The feeling of being stuck – whether because of a job we dislike, an impasse in our close relationships or because of a chronic health issue – is often exacerbated by the fear that lurks beneath this temporary stagnation. When I feel stuck in any area of my life, loads of anxiety-laden thoughts flood my mind and create an inner unrest. My mind does its best to coax me into entertaining thoughts like, “What if I stay stuck forever?” or “What if all I’ve worked to create in my life disintegrates before my very eyes?” or “There must be something wrong because I’m not accomplishing anything” or “I’m not going to be okay because I don’t know what to do next.” Many of us think (myself included!) that fear is what will propel us out of feeling stuck; that if we worry enough we’ll eventually find a way out. But in reality, the opposite is true. Fear does not create movement, it thwarts it. Remember: where our attention goes, so it grows; the more we focus on the fear, the less capacity we experience to notice new possibilities for movement and change.
Life isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be. There isn’t some intricate plan or mysterious solution deliberately hiding from our view. What is key is knowing where to place our focus. In this case we have essentially two choices about where to look when we feel stuck; we can either focus on (1) the trapped quality ridden with fear or (2) the resting quality filled with possibility. If we choose to focus on the resting quality, we likely are able to settle down and absorb what is actually happening in the present. When we do this, we see the myriad of possibilities, both externally and internally available to us. Focusing on the right place when we feel stuck (in this case the opportunity to rest, integrate, and open to new possibilities), and bringing our attention there again and again, illuminates the answers we need to feel fulfilled, alive, connected, and receptive to divine direction.
Let’s take a moment to incorporate a practice that supports finding possibility in stagnation. Find a comfortable position standing or sitting upright with your feet touching the ground. Now, shift your awareness to the ground beneath your feet. Feel the ground and get to know its quality-whether it is it soft, hard, smooth, rocky, warm, cold. Pay attention to how it feels to have the earth be a support for your entire body. Begin to notice what happens inside your body as you become aware of the solidness of the earth’s support. Do you start to feel calmer, more present, and looser on the inside? Move back and forth between noticing the support of the earth and then noticing how your body feels when it is supported in this way. Practice this exercise for a few minutes.
The invitation is for you to incorporate this simple exercise into your daily routine. It is something you can do anywhere-at home, in the office, or on line at the supermarket. The more awareness you bring to the ground and the support it provides, the more you’ll feel anchored when life throws you curve balls. Grounding yourself in the present is a primary step in finding growth and joy amid feeling stuck.
Your conscious awareness is not only a gift, but in this case, the antidote to feeling stuck. Consciously choosing how to relate to your experience allows you to connect deeply with what is. It is in this connection, both with yourself and your environment, that you will have a greater capacity to receive your next step. So, how can you find clarity, ease and fluidity today? What can you open your eyes to, breathe deeply into and connect with that will promote your wholeness and reveal what you need?