I’m not going to lie. I am really struggling with my blog this week. After cranking out posts week after week, I suddenly feel like all my inspiration has dried up. It’s not that I’m out of ideas. I keep an ongoing list of topics to write about, and at one point I found them all very exciting. I love yoga, and I love writing about it, getting to dive more deeply into the nuances and subtleties. I adore doing research and fleshing out ideas…sharing insights, and gaining new ones. But, I just can’t seem to get excited about anything right now. In this grey, cold Pennsylvania January, I find myself squarely stuck in the doldrums, waiting for the breezes of inspiration to blow. They refuse to comply, but my blog is due, so there’s nothing for it but to sit down and write. As I’ve stalled, motionless on this frustrating plateau for too many days now, I’ve mastered the art of avoiding my computer. But with time running out, I started working on two different posts this morning. I couldn’t get a purchase on either one. My words felt forced and stilted, my brain felt mushy, and I just couldn’t seem to find anything interesting to say. So, I was left with just one choice…to write about what I’m living in this moment. And what I am living is Resistance. Do you know anything about that?

I love how yoga brings our tendencies into such sharp relief. Before I even step on the mat, I often get a front row seat to my old friend, resistance. Yes, there are many times when I am super excited to practice, and I can’t wait to get down to it. Those days when I wake up feeling strong and energetic and powerful, ready to challenge myself and set the world on fire. But, then there are days when I just feel tired and uninspired. I just want to stay in bed with a good book, and maybe some mashed potatoes. I know that practicing will perk me up and calm me down, and make me feel better in a million ways. I know that I am ultimately responsible for my own health, happiness and state of mind, and that I have the keys to kingdom at my disposal. So why do I resist? Is it just inertia, or something more insidious like self-sabotage? I know that left unchallenged, I lean towards laziness. I also know that when I am inspired I am a force of nature. I know that it just takes the smallest action to get the ball rolling…and sometimes you just have to move in the direction of inspiration for it to appear. I know that energy feeds on itself. I KNOW all this, and yet… I think it might be time for a nap.

But wait!!! Here’s the inspiration I’ve been waiting for: What we resist persists…and I’ve been resisting Resistance! The internal dialogue sounds something like this, “Okay, you need to get off your butt and start working on your blog!” “But, I’m feeling so tired and uninspired. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just get moving? What makes me think I have anything interesting to say, anyway? I think I have the winter blahs, and I didn’t sleep very well last night. I think it would be better if I wait until I’m really feeling it!” I’m prone to sudden windows of creativity, and this technique can work quite well sometimes…but there’s no guarantee the window will open in the allotted time frame. And it’s far less likely to open when I’m busy beating myself up over my procrastination. Sometimes you’ve just got to sit down and start writing, or get on your mat and start breathing, or bundle up and take the damn dog out, and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes you just need to look resistance in the eye and say, “Hello old friend! I see you, and I’d love to stay and listen to all of your very convincing arguments for inaction, but I’ve got things to do!” And with practice and perseverance, maybe we can start to tip the scales. Maybe we can learn to recognize and welcome resistance, without letting it tell us what (not) to do. Maybe we can even befriend it. Maybe it’s trying to tell us something. Maybe it’s there to provide us with an opportunity to recommit ourselves to something we value…to strengthen our muscles of fidelity. Maybe it lands in our path to help us buoy our self-confidence by stepping over it, to seize our independence by declaring, “You’re not the boss of me!” Maybe we should try saying, “Thank-you”?

Back in 2009, I came up with a mantra I employ when I remember. My Yoga Teacher training began at 7:00 every morning, and went late into the day… for six weeks. I loved it, but I was tired, and over-stimulated and sore. I would often wake to the thought, “I don’t want to go!” And then I’d smile and say to myself, “You’re in luck! You don’t have to WANT to go. You just have to go!” And I did…and it was awesome.