The Power of Creative Non-Resistance

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 3:58 pm
Photo of waterfalls by Jack Smoter.

The Power of Creative Non-Resistance

I don’t believe in “allowing” everything that happens in my life, or the lives of the people around me, or the larger life of the world.

Some things need to be resisted to one’s final breath. But there are other things, important things, that cannot be resisted, and much depends on whether I have the wit and grace to yield.

When it comes to those things, this poem is an important reminder about the power of what might be called “creative non-resistance.”

by Danna Faulds

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in —
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

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is a columnist for On Being. His column appears every Wednesday.

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal. His books include A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, and Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. His book On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old will be published in June.

Share Your Reflection


  • Gabby

    I am so glad for your strong and simple opening statement that you don’t believe in simply allowing everything that may happen in your life or the lives of those around you.
    I find myself frustrated at how proud so many people are these days of the peace they gain by allowing and accepting everything, often from positions of comfort.

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  • Susan

    As much as my head wants to have more control, my heart wants to see where my community would go with “letting go.” We hold on to old ways without understanding how they limit us, so afraid are we of losing what little control we think we have.. But, still–as in Philadelphia Yearly meeting where I am headed today–I see way up there at the clerk’s table subtle changes of listening and being led by members. Hope springs … let the Light and Darkness enfold us and open the Way.

  • Helen

    The movie “Arrival” was about this.

  • Judy Montel

    oh thank you so much for sharing this poem!! I recently chose to let go of my known way of being and it can be VERY uncomfortable at times – much less graceful than the poem seems. But perhaps that grace is in me as well, I just don’t always see it the way we often don’t see the goodness in ourselves because we don’t have a good vantage point!