I am excited to share with you that this post is part of a collaborative writing project. Today, myself and three of my favorite bloggers are publishing posts on the theme of “Getting Unstuck.” This project is an offering to support freedom. When each of us takes responsibility for getting unstuck, a powerful momentum for true transformation develops. Please click on the links to check out the other posts. These lovely women are, moving clockwise from the upper right of the photo:
And here are my thoughts on getting unstuck:
The only way out is through.
If the only way out is through, then the only way to truly get unstuck is to experience stuckness. Sure, you can try out a new behavior, take a class, or set your alarm an hour early. Anything that takes us out of our routines and habits can shake things up.
But if we are stuck in a familiar and long-standing pattern, then fix-it strategies usually aren’t enough. Why? Because the only way out is through. The conditioned tendencies that bring so much suffering to our lives are fueled by tender feelings that hide outside of our awareness.
Until we turn to recognize and embrace these feelings, they continue to hang around, nipping at our heels.
This principle of inner work is tremendously useful. If you want to get unstuck, see through to the source of the stuckness. If you want to be peaceful, explore the ways you struggle and fight. If you want more love, investigate the nature of lack and inadequacy. Resistance ends when we bring our attention to the experiences that are actually here, rather than to the ones we wish were here.
Make this a lifestyle, and watch your life transform.
An Example of Moving Through
Recently, I felt stuck, and some would call it writer’s block. I tried making notes, taking a walk, meditating, forcing myself to sit in front of my computer. None of it helped. Then, I had the brainstorm to follow my own advice. I was stuck, so why not investigate stuckness?
To be honest, it was a huge relief. I moved from resistance and problem-solving to actually experiencing what was present. I felt the rigidity in my limbs, clenching in my throat, frustration welling up from the pit of my stomach.
My mind, which had been working overtime to come up with a solution, felt spacious and relaxed, and the words began to flow once again. I went through, and I came out the other side.
Befriend Your Most Tender Feelings
There is no shortcut to this process, and here’s why. Painful experiences are part of the landscape of being human. When we are young, we invariably encounter feelings that are too painful to bear. We may react to events with basic emotions like terror or rage, but we lack the tools and sense of safety to actually feel them.
What happens to these undigested emotional reactions? We push them out of conscious awareness. We ignore or deny or forget. But they don’t go away entirely. They show up in the form of bodily tension, illness, confusion, difficult relationships, unsatisfying habits, and lives off track. We engage in any behavior we can come up with, even if it hurts us, to avoid the pain.
The decision to turn our attention directly into what we are feeling is revolutionary. It opens up the possibility for those disenfranchised parts of ourselves to be seen, experienced, and healed by love.
Discover the Hidden Diamond
Every way in which we find ourselves stuck invites us to find the brilliant diamond hidden among the thistles. If we follow any unsatisfying pattern or reaction to its source, we discover a long-lost piece of ourselves. If we allow ourselves to simply feel the pain, the treasures of peace, ease, and new beginnings are realized. We no longer fight to keep the wolves at bay; the tragic war with our own inner experience comes to an end.
Freedom from being stuck in our habits and tendencies is absolutely possible. Happiness, deep peace, joy, satisfying interactions, fulfillment – these are our birthright, truly. They are right here, even in this moment. But when we are caught up in our patterns, doing everything except being with what is, these essential life qualities have no room to breathe.
Once we make the choice to befriend the painful fragments of our being, our attention is freed from the chains of the past, and these authentic aspects of ourselves are revealed. As these tender parts are welcomed back from the depths of unconsciousness, we begin to relax, we feel whole and light, we are no longer bound by uncontrollable patterns.
So if you want to get unstuck, go through. Bring your loving attention right into the hardest place. I can assure you it won’t be as bad as you think. Embrace what you discover in true friendship and love, and enjoy the fruits of your courageous exploration.
Care to share your experience with being stuck? With getting unstuck? To read more, please visit the blogs of my beloved friends.
- Robin Easton, Naked in Eden Blog: Live Learn and Get Unstuck
- Catrien Ross, Energy Doorways: Getting Unstuck by Gently Letting Go
- Tara Sophia Mohr, Wise Living: Getting Unstuck
I also want to thank Urban Monk for inspiring this collaborative project.