My idea of a fun vacation has always been about doing active things in the outdoors. During a recent week in Waterton Lakes National Park I found myself in fear of most of the things I wanted to do: horseback riding, golf, and even biking and hiking. What the heck!
Despite their many qualities, horses are very large beasts and I know nothing about riding them. While I’ve golfed a lot more than I’ve ridden horses I’m not exactly a skilled golfer either. Biking and hiking were threatening on two levels. Level One? Bears. Level Two? Difficulty. Due to a genetic muscular issue and despite my workout regime, I can no longer perform physically like I once did. This psyched me out mentally. Consequently, there was a lot of time and energy spent checking the weather and weighing decisions. Resistance is real.
While horses and bears involve genuine threats, my fear of difficult mountain trails did not. But that didn’t make the thought of pushing myself up a mountain any less threatening. My nervous system, and yours, don’t know the difference between real or imagined danger.
What are you resisting?
Clients often come to me thinking they’re ready to act on their goals. Invariably they encounter some form of resistance. The brakes engage.
Letting go of old habits for new ones in order to lose weight can be just as terrifying as bears in the bush. So we develop solutions such as numbing our feelings, distracting ourselves or procrastinating. Of course that creates other problems. Call it self-sabotage. It takes effort, courage, strategies and support to move past resistance and change our behavior.
As Brad Yates likes to say, “Self-sabotage is misguided self-love.” Imagine if we didn’t judge ourselves. What might we accomplish with self-acceptance of our fears and shortcomings, perceived or otherwise?
Here’s what I did (consciously and unconsciously).
1. I weighed the risks and benefits.
2. I trusted.
3. I stretched my comfort zone – just a little.
4. I used Emotional Freedom Techniques to calm my nervous system.
1. I would never be happy to spend a week sitting on a park bench. Bear spray and bells provided some assurance. But it was the ability to witness and photograph the beauty off the beaten track that was a BIG motivator/benefit for me. I’m always looking for inspiration for that next painting. What benefits do you stand to gain?
2. Clearly, if I really believed a bear would attack me I wouldn’t go. Would it be more fun without the threat of bears? Absolutely! Would I go horseback riding without trust in the guides? Absolutely not! Without trust, even sitting on a park bench could be stressful. In who or what do you need to trust?
3. I agreed to the hikes and trails within my means and said “Whoa horsey” when I needed to. “Ego, you take a hike!” Comfort zones are unique to individuals. A 10% stretch is a stretch, whatever 10% is for you. It’s forward movement. It’s a win.
4. I tapped on my fear and resistance. (See four-minute EFT demo on how to tap.)
“Even though I’m afraid this climb will be too hard, I love and accept myself the way I am.
Even though I’m afraid I won’t be able do this, I accept myself.
Even though a part of me wants to do this, the other part of me is afraid I’ll suck. That’s how I feel and I accept that.
Fear and resistance are pretty much synonymous. We resist because of fear. What are you afraid of? Check in with your thoughts, your gut, or your heart, on that thing you want to do but aren’t doing. They will tell you.
I actually rode a horse. I played golf (poorly). I climbed mountains in bear country (slowly). And I have photos to prove it. It was a great vacation that I wouldn’t do any other way.