I try to get massages regularly, because #WellBeing and #Awesome.
I notice a funny thing about my giant, bulging, well-oiled muscles while I’m being massaged. While the massage therapist (the “MT”) is helping my muscles return to their most natural resting state, they are in active resistance to this work.
The MT will coax and work with the muscle, finding tight spots and supporting them to release and relax. While they’re doing this, my muscle has a different idea. Rather than gracefully thank the MT for their work and relax into what is most comfortable and natural, my muscle kicks, squirms, clenches, tightens and does most everything in its damn power to resist the work.
What’s interesting is that there is this more natural state of repose for the muscle, but it doesn’t know that currently. What the muscle knows is the state that it has currently adapted to holding itself in, and anyone’s attempts to support it to adopt a different shape are to be resisted.
You’re just the same as that muscle.
People talk about something not being authentic to themselves, or “not really being me”. We use labels like ADHD, HSP, Introversion, being a “Truth Teller” and many others to explain why what I’m already doing is what is natural, and explain away new, deeper possibilities for our being by saying things like “Well, I’m just an introvert, I can’t do stuff like that, it’s not in my nature”.
But our ability to distinguish our deepest levels of authenticity, from the “shape” we’ve adapted to hold ourselves in, is compromised. We’re just like that muscle on the ground, resisting the support we have, and insisting on what we know — because it’s what we know.
This is disconcerting to confront. In a way, it’s an admission of powerlessness. You alone will not be sufficient to reach the levels of unfolding and depth that are possible. In order to truly reach the depths of your own expression, it will require support from the world around you.
If you want to be a leader that is fully-expressed and supports others to do the same, you’re going to have to empower other leaders in your own work. And you’re going to find yourself in resistance to that support — even when you’ve empowered it.
The prevailing myth in our culture is that you can do this on your own (and you’re better and more admirable for having done so). But try as you might, your muscles are not going to spontaneously return to their most fluid and natural position…
And neither are you.