Moshe Feldenkrais says, we can learn to make ourselves secure. That is the nature of our humanness.