Mining the Resistance

Things I Didn't Say

Every once in a while, people with no interest in learning show up at my workshops, talks, or media interviews (as callers). There’s an energy that comes with these folks that screams resistance. They are there to tell me – and everyone else in the space – a thing or two. Sometimes three. As an educator I find myself in a bind. I am there to educate after all, yet I have to triage who I educate.

I prioritize those who’ve shown up ready and willing to learn and share, those in the spirit of co-learning, co-growing. In stark contrast, resistors show up with a this is how it is! declaration, never an authentic question or humble wondering. Be it cloaked behind a smile or in-your-face, their fearful, self-protective, bully energy is unmistakable. As an educator who believes in creating spaces for ALL, as in Life, Liberty, Justice for ALL, the presence of those unwilling to lean in, co-learn, get vulnerable, grow together gnaws at me. I generally listen to their assertions, still my body so as not to let their fear become my fear, and move on. Later though, on the ride home, always I am left with a pesky sense of unfinished business, an incomplete conversation with the arm-crosser in the back of the auditorium. What are you so afraid of? I want to ask. Tell me your very worst fear. I can spend days having imaginary conversations with these folks. Did you know about x? Have you considered y? Where did you learn z?

This page - Mining the Resistance - is my space to do just that, to sift through their declarations and find a meaningful response, a potential inroad that offers a reframe. Even if I never cross paths with this or that resistor again, the challenge they present gives me an opportunity to sharpen my thinking.

I hope my ruminations can support you too, be you a resistor or someone looking to engage the resistors in your life.

What I'd Say Now