Hello my loves,
One of our most significant tasks on earth is staying in integrity when in relationship to everything around us. And I say that because…
How fully present we can be, and how truthfully we can respond to each moment is the inevitable basis of our life’s trajectory. Our destiny is literally prescribed from the way we relate and react to whatever is around us.
What does that all mean?
Well, I’m not talking about our relationship with people, although that is a significant spiritual task in itself. I’m delving into our relationship to the internal challenges we face in life and how we respond to obstacles, barriers and the resistance we meet.
If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll be expecting the Deepen Your Values with Yoga series, starting with my reflections on Intention. Well, I’m not. Instead, I’m coming to you with a lesson on following the path of least resistance.
In usual fashion, I’ve faced some blocks these last few weeks. I’ve moved cities and changed climates. I went from two months holiday to too much work, and my routine’s a little chaotic. It took me a while to recalibrate, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to push through and finish the blog post. I did my yoga practice focusing on my intentions to close out the year. And learned a lesson or two about my past struggles concerning intentions vs goal setting. It was eye-opening, but I hadn’t yet come to a conclusion as I had expected. In trying to close out the blog post, I found myself trying to make sense where sense could not be found. I was writing pure garbage until I felt utterly detached from the entire lesson. After a lot of push back, I eventually let it go.
If you’ve read this, you’ll know that I don’t do well with expectation (who does tbh?). Not because I’m lazy and can’t achieve my own goals. No. Rather, my unintentional yet inevitable theme of 2020 has been this:
“Water takes the path of least resistance. When it faces a block, it flows to where there is space. There’s no need to force anything when resistance is persistent. Flow like water and your path will reveal itself.”
Precisely this approach- and yes, I do live by my quotes, has been the greatest teacher and stress-reliever in my life. To ‘go with the flow’ in simpler terms is not taking the easy option as most would think.
It’s allowing the flow of water within; intelligence, wisdom, destiny to wash away the debris that clouds your inner knowing and seeing. It sees the blocks we face as divine intervention- not something to break through or push past- and following the flow of water right to the very end.
In other words, taking the path of least resistance will allow your juicy fullness of ideas and inspiration to erupt in exploration and divine creation, instead of expectation and disappointment.
Bet you understood that one.
Why live like this?
It’s simple to think that change would not come by taking the path of least resistance- that it’s the easy option. But this is not permission to kick back and chill. There is action in your non-action, but you need awareness.
Being like water will clear the resistance and space to allow the unfolding of your true purpose to manifest at that moment. The culmination of remaining in integrity moment after moment will lead you to realise your true divine essence.
When we work with our inner nature like this, we work with the natural order of things. In this place, we operate on the principle of minimal effort, and we flawlessly align ourselves to the present moment – which is the most significant moment in your life.
It’s essentially allowing the course of nature to take place with little destructive interference.
This is the art of non-attachment. This is The Way.
The way to live in your hearts aliveness
The way to meaningful relationships
The way to deep life satisfaction
The way to your most authentic self
The way to your divine purpose
When you’re faced with resistance, you are presented with a choice. But many times we stick with the plan of action, and we push against life because we think we don’t have a choice. We think that if we keep pushing and pushing, eventually it’ll get easier, more comfortable…
But it never does. And life only gets more challenging.
I want to tell you that you do have a choice. You don’t need to keep swimming upstream. You can surrender and float and still get to where you need to go.
I’ve noticed, it’s much harder to know when you’re meeting resistance when you’re in the thick of it. Pushing through anything can look an awful lot like determination, motivation and resilience. All of which are qualities deemed necessary to ‘get ahead in life’. But one size does not fit all.
What does resistance look like in action?
When we let go, we create space for magic to unfold in our lives. When we hold on, we create tension that leads to even more challenges. I could write a million ways of knowing when to surrender, but for now, I’m giving you three. If any of them resonate, I invite you to try the practices and see how they can transform your life.
1. You have increasing expectations (are often disappointed)
When I say expectations, please don’t think I’m talking about standards or boundaries. When we have such high expectations, we are affirming our sense of happiness, fulfilment and peace lies in things going the way we want to. Well, what happens when they don’t?
The paradox of having expectations is that while it can lead to outstanding achievement, it could also lead to disappointment, resentment and anxiety. When we have an idea of how we want things to go, or desire a particular outcome, we set the standard that anything that falls short of that is a failure.
If you find yourself in this state often then it is a tell-tale sign that you have too many unrealistic expectations. The way to avoid this is not to necessarily remove your expectation, as they can set a valuable standard in life, but to remove the hopes of happiness on fulfilled expectations and be okay with that possibility that you may get a different outcome.
Detaching from your expectations will make it easier to accept and be okay with what is.
Just like my morning coffee will never appear to me in bed just because I want it to, in the same manner, know that life will never provide you with what you want just because you expect it. That is delusional.
Expectation is only a strong desire, not a personal right.
While this example may seem a little extreme and obvious, the point is that we can’t control what we can’t control. Accepting this will allow you to remain empowered in your response.
It’s not so obvious when other people are involved. Unspoken, and often unrealistic and unentitled expectations will come from implicit social contracts, where we expect certain behaviours from people based on the roles they play in our lives.
- A parent expecting their teenage son/daughter to do as they say
- Expecting reciprocity of any kind from anyone
- Expecting that your partner will always make you happy
- Expecting that an activity/work project/event will go smoothly even though you’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.
When you detach from your expectations that things will go your way, life will not rattle you.
When you set an expectation in life, you are energetically prepared to get angry when it doesn’t work out your way.
That is, and I mean this in the kindest possible way, supremely egotistical and unhinged.
Of course, we cannot escape all expectations in life. We are parents, children, employees, partners and friends. But we can learn the difference between realistic expectations that set standards for a comfortable and harmonious life, and unrealistic expectations that set you up for a life of disappointment and resentment.
2. You’re too busy (haven’t checked in with yourself)
Dr. Candace Pert has done incredible work on emotions in the mind-body, and she says, “Our bodies are hard-wired to be in bliss. It’s normal, and it’s natural.” So when you’re not in bliss, you can bet that something is wrong. If you feel like you can’t get a break or are just way too busy, you are essentially disconnected from the joy that comes from within. The joy that arises when we are compassionate with ourselves and are in connection with our truth. When we have time to nurture our spirit, we strengthen our inner GPS system and let our intuition guide us in life.
Connecting and trusting your intuition is the key to inspired, empowered, and joyful living. The only problem is that intuition whispers. It’s gentle and subtle. When we don’t consciously set time to hear our truth, we sever our connection and lead a life based on our ego-mind. The ego-mind will always guide you to take action based on survival and keeping you alive, it’s a flight or fight response, and that’s it’s job.
Whereas your intuition will lead you to take action based on your purpose and make you thrive. You will be guided from your heart centre and approach the same situation from a spiritual, emotional and compassionate point of view. Following the path of least resistance is just that. It’s allowing your inner wisdom to guide you along the path destined for you.
The way to get back in alignment and in connection with your truth is to make yourself feel good with self-care practices. Sure, running a hot bath, reading a good book, and spending time with family are all wonderful, nurturing ways to do this, but they also come with their own shortcomings.
Below are some self-care practices that not only promote good feelings but also enhance your connection with your intuition. These practices will specifically work as an anchor, to silent the ego-mind, ground you and circle you back to your souls way of communication. It’ll not only help you be more compassionate, understanding and loving towards yourself, you’ll also become more vibrationally aligned to welcome in universal truth and divine inner knowing.
Unique self-care practices*:
- Get to know your subconscious mind through meditation and mindfulness.
- Take a slow walk outside or in nature with no particular goal and be open to the thoughts that float your mind.
- Connect with the unity of consciousness through physical touch and exploration with a loved one.
- Declutter your mind through journaling
- Stimulate your bodies wisdom through movement, vocal activation, or art
- Honour your emotions as temporary sensations and watch what you say to avoid supporting negative or anxious self-talk.
- Get bored and explore all crevices of your imagination.
- Create rituals that activate all five senses to increase your sensitivity to your sixth sense.
- Befriend a deck of oracle cards!
- Define your values by what is deeply meaningful to you in life and align yourself with living by them.
*I’ll share more details on these specific self-care practices in another blog post
If the above sounds a bit much, then it’s time to turn your attention inwards. Take a deep breath and ask “How can I best support myself right now?” and whatever comes through, do that without hesitation.
3. You don’t believe in the magic of the universe (think you have to do it all yourself)
An inevitable fact of life is that sometimes we may experience hardship. When we aren’t able to bounce back from them quickly, we either lose confidence in our ability to handle things, [read a guest post I wrote here about building resilience and gaining confidence]. Or we begin to lose faith in our spirituality and the magic in the universe. Think back to times where you faced hardship or disappointment, and suddenly your belief or enthusiasm dropped to zero? If this happens often, it can translate into a pessimistic view that you can only rely on yourself. When we think this way, we remain boxed in the confinement of our cynicism and shut the doors to our full potential. Inevitably inviting more hardship and disappointment down the line.
- Carry the weight of the world on your shoulders
- Believe to achieve success, you have to do it alone by the sweat of your brow
- Are spinning your wheels tirelessly
- Can only rely on yourself
- Are overwhelmed by your to-do list and losing vital energy
.. then it may be time to put the breaks on.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make things happen, but we aren’t the only ones involved in creating our lives. Working with spirit, the universe or your higher self, you’ll come to realise that there’s only so much you’re responsible for. You can take the path of least resistance by releasing control and the burden that comes with thinking you are in this world alone. You are not.
I listened to a fascinating audiobook by Mike Dooley, where he shared a simple activity to reach your goals by engaging in the magic of the universe. On a sheet of paper, you’ll write your goal on the top of the page. On one side of the paper, you write all the things you can do to fulfill your goals – your action steps. On the other side, you write all the things you don’t have control over that the universe will take care of for you – synchronicities, being in the right place at the right time, etc. Essentially, this practice of summoning the universe to work alongside you is really a practice of releasing the burden that comes from control and re-assigning responsibilities. This is a really powerful practice and I’ll share a step by step guide in another blog post this week.
We’re not in this world alone. We are always supported.
Another way of looking at it is seeing creation, or life, as a dance between you and the universe. Your job is to show up with your desires and intentions, and respond to the moves that present itself to you. The dance is not complete unless both you and the universe play the roles. With each step, you allow the dance to unfold and your dreams to manifest.
Follow the path that is divinely showing up for you.
You see, taking the path of least resistance is not doing nothing. It’s following the path that is divinely showing up for you.
I hope the steps above will help you create the space to invite more joy, ease and happiness in your lives. There are so many other areas where we can release and surrender. And to that, I would say…
Have integrity in your presence. When you remain present in relationship to anything around you, you will learn to recognise the voice of your soul. When it speaks to you, you’ll know which action to take. That is taking the path of least resistance.
Leave the past behind, along with all of your judgments and beliefs. And worry not of the future, your expectations or your desired outcome. The path of least resistance will always show you the way.
Following the path of least resistance vs. Lean into the resistance.
There is, of course, an entirely different way of responding to resistance which I’ve not spoken about here. And I haven’t mentioned anything about the underlying structures in place that determine our path of least resistance. And that we also have the power to change these structures so that we can live the life we want. Robert Fritz (The Path of Least Resistance) and later James Clear (Atomic Habits) talk about this succinctly in their books and I believe is worthy of a separate blog post some point down the line.
But you may have seen the phrase, ‘lean into resistance’ just as much as you’ve seen ‘follow the path of least resistance.’
What is the difference?
Following the path of least resistance will align you with the natural order of things, and will allow you to dive deeper into the natural unfolding of your personal story.
Leaning into resistance is empowering you to meet your resistance head-on, feel your fear and do it anyway.
The wonderful Pema Chodron says, “The point is to lean toward the discomfort of life and see it clearly rather than to protect ourselves from it.”
In their book, “The Power of Flow”, Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom write, “If you get real comfortable, it’s less likely you’ll make a lot of progress. If you’re always seeking pleasure, you’re not necessarily in Truth.”
In “The War of Art” written by Steven Pressfield, he says, “Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer resistance.”
Essentially, they still teach the same thing: Meeting resistance is a call of action. Staying in integrity when meeting resistance will mean we’ve got to embrace it somehow.
Whether we embrace it by leaning into it or by following the path of least resistance, is entirely up to you and what transpires as your truth. But know that you can’t just run away from it, because “what you resist not only persists but will grow in size.” Thank you, grandfather, Carl Jung.
The caveat here is the distinction between resistance, fear and staying in your comfort zone. Although fear can manifest as resistance, not all resistance you face is rooted in fear. The onus is truly on you to recognise when you’re pushing too hard that it backfires and when you’re letting fear get in the way of real growth.
(Writing about meeting resistance has shown me precisely how we have the power to change our story. Coincidentally that was the intention of the blog post I could never complete. What’s meant to be will be, whether we have the desire or not. The path is working in your favour and will always show you the way.)
Upcoming + related blog posts…
- Self-care practices to strengthen your connection to your intuition.
- How to leverage and engage in the magic of the Universe.
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