We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over.
In Star Trek, this is part of the standard message used by the Borg when they encounter an alien race they intend to assimilate into their collective.
I have never met the Borg but that message sounds familiar. As if I’d heard it several times most days of my life. Especially recently. There is this force that just doesn’t want me to be who I am, or do what I want or need to do. It wants me to surrender and to be assimilated. It tells me that ‘resistance is futile’, just give in, why bother, why rebel, if you’re going to loose anyhow in the end? (I wonder, would the Borg be similar to what sociologists and educators call socialisation?)
Just by accident, I came across an Irish Times article by Laura Kennedy today, in which she defines ‘resistance‘ from a completely different perspective, as a force that is blocking our creativeness, “a force which flourishes counter to our will. Resistance is that force which blocks our progress, or our beginning. It is not something we can blame or use to excuse inaction, for we ourselves generate and feed resistance. We can either nurture our work, or nurture our resistance. Most of us choose the latter without even realising.” Nothing changes.
BUT – we can overcome that block, that resistance, we can choose not to be assimilated, to be who we are, do what we do, say what needs to be said, and live how we want to live. We can choose to tell the Borg to just get lost in one of these black holes in the universe from where there is no return.
In my mind, Louise was one of these persons who was not to be assimilated, not by the Borg nor by anybody else. Sure, it didn’t make her life easier. There was a lot of resistance she had to deal with, not all of which could be overcome. She was who she was and was tremendously proud of it. And rightly so.
We went back to some of the exercises Pádraig had tried some time ago and then had been kind of forgotten, maybe he was just busy doing other stuff. The ‘blow the candle’ exercise was one, and he rendered it useless almost immediately – because he mastered it so well, by blowing out the candle a few times in a row.
Now this might sound trivial and easy but it’s not. And more so, controlling his breath is something Pádraig has been struggling with a bit, being able to do it is one of the pre-requisites of using his voice.
So we quickly moved on to the next exercise we could remember from way back then, when he tried hard but did not manage. To use a straw to drink. As the blowing-out-the-candle bit had worked so well, we asked him to blow into the straw and blow some bubbles into the water glass at the end of the straw.
Which is when he decided that he could do better, that he could do another FIRST, not blowing into the straw but using it to suck in the air, then the water, and drink the water using the straw.
It was incredible. And showed again, how much we at times underestimate Pádraig (though we should know better by now:) and how much he is capable to do, if we just allow him to do it, provide him with the ‘tools’, encourage him, and believe in his capabilities.
He is overcoming that outer and inner resistance, the physical resistance and the inner, mental resistance each and every day, being himself, doing what he wants to do, practising, training, trying, working incredibly hard, never accepting ‘no, not possible’ but believing that he can do whatever he wants to do by putting his body and soul behind that effort.