Want to get on with it? Find your point of least resistance.
Hey, have you figured out yet that it’s just resistance when you keep putting off what you say you want to do or what you think you should be doing? It really helps to know it as resistance. It helps to call it resistance. Otherwise, you have to call it lazy or lame. You might get into self-scolding or even self-loathing. And I bet you know that’ll never get you where you want to go. In fact, judging your resistance is more likely to increase it.
So what if, instead, you noticed the resistance and just got okay with it—human thing that it is, for human being that you are. What if you declared that you’re in no rush, you’ll get there in your own good time, and you’re simply going to head that way through your point of least resistance?
Ah, then you get to actively enjoy the binge-watching (and notice when it’s not fun anymore, because enjoying it means it’s not fraught with shame or misery that keeps you stuck there). Or you get to appreciate prioritizing the easy task, and move swiftly and surely through the ease of the simpler, more obvious, more joyous thing that must also be done. As you feel good about working with ease, you get to increase feeling good in general. And from that place of feeling good, and having had some guiltless fun or checked off a to-do or two that cost you little, you might take a (satisfied, can-do) breath and go for the harder thing.
I’m giving you three examples to illustrate the point of least resistance, so check out the one or ones you’re most drawn to. Example #1 targets the Enneagram’s self-preservation instinct (self-prez to Enneagram geeks): getting yourself to the gym. Example #2 correlates with the sexual instinct: working up to leaving the relationship, or agonizing over the belief it’s really time to go (but you don’t or can’t). Example #3 addresses the social instinct: wanting to rev up your connections or grow your circles. After reading your preferred example(s), drop down to the subhead “More implications of the point of least resistance.”
# 1: What if, instead of judging yourself for not getting to the gym, you welcomed yourself to the human race and considered how very many people struggle with how to work in working out? What if you stopped calling it lazy and instead took a look at the actual issue for you? This could lead you right to your point of least resistance. You might be inspired to get an accountability buddy, try a new modality that looks more fun or doable right now, or find a YouTube guide or a class. You might start simply walking or biking more to get from point A to point B. You might determine that a few good stretches could change how you feel in your body and start taking two-minute stretch breaks when that scrunched-up-at-the-desk sensation creeps in.
So much is possible! But not when you get trapped in resistance, and not when you see a point of least resistance but don’t grab it because you treat it like an evil (or at least believe that you’re wimping out, not doing it right, not doing enough).
# 2. What if, instead of forcing yourself to walk out of the relationship you suspect you’ve outgrown, or even forcing a stay-or-go decision, you located your point of least resistance? What if you gave yourself full permission to hang out there for a while and see what comes next? Your point of least resistance here could be about spending more time alone or with friends. It could involve making a pact (with your partner or yourself) to have fewer arguments (walk away at the first whiff!) and spend more time in appreciation or admiration, while putting aside stuff-to-work-out or what-to-do-next for a time. Or it could be working on passion and connection in every other realm of life while allowing, in the relationship realm, the relief of simplicity and neutrality (but not misery and criticism, at least on your end)—then you could see where that takes you.
# 3. What if, instead of telling yourself you’re hopeless at the social thing (as you wish for more of it), you told yourself that growing your connections is a good intention to hold and play with? There’s already less resistance in that. Then you might consider what feels manageable and aims you roughly in the right direction without some great overhaul of either character or habits. It could be going out to eat alone, even with a book or device for starters, or going to the movies solo or with a friend or partner and appreciating that others are about, having a similar experience. Or you might join a class so that you have a repeating experience of gathering with a fixed population on a shared point of interest in shared space. Your point of least resistance might even be an online group! It might involve self-permission to join something in silence, allowing yourself to begin by focusing on your inner experience. It might be to find a buddy to do something you’ve never done or want to do more of (salsa or karate? wine tastings or vegan cooking? choral singing or meditation?)—something that happens to be done with or among other human beings.
More implications of the point of least resistance
You won’t grow your social, sexual, or self-prez self from a place of feeling like you’re perpetually off your game (or like it’s a game you’re not remotely equipped to play). But you can grow any one of those by stepping from one point of least resistance to the next, and just see what gives as you allow yourself to step onward, curious about what’s possible, open to what reveals itself.
I cannot say enough about my love of the point of least resistance (and how much it’s helped my clients and program participants). It’s all about stepping in where it makes the most sense because it feels best and easiest and most aligned with where you are right now. This concept is super compatible with the idea of scooching (you may already know how much I love to Scooch!). The point of least resistance came to me through Abraham-Hicks, who teaches that it’s also your point of greatest alignment, most fun, and greatest joy. I keep playing with it and loving the experience and results. It’s so much kinder than all the forcing and straining or the judging and shutting down. I invite you to it (and you can learn about it in my beautiful and now beautifully cleaned-up and polished Expansion audio program).
Love and Blessings, Jaya
Note that my post Force Nothing adds to the ideas presented here on least resistance.
Pulled from chapter 22
Never a Victim: Cultivate a Consciousness of Choice
It's hard to be a victim if you're standing firm in choice. It's hard to focus on what someone else or life itself is visiting upon you or withholding from you, if you're standing firm in choice. My pep talks about choice over time have come to be distilled to five basic points:
Let's look at the December holidays as an example of how people lose track of choice and cause themselves all kinds of stress in so doing. “I have to go to the office party,” “I'll be expected to host my in-laws again,” “We need to make this super special,” “I have to buy more princess outfits for Muffy.” You don't have to do any of those things; you may certainly choose to do them—or not.
If attendance at the party isn't or doesn't seem to be optional, then by all means, choose to go. Choose it because you value this job: it's worth it to you to attend the occasional required gathering. (You could just as well choose to quit your job, or to simply let your boss know you won't be attending and stay tuned for what happens next.) Choose to visit or host family members because you want to foster connection with these specific human beings, and this season looks like the best time to put that into action. (Do I need to say it's a valid option not to visit or host them?)
Remember you have choice, and choose consciously. So many people automatically go by duty and tradition to plan their holidays. If this is you, consider this: You get to define duty. You get to follow, toss out, or recreate tradition. If you want to continue to visit certain people during this time of year, that's a fine choice. But it is a choice: embrace it as such. You're someone who wants to do your duty, who wants to follow tradition. Maybe other things motivate you: you don't want to be disowned, or you don't want to deal with disappointing your family or having them be mad at you. Any number of factors may inform your choice. (These factors can be questioned and challenged; they can also simply be noted.)
All things considered, you're still in choice. Don't lose sight of this! It's an option to disappoint, or to anger, or even to be disowned. Do realistically note that you may equally disappoint or anger family members in your presence and participation! And if being disowned (or some less extreme family threat) is a land mine in your reality, then it probably represents a whole cluster of land mines that a whole lot more than the holidays could set off. You get to choose how and whether to let tricky or toxic issues inform your holiday choices.
If you choose to host or visit family—whatever your reasons—get 100 percent behind your choice and stop talking about everything that's a pain about it. Remind yourself that you actually want to be with family for the holidays. Become a master of extracting from the experience all there is to enjoy.
It may help to consider more deeply why you choose what you choose. How does it serve you to maintain good relations with those you work with? Can you best do that through sugar, alcohol, and tiresome conversation? What do you value or even love about being with family? What is it doing for you and yours to take a trip during vacation time in December? What's behind the choice? A very simple question to ask yourself is, What do I hope to get from this? A nice follow-up question would be, Is this the best way to get it?
If you're out of touch with the underlying aim or value, you may sabotage the very thing you're after. For example, let's say you want your kids to have grandparent time. If you focus on everything your parents or in-laws do that makes you crazy, the kids may get grandparent time, but they may also get a confusing experience of divided loyalties; they may wonder if it's really okay for them to cozy up to these people you seem to despise. ... Choose clearly and consciously, and get behind your choice by connecting to, speaking about, and interacting with what you love and appreciate about these grandparent figures.
When it's hard to get behind your choice, choose again. You can leave in the middle of a visit, or make a judicious note to self to do something else next year. But if you want to hold to your choice, in this instance or as a way of life, learn to pause to consider what supports you need in place to do that—to make the choice sustainable. It may even be a matter of making ongoing choices to support an important choice you've made. You might support a holiday choice by choosing to take excellent care of yourself while in someone else's home or while others are in yours: carve out alone time; eat in a way that doesn't throw you off or make you feel bad about yourself; tune in to your true yes/no on/off responses so you're not perpetually doing what you don't really want to do.
Emotional support may be important too. Since you could get thrown off despite your best clear choice-making, have someone in place you can call or pull aside so you can vent to a kind listener who will love and support you. When I need an ear, I go to someone who can compassionately hear whatever I'm feeling but won't treat me like a victim or support me in vilifying someone else. (This is very important to me.)
Taking such measures makes it possible for you to get 100 percent behind your choice by making sure your choice is humanly possible or sustainable. It also makes it possible for you to take full responsibility for your well-being during the holidays—victim no more. And why be a victim of the holidays? It's pretty absurd that as a culture we treat a time of vacation, sacred celebration, gift-giving, and downtime with loved ones as if it were a time of war.
Love & blessings, Jaya