Everyone has one: "The Neighbor." For our street, "The Neighbor" is a woman known as "The Cat Lady." A couple of years ago it came to light that she had been trapping the neighborhood cats for years. No one knew this though she made it clear that she hated cats. One day one of our two cats went missing. Thinking our cat was lost or taken in by a kind neighbor, we discovered too late that The Cat Lady had trapped our cat, called animal control and it was adopted out before we put 2 and 2 together. A very, very sad event for our kids.
We then discovered that she had trapped many of the neighborhood cats over the years and had them sent to the shelter - often to shortened lives. We tried all types of incentives and disincentives for our remaining cat to not wander into her overgrown front yard to nap, but it was almost like a magnet drew him there - as well as all the neighborhood cats. She would openly yell and rant and rave to the neighbors about all the cats and ended up isolating herself in her resistance to cats.
Then, about six months ago out of the blue, she started being nice. She began greeting neighbors, stopping to talk and not paying any attention to the cats. And guess what? The cats stopped coming into her yard! As if it was as clear as throwing a switch, when she turned off her resistance, the "problem" suddenly disappeared. How does that truism of "what you resist persists" so often (if not always) work?
What is your "critter in your garden?" What is that thing that you've found yourself resisting or fighting off? Perhaps it's a health condition...or email overload..."not enough time"...a co-worker or other relationship...the state of the world...or the weather. If you have been resisting it, what's been the result of this strategy of resistance - both on you as well as "the problem?" Is it working?
When we are able to first "be with" whatever it is we resist, we do a few things:
• We are able to respond from presence and clarity vs. anxiety, stress (and other non-fun and ineffective states of being)
• We find our inner ability and strength to be with what is vs. unwittingly giving our power to this outer thing. The "power" shifts from the "problem" to within us.
• We stop "feeding" the problem and start feeding what it is that we want
• We instead focus on those things that give us inspiration and vitality and that, as a result, begin to diminish this other thing
• We get clear what the "right action" is - if anything
At some point I decided to give up trying to control email. While I have a system and strategy, the shift came when I simply started focusing on those things that I am passionate about and that make a difference. Only after focusing on those tasks would I even check email. While it hasn't gone away, it takes so much less of my attention and energy. I've allowed it to wither while feeding what feeds me.
I'd love to hear what your "critter in the garden" is and the results of your willingness to shift beyond resistance.