When you're feeling stuck

Updated: Feb 6, 2018

There gets to be a point in everyone's life where something isn't working and you just don't know what to do. It can feel as severe as the phrase "between a rock and a hard place," or maybe more gentle like a "plateau." Either way, though, not fun. It's so normal to feel out of control or confused. You might even be excited to take action if only you just knew what to do.

And no, I don't know what you should do. But I bet you secretly do, even if you won't tell yourself.

It makes me think of a story from one of my favorite books, How Yoga Works. I'll paraphrase here, but it's the story of a young girl in India teaching an older policeman about yoga. In the story, she continually holds up a whittled switch of bamboo from his desk and asks him what it is. He tells her repeatedly that it's a pen. Over and over again.

Finally, to prove her point, as he's clearly not getting it, she take the "pen" and holds it out the window, where a cow promptly eats it. To the cow it's not a pen. It's food.

If your mental heuristic tells you that bamboo is for pens, you can't see all the other things it could be.

And if your mental heuristic tells you that, for example, money makes people do bad things, or that nice people always or never do something, or that you have to do cardio to loose weight, or healthy food is boring, or all vegans are annoying, or...you get it. These rules, these perceptions, these understandings that that's just how it is create a very small box to live within, and can make you feel very stuck.

So what do you do?

  1. To start, write a list of all your reasons why you can't break out of whatever situation you're in. Brainstorm everything that's keeping you exactly where you are. Try to keep it to things that are situational, rather than personal nasty thoughts like "you just suck."

  2. Then begin to pick away at them. What if that weren't true? Or, what's another way I can get this thing that I need, beyond the way I access or create it now? Solutions can even be absurd to the point of being funny. You're just trying to shake up your brain right now.

  3. Step away from it. Maybe you take a yoga class (hint ;) ). Go for a walk. Do something to change up your scenery and put the situation in the back of your mind.

  4. Do some research on how other people have addressed these situations in the past. It might feel like you're the only person ever to be in this situation, but I promise you're not.

  5. If all else fails, break something. No, I don't mean start throwing plates. Shake up your situation! Do something different. Try something else on (within reason for the constraints of your life).

  6. Trust. There is a solution out there somewhere. At some point, it will either make itself apparent to you, or the situation will change on its own.

This can also be a great time to bring in outside council. If you have a therapist or very awesome friend, talk to them about it! I also offer smaller Discovery + Development session packs for breaking through tricky situations, and I'd love to chat with you about what's going on in your life. You can sign up for a free mini-session with me here.

Good luck!



© 2019 by Libby Meis

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