Saturday, May 10, 2008

Getting Unstuck

Sometimes, I find myself stuck, unable to put one foot in front of the other. I am beginning to understand what is happening--and how to resolve it.

Being stuck, for me, is about sending myself conflicting messages. "I want to write books and teach and travel around the world," I sigh, visualizing myself writing in airports, checking into hotels, standing on stages, signing the inside covers of my books."

I absolutely love teaching. I am also one of those people who LOVES traveling--I love airports, I love discovering a new city, browsing in bookstores and gift shops. I also love hotels--as I've discovered many women who've been stay at home moms, do. There's something almost sinfully self-indulgent about the solitude, the way I feel when the door of my room closes and I am completely, blissfully alone to kick off my shoes, unwrap my clean glasses from their crinkly paper wrappers and do whatever the heck I want--even if all I want to do is drink a glass of water and fall asleep with the TV on.

So this traveling image creates a great big YES from the soul level for me. So why am I not out there, zipping through the clouds on a plane; Teaching a kick ass class in Australia? Pulling my best-selling book from a shelf at Barnes and Noble.

Cuz I'm stuck.

The moment that YES is out of my heart, thoughts arrive, cautioning, "You're not ready for that yet. You dont have enough training to attract a class. And besides, what NEW thing do you have to teach anyway? Everyone knows all this stuff."

Next, these thoughts come: "So get the training already. How long are you going to take? But I have no money, no time, Im tired. I have too much to do. Our money needs to go to the children's college now.

And finally, these thoughts come to seal the deal: "I should have done all of this sooner. It's too late (accompanied by big heart sigh) I'm too old."

And the YES that delighted and inspired and invigorated me body and soul, is gone.

That's what being stuck looks like from here. For the past two years, I've been developing a getting unstuck strategy that seems to be working. I pass it on to you:

GET A SNAPSHOT OF YOUR YES/NO IN ACTION

First, activate the process by pulling out your favorite not-yet-realized dream.
VIsualize yourself doing it, really get into it, activating all of your senses. How does it feel to be doing that, living that? What can you see around you? Are there specific tastes and smells associated with it? Really let yourself feel into the experience.
Enjoy it, send love to it. Send it out into the world through your heart and belly as a real, fully realized possibility. Now take a snapshot of this moment.

WATCH AND LISTEN
What thoughts come up? Are you excited and invigorated by the vision or are you beginning to hear inner dialogue like, "But I dont have the money," or "I am not ready (or perfect) enough yet," or "Someone (and see who you name) won't like it or will sabotage me," or "My parent(s) never gave me the skills I need to be successful." When you activate your YES, what is your NO?

WHERE THE NO COMES FROM
From the fearful ego, the part of the psyche that is afraid that change equals loss. Loss of control and loss of identity. The ego is terrified that if you change roles, switching from editor to personal chef, for example, that you will be humiliated. The ego's logic is: If you take away the mask I wear or the role I play, I won't know who or how to be. The ego fears dissolution.

Remember the ego is not "the bad guy". We need the ego, it is the part of the psyche that allows us to create structured thinking, to name and label things. Basically, the ego's job is to maintain us in a world of forms and separation from oneness. These are important to keep us "sane" in a material world.

Still, what do we do when the ego's fears sabotage our progress.

We soothe it. When such thoughts as, "I am not ready," or "I am not trained enough", or "I don't have the money yet," come up, simply remind yourself (and your ego will hear you) that you can take things one step at a time.

Remind yourself, "I always learn along the way," and "When I don't know, I can ask questions," and "There will be helpers and mile markers along the way to help me."

The key here is to tell yourself the truth that no one knows exactly what to do before they do it, and that we need not be perfect--in any way--to "qualify" to move forward.

Just set your intention and do one little thing in that direction at a time. Put one foot in front of the other and allow the changes to happen gradually.

That's how I'm making my slow and steady way to my goals. Sometimes, it seems to take forever. Other times, a kind of tipping point is reached and I feel as if I'm surfing a tidal wave of change.

That's how change is, and personal transformation is the same way. One day, I'm struggling to learn some new complicated piece of technology or psychology and a month later, that part is second nature to me--and I'm wrestling (delightedly) with something new. We lose weight an ounce at a time. We walk a marathon one yard at a time. We write a book one page at a time.

Allow change to come at its own pace in its own way. Don't push things along. But do your page, take your step, study your textbook."You have to work your prayers," Dolly Parton reminded me a million years ago. I've never forgotten that.

That's why, when it feels like I'm stuck or like life isn't moving fast enough, I've learned to take that as an invitation to get off the sofa and take a step, any step--one little action in the direction of my goal.

If I find that I can't manage even that: I know that it's time to simply sit down and look around me, appreciating how far I've already come. I bless this stop and go life. I bless this bumpy road and the well-earned callouses on my heels and the way that I sometimes need a bandaid to wear the fancy new shoes I had to have.

And soon enough, I'm ready to get up and start walking again.

No comments: