What’s in the way is the way

Peter Munthe-Kaas
3 min readMay 30, 2023


I find that I often get caught up in trying to fix myself in an attempt to get somewhere else, than where I am. It comes in various forms such as:

“I have this tension that is in the way of me really feeling my body”
“I have this resistance to connecting with you, that I want to get rid of”
“I have this blankness that is making it impossible to feel my emotions”

Through practicing Circling I have (slowly) learned to trust the immediate experience more, rather than trying to get to the place where I think I want to go and noticed, these days particularly when leading Circling or coaching, how much richness comes out of staying with whatever it is that is seemingly in the way.

It seems to me that it is quite easy to get caught up in the pattern of the person being circled if they reveal that there is resistance to go into something and start “supporting” them in getting through whatever barrier there is to getting where they want to go. Similarly I often see frustration in circles that someone is not showing “whats really there” (the thing that the resistance is protecting). In these situations we may feel compelled to provide support in order to help them break through the perceived barriers hindering their progress.

“I see. How would it be like to really feel your body?”
“I want to connect more with you too. Would you like to try?”
“Im curious about your emotions.”

All of these examples are for me (more or less subtle) ways of changing the experience of the person and of not holding them as “already whole” and perfect, participating in their own making themselves wrong.

I have come to appreciate that there is immense wisdom in honoring and exploring these resistance points. Rather than rushing to unravel their resistance, we can hold space for it, witnessing its presence without judgment or the need to fix it. Experiences of resistance are not merely barriers to be overcome but gateways to deeper understanding.

“Oh. Whats the tension like?”
“Can you tell me more about the resistance?”
“How do you experience the blankness?”

In doing so, we create a container that allows for a deeper exploration of the underlying emotions, beliefs, and experiences that contribute to these barriers. By staying with what is, we invite a gentle inquiry into the roots of resistance, fostering a greater sense of self-awareness and self-acceptance.

The resistance itself offers valuable insight into a person’s inner life and their struggles. This is tricky territory as these are the places where the person is likely making themselves wrong. By staying with the resistance there is a chance to offer compassion and understanding in a way that can make others feel deeply met and give them the opportunity to meet themselves.

At the Manuvision school of body therapy we were told a story about the Japanese fighters during the 2nd world war, who kept fighting in the pacific islands many years after the war was over, as an analogy of how our nervous systems keeps fighting the “wars” of our childhood, even when our conditions have changed. Our task was to go out into the forest to summon our inner warriors and honor them for their service.

I find that honoring my resistance is a path to greater self-love and that it often opens for connection in unexpected ways. By not trying to fix myself but rather being with what is (trusting my experience) I get to meet myself (and get met) as I am, not as how I would like to be.



Peter Munthe-Kaas

I am a Copenhagen based researcher of urban development, workshop facilitator and body therapist. In all my work I focus on sensitivity and relating.