Foundations of Empathy & Mindfulness in Conversation Self-Guided Program

Self-Learning Support: Training with Resistance & Fearlessness

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This section is about supporting you to create a learning structure that works for you and to practice responding to the resistance that comes up with fearlessness and perseverance.

  1. Facing Uncertainty. For most of us, when we set new goals for ourselves and initiate new behaviors to get there, the uncertainty of the unknown around this generates fear that takes various forms of resistance, such as avoidance, procrastination, complaining, etc. The resistance then often leads to inner conflict, suffering, and sometimes giving up. In this section I'll offer you what I have found helpful to me in my journey with new behaviors, structure, fear and resistance. It may be different for you. My hope is to give you ideas to explore in your own experience to support yourself in this journey.
  2. Learning Structure and Fearlessness. What I will offer you in this section is finding the right amount and kind of learning and practice structure for you, and then practice with fearlessness (i.e. courageous empathy and compassion) to any fear and resistance that comes up in you as you move into new behaviors and uncertain outcomes. By fearlessness I mean the practice of continuing to come back to compassionate presence with difficult thoughts and body sensations and emotions in you related to your learning and practice.
  3. Individual Action Plan. Ok, first let's go back to your Individual Action Plan. I invited you to journal about this in the First Steps section on the Main page. If you haven't done this yet and you'd like to, do that now before proceeding. Take some time with this, an hour or more perhaps.
  4. Monthly Learning Goal. So, as you think about the big dream/vision that drew you to this program, I invite you to set a specific goal related to this learning that you want to achieve by the end of this month (and to continue to set a goal at the beginning of each month for the month). I recommend you have some place to log and track all this -- a notebook/planner of some kind, your computer, phone.
  5. Learning Structure. Now, I suggest you create a daily or weekly structure for the learning and practice you want to do that week. I have found it's important to find the right amount of order, flexibility, and fluidity for you in the structure you create. What do you want to commit to doing each day or week? How much time for each thing? Do you want to set specific times of day/week or have it be more fluid and flexible? Is there an order, sequence, and prioritization you want to get clear on? It's about finding the right balance that works for you.
  6. Committing to a Weekly Structure. Reading through the Suggested Learning Structure and Practicing with Others pages, is there now a daily/weekly structure of learning and practice for this program you'd like to commit to for this week?
  7. Reviewing and Adjusting. My invitation to you is to set a learning structure for the week, and then check in with yourself the following week to see how it went. For example, every Monday you could review how the previous week went in terms of doing and not doing what you had intended, and see what adjustments if any you want to make for the coming week.
  8. Practicing Fearlessness. Now, perhaps the most important thing in my view, is to practice empathic, compassionate presence within yourself any time you notice fear and resistance coming up in you in relation to doing your learning structure. Make this more primary and important than doing the structure or accomplishing the monthly goal. Meditate with the fear and resistance when you feel it until there is space and willingness in you to take a forward step, however small.
  9. Support for Fearless Practice. There are of course many ways to meditate and be present with inner fear and resistance, and many kinds of resources to support you. There is a resource I recommend in the Additional Learning Resources Library on the Main page. It is a guided audio meditation on fear and anxiety that I recorded.
  10. Monthly Goal Review. At the the end of each month, review how you did with your goal for the month and set a new goal for the coming month. Carry on with the weekly learning structure, review, and adjustments.
  11. More Support. I will be offering more ongoing support with this approach to learning structure and resistance. However, if you feel you need/want more support than I am providing, I recommend the work of Leo Babauta and Zen Habits.