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2013-10-01 issue:

The healing power of nonresistance

by Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz

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I have come to a point in my life where the daily in-and-outs have clouded and delayed my journey into living in abundance, and thankfully they've led me to having a strong desire for something big to change.

Adrenal fatigue, digestive issues and stress-related illnesses all point to not being grounded and centered, not living from my Source—specifically, accepting beliefs that are not in alignment with our God.

At its worst, I experienced inexplicable exhaustion, and I know many young adults who are simply tired and worn-out by the pressures we've come to accept as normal. And when you look around, many people are in the same boat. We are simply done.

While our society makes important decisions about interventions into other countries, I see the Spirit calling us to an inward intervention into the beliefs we've embraced that do not serve us.

As I share three of mine that revolve around resistance, control and negativity, maybe they’ll resonate with others. Now that I've begun this work, I can feel my body release the stress, reducing dramatically the headaches and giving me more energy. I'm a firm believer that all our diseases begin with our thoughts and emotions.

Mennonites were the first to introduce me to nonresistance, nonviolence and the active work of peacemaking in response to conflict. The concepts were attractive, and I was easily convinced that the gospel convinces us to such an alternative response. I could envision it in historical movements and potentially in a personal assault, but what does nonresistance look like in my daily life? Could it be healing and an answer to our personal or societal ills?

I've begun to understand that our emotions say much more about what's going on all around us, and when undesirable, it's in part because we're attached to an idea or a story.

What if we dropped the story and stopped resisting the present moment and let go of our fight for our own way, ideas and expectations? This is the nonresistance I'm committing to. Accepting all things as they are without exception.

As a parent to four young children, I see within me and most parents I know the ragged juggling of personal life, work, home and relationships. While doing self-reflection, I recognized a belief that made my life difficult. Parents have embraced without question one of the most powerful myths I've observed: We can have the outcome we expect for our children, and the way to get there is through planning, order, obedience and control—parent and child doing everything right.

We're so busy checking the boxes and researching the best that we've lost the point, and worse, in the end, our illusion of control is revealed when despite our best intentions, our children choose a path of resistance to us.

In my effort to find joy and harmony in the home, I'm committing to releasing my control (i.e. arbitrary rules on family to teach them a lesson, manipulation of resources to get my outcome and my need to please others outside my family at their expense). I’m welcoming trust and acceptance for whatever is present in the moment.

Lastly, I'm done with the incessant need to share personal stories that speak of my lack, my disappointments, my failures, my broken relationships. Is it possible I was a co-creator of the grief I’d experienced and giving it my attention today would only create more of the same?

I've committed myself to being careful about what I say about myself and others. I want to hold each thought captive so that when I do speak, and when appropriate, my words and stories can be used as a salve—medicine to all who hear. Today, I'm ready to spin new stories of what is true about who I am and leave the past behind.

The heavy weight we carry begins with how we view this life. Listening to the emotions is a great place to begin awareness. In our honesty, let's ask our Good Shepherd to guide the rest of the way—letting go of the resistance, surrendering the control and transforming the story. 

Janet Trevino-Elizarraraz lives in San Antonio, Texas. She can be reached at

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