Resistance

Since I have found myself completely unable to write a blog post for over a month, I have been thinking a lot about resistance and how it shows up in my life.

I seem to have resistance to continuing with things that previously seemed to be a good idea. Strangely, these are often things I enjoy, but the minute I tell myself I SHOULD do them, they become less attractive to me and resistance sets in.

For example:

I SHOULD go for a walk

I SHOULD do some yoga

I SHOLD write a blog post

I SHOULD make a green juice

I SHOULD read the book instead of going on Facebook

I SHOULD do some housework

I SHOULD go for a nap as I am exhausted.

These SHOULDS are so entrenched in my mind that I wonder how it is even possible to get out of bed without them. What does it mean to resist nothing and still live a productive life? Won’t I just sit in the couch, eating chocolate, watching crap daytime TV?

From our earliest childhood, we are raised on a diet of shoulds:

We SHOULD behave

We SHOULD eat our vegetables

We SHOULD go to school and try hard when we get there

We SHOULD respect our elders

We SHOULD play nicely and share our toys.

I have no idea where I am going with this, but as someone who has lived her life trying to do her best, trying to do everything she thought was expected of her and experiencing complete burnout, my sense is there must be a better way!

Our society has placed a whole new level of SHOULDS on women.

We SHOULD have a fulfilling career

We SHOULD have well-behaved, adorable children

We SHOULD have a handsome husband that treats us like queens

We SHOULD have a spotless well-run house that could grace the pages of Homes and Gardens.

We SHOULD rustle up gourmet meals a la Nigella

We SHOULD have a group of close girlfriends, with whom we can bear our souls and go to book group, yoga and wine bars.

We SHOULD be slim and gorgeous, well-groomed at all times, unflappable, smiling superwomen.

Am I alone in thinking that this image of the modern woman is so seductive but completely unattainable?

How many of us have tried? How many of us have failed? I remember in my late teens devouring Helen Gurley Brown’s book “Having it all” and believing that it was possible.

How many women are there, like me, who have dragged themselves through their days, completely exhausted, but trying so damn hard to hold it all together and get things done, because the things that had to be done seemed so important?

How much division has there been among women who watch each other and wrongly assume “she has it all together”?

Who is telling the truth about how they really feel?

I will go first: I feel real grief for that woman who tried so hard, who put in 100% effort and forgot about her own needs in the process. I feel lonely, out of the workforce. I feel forgotten and misunderstood. I feel as though I have so much to offer inside, but lack the physical energy to do it. I miss my job; I miss my colleagues and most of all I miss the kids at school. I miss having a purpose. I feel as though as I am just on the edge of depression. I feel sad that for every lovely experience that I push myself to enjoy, recently a holiday and a wedding, there are weeks of payback as my energy level crashes.

And so, just for today, I will resist nothing. I will allow myself to feel what I feel without a plan to fix it. Hell, I can’t fix it, I have tried so hard to do that too.

The quote above says that resisting nothing is the real secret to finding inner peace.

I will let you know if it is true.