How To Overcome Resistance: Mermaids, Doubts and Dory

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The other day, in the midst of a rather awkward exchange between a little girl, I found myself asking the ubiquitous “so… what do you want to be when you grow up?” question.

I kicked myself in the foot, decided that I was officially old, and then listened with scepticism as she replied – “I am going to be a mermaid”.

“Ah, sweet, foolish, un-creased youth” I thought. “No. No you are not”

But as soon as I thought it, the inner spunk that I had been stifling so oppressively over these past few months…. she jumped right up and gave me a roundhouse kick to the back of the neck.

“Em?” She piped up. “Don’t you have a mermaid on your vision board”

Dammit. You know what? I totally do. Her name is Hannah Mermaid and she is a real-life person that lives in LA and has made her career as an official mermaid and ocean activist. She – like me – dreamed of Daryl Hannah’s Madison from Splash. She – unlike me – made herself a tail out of coat-hangers and is now an in-demand mermaid that appears in children’s books and movies and swims in the cove of Taiji saving dolphins. #girlcrush

Before you start rightfully wondering what I am on about and if this post is my premature announcement of my retirement as a health coach to go and swim topless in the ocean – no, of course not. This post is all about my epiphany. The epiphany in which I realised that ‘resistance’ is a thing that plagues us all through our lives. Whether we are kids believing that we can’t be mermaids because we don’t have tails, or astronauts because there aren’t many or vets because we aren’t good at maths. Or you are an adult doubting your new career path, commitment to a cause or relationships.

(P.S. if you did indeed fulfil your childhood dream to become a time-travelling-surgeon-unicorn- ninja-accountant then chest bump. Right here buddy! You’re ahead of the curveball)

Resistance is a fear of success and a fear of success is much more dangerous than a fear of failure. [click to tweet

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I have been feeling a lot of resistance lately;

  • “You can’t be a health coach… you aren’t thin enough”
  • “You can’t make a career from health… you aren’t a doctor/nutritionist/dietician”
  • “You can’t help people… you are still learning yourself”
  • “You can’t make money from blogging… you enjoy it too much”

Then I read this quote from The War of Art, a book my darling friend referred to me;

Most of us have two lives.

The life we live, and the unlived life within us.

Between the two stands ‘resistance’.

– Steven Pressfield

All of a sudden I realised; these limiting beliefs that were rendering me immobile, they weren’t the concerned thoughts of a guardian of my safety! They were my mean monkey mind self-sabotaging my moments of greatness.

I saw Pete Evans speak on the weekend and he spoke about overcoming his fears of public speaking. An introverted chef in his early twenties, he was approached by a television network. He quickly refused a contract; he had never worked in television, he was scared of public speaking, that was not his path. He felt comfortable in his refusal. Later that week another television network approached him with an offer of a contract. He accepted. Why? Because “if life keeps pulling you in a certain direction, then maybe it is because it is the direction you are meant to be going”. The rest is history for Pete.

To reference another great individual’s successful battle against resistance… I point you to Dory. Yes, the pea-brained fish voiced by Ellen Degeneres in Finding Nemo. There is a particular scene where Dory and her clownfish friend Marlin have been swallowed by a whale and are desperately holding on to the tongue in fear of dropping into it’s stomach. Dory is telling Marlin that she can speak whale and that the whale is telling her to let go and that everything will be alright. Marlin is sceptical and thinks the whale is just tricking them. He yells “you just think you can do these things but you can’t, Nemo”. He suddently realises he is placing his past experiences in a present context. In the end, they let go and it all ends happily. True story. Yep. True, fictional story.

Dory and Marlin and two sides of the same coin. There is the side that is so trusting, so confident in their ability. Then there is the side that has been hurt by past experience and doubt. When it comes down to it – there is no contest.

dory marlin whale

So, I Ask You?

What are you resisting?

This is the first step to overcoming the quicksand that your feet are so securely planted in. Recognising resistance is key. So…

  • Is there something that you are feeling called to?
  • Something that keeps popping up?
  • Is there a dream/inkling/intuition that you are constantly smothering?

I ask you to think long and hard about what you are continually being presented with. What you do you continually fear? What you are continually putting on the backburner?

Because maybe if this little bubble keeps popping up… it is for a reason! And I have a feeling it is because you are destined to do something bloody amazing and might just be a little scared to admit it?

Well acknowledging it is all well and good but that doesn’t quite explain how to overcome resistance does it?

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How To Dropkick Resistance!

Don’t resist resistance

Well that’s counterintuitive! But I hope that if you take one thing from this post it is that resistance is not the enemy. Resistance is the gatekeeper, the light-house, the sherpa! Resistance is your sign that you are on track.

As soon as you learn to see resistance with love rather than fear, you are halfway there.

Go with the flow

Now that you understand that ‘resistance’ is not out to get you, relax into it. For me I needed to forfeit a considerable amount of time to get to know what was happening.

As I mentioned in this previous post about being vulnerability sometimes you need to just let yourself feel the shittiness of it all. We seem to have a vendetta against true emotions. We all want to appear unbroken and sturdy. We all want to seem perfect. But that is not the way our bodies work. Just as we sweat to remove impurities we cry to dispell emotions.

So if you need to cry, collapse on the couch to watch Friends reruns or just hide from the world for a few weeks, do it. BUT…

Give yourself a time limit.

Couches are comfy y’all. And Friends reruns never age. (Joey doesn’t share food!). So make sure whatever you are feeling you make sure you don’t stagnate.

There is a difference between ‘feeling’ and ‘wallowing’.

Have Blind faith

The future is unseen and unguaranteed. Whether the odds are stacked in your favour or teetering over you – no one knows what is around the corner.

Choose to believe in the good and have blind faith that you are going to succeed. It takes the pressure off.

Get back on the horse

No more excuses. You have acknowledged, admitted and understood that your playing small does not serve anyone. (thanks again Marianne). So get back on the horse!

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Gorgeous, tell me! What have YOU been resisting lately? What is your big dream that you are itching to get out into the big bright world? I would love to hear in the comments!

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  • Loved reading this post, Emily. You’re so right, resistance is a beautiful sign that we’re on track. Although it may feel just the opposite. x

  • resistance is not the enemy. Resistance is the gatekeeper, the light-house, the sherpa! Resistance is your sign that you are on track.

    I love this bit, never looked at it this way but it makes sense and as i feel like im in the ocean swimming going nowhere fast, no resistance can be my lighthouse and guidance. Wowzers, gosh im so happy i found u 🙂 just like Louse L Hay and Dr. Christine Northrup.

    p.s.
    I just wrote Dr. Doreen Turnup… I suffer from this thing called malopraxia or something like tat where I get the sound right but really is completely different. Like you see the similarity when u pronounce both Dr. Christine Northrup and Dr. Doreen Turnup rite? ive had this all m y life and i like it 🙂 but would like to overcome it too. I think its to do with self-confidence. hm, anyway

    love and light

    Delina

  • Wonderfully worded article! I’m at the stage where all that really stands between me and my mermaid is resistance. I’m working with it and not labelling it as an enemy, instead accepting it while still gently pushing ahead with understanding and love. It may be slow going but its better than not moving at all and as you say wallowing in it. xx
    Sophie- Charmed Heart recently posted…April Breakthrough’sMy Profile