Moving through Walls of Resistance and Fear

We build walls to keep some things out and to keep others in. They can protect and serve us and they can limit our freedom. The images I’ve included here are from one of the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. I particularly like them just because here we see the wall transforming into a site of creativity, an expression of individual freedom. Here the wall has ceased to be a wall at all, it’s just the memory of one, a memory that itself has been reinscribed and reinterpreted in a myriad of ways.

This post is really about two connected things, the resistance we sometimes encounter when doing things that are really important to us and how we move through this – the strategy for progress. In this case, I want to touch on the idea of role models and the way we can use modelling to learn, change state and perform at new levels.

You might have noticed that in my last post I announced the launch of my new blog, Strategic Futures with its first piece, a topical post on the leadership contest in Australia. I’ve been wanting to do something like this for several years now. Publishing work on politics and strategic affairs is not new to me. Over the last 7 years I’ve published numerous articles in academic journals which have to go through rigorous peer review. But I’ve also written numerous pieces, good ones I think, that I’ve done nothing with. I’ve sent them to a few friends and even included links to them on my sites, but nothing out in the open.

Launching the new blog was significant in this case because it required passing through or getting around a wall of resistance. The thing is, when I’ve reflected about this before (probably in earlier blogs as well) I’ve noticed that many of the experiences that I dream about and the goals that I strive for will require encountering some of my biggest fears. Resistance seems to come up as a kind of self-protection as I approach these fears. Mostly it’s protection from things like being embarrassed or making a fool of myself, not being good enough, being on stage and not being able to perform. And yet, I know that on the other side of the fear is in fact my life, that is the experience of feeling alive.

Everyone has their own tricks for moving through resistance. However, often I find that you can’t rely too heavily on one strategy for too long. So this time I tried something new, well with a twist anyway.

Modelling the behaviours and mindsets of those who have achieved what we want to achieve for ourselves is a pretty solid strategy for performance in pretty much any domain whether you’re an equestrian, a writer or a monk. But this week, it didn’t have the right resonance with me and I didn’t have a clear model to look to (an essential ingredient!). Instead, I switched the emphasis of modelling by assuming responsibility for being the role model myself. In particular I focussed on being the role model for my son. I have to say, once I looked at it from this direction I discovered new buckets of determination, energy and mental focus which came from becoming clear on the actions I needed to take. I still felt the fear, but with this new focus I found a powerful and crystal clear emotional anchor that was based not in the stories and beliefs that supported my old fears but in the dynamic power of life itself that lay on the other side.

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17 thoughts on “Moving through Walls of Resistance and Fear

  1. In NLP (as I’m sure you know) they talk about modeling a lot. And they say that an actual model is better than one you have to invent. The idea is of course to find what you want in someone else living, dead, a film character or one you have to make up, and then model the bits you need. I think you really have put a new twist on it though, with the idea of _being_ the model yourself – nice one! Shall try it the next time 🙂

    • I like modelling. When it works it’s perfect. Sometimes, and this often happens in my case, modelling does not suffice. I am fearful of becoming the person I know I want. My abilities amaze me, but they also frighten me. In most cases, I want to hold on to the success of my past. I feel like not getting my hands dirty again. Modelling could work with this sort of resistance, but I don’t know how.

      • Thanks very much for your comments. You’re very fortunate to have had a glimpse of what you’re capable of. It’s very exciting and at the same time I think nearly everyone also finds this scary. Often this is because we’re afraid of risking what we have, even if it isn’t what we really want. It takes courage to go for our dreams, real courage, so we can model the courage of others but you will also have examples of your own courage to base your actions on. These memories can be great for accessing the states you desire to move in the direction your heart wants.

  2. Thanks Rivka. Indeed, well before I knew anything about NLP I was using modelling a lot. I think we all do really, especially as children, though perhaps not not many learn to harness this consciously. Let me know how you go using the twist!

    • Deep it certainly is, and challenging. And it just keeps on rolling, that’s why I put so much into learning the path of least resistance, because as we do the fears gradually start to reveal themselves for the illusions that they are.

  3. Your post reminds me of the time I tried water skiing for the 1st time. I do not know the ABC of swimming and I was extremely afraid of the deep. When I finally got the courage to venture into the sea, little did know my life would never be the same. For the 1st time, I truly understood what peace was. It was an other worldly experience. After than I have tried parasailing, snorkeling and underwater walking with ease. And it only gets better.

    Once the wall comes crashing down, a whole new world opens up. We need only take the plunge 🙂

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience as well. I had a similar one with water. As a teenager I was caught in a strong rip at Bondi which pulled me out into very deep water and powerful waves. I was lucky to be saved by a surfer who spotted me. It was only a couple of years ago that I ventured beyond the shallows again and experienced exactly this peace. I just wanted to stay out in the deep indefinitely. It was also very powerful for revisiting and rewriting some of my own belief structures. I’ve also gone through these barriers with downhill skiing. New worlds of experience indeed. JS 😉

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  5. Such an intriguing way to think about self-discovery. It’s encouraging to know that we can continue to revise the models we choose and the walls which we construct in order to find a truer version of ourselves.

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