Getting Stuck and Un-stuck
When I designed my website, I started with a list of key concepts that I wanted to convey: Transform, Safe, Energize, Boundaries, Balance, Healing, Validation, Grounded, and Forgiveness.
When I made this list, I was focused on the positive and encouraging thoughts I wanted to present to the world through the site. I’ve come to the conclusion that this totally positive focus was a mistake. It leaves the false impression that once you start on a spiritual journey you might encounter a block or challenge once in a while, but overall you’ll just move right through them. I decided that there were two words – important words – missing: stuck and ambivalent.
Stuck is pretty easy to understand, it means an inability to move, grow, or change.
Ambivalent is a bit trickier. The most common definition is probably along the lines of not caring one way or the other how something (usually something significant) comes out. However I think of it more as: I know I should care about _______, but I just can’t work up the energy/effort to give a damn.
The idea that because you’ve started on a spiritual journey you’ll never get stuck again – never spend time wallowing in that ambivalent “I can’t bother to care” numbness – is pretty unrealistic. Trying to live up to this expectation ultimately leads to feeling more stuck, invalidated, and frustrated than you were before. The fact is, once you start working on a spiritual level, you uncover more blocks and therefore you are more likely to get stuck.
Everyone gets stuck. It is part of the healing process. It is staying stuck, or pretending that you aren’t stuck that is problematic. That is when the side effects like sluggish energy, physical pain, illness, depression, and emotional instability arrive.
The decision to add “Stuck” and “Ambivalent” to my list of important website words came when I realized that I was feeling ambivalent about the website. I could see that it was getting slammed with negative energy. It wasn’t as visible as I’d intended. People weren’t finding the information I wanted to share, but I couldn’t work up the energy to care. It was just too much of a bother to spend 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a week clearing away the interference. It was when I noticed that I was vaguely worried about not being worried that I realized I was stuck.
There are lots of ways to get stuck – to run into a symbol, memory, past life, or emotion that stops you in your metaphysical tracks. The spark could be an off-handed comment from someone at work; your body’s response to a change; a triggered fear or some other intense emotional response; or a big event like a death, marriage, divorce, or birth.
There are also levels of stuck: being snagged by a bit of tape, bound by a rope, or fully captured in concrete.
Getting un-stuck usually has two steps: noticing you are stuck, and clearing away the block – on your own or with assistance.
Discovering that you are stuck is sometimes a gradual process – an awareness that things just aren’t right. Other times, as with my situation, there is a definite ah-ha moment.
There are several ways to clear a block. Often all you need to do is admit that you are stuck. You see the issue, untangle the block, and let it go. If acknowledging that you’re stuck isn’t enough, here are some other suggestions:
- Meditate to let go of whatever is keeping you stuck. This is nice because you don’t have to know what the block is, you just meditate to release whatever is causing the problem.
- Get a reading from someone (me or someone else) who can facilitate the “un-sticking” process by helping you clear the block and any underlying issues while maintaining a safe space.
- Talk with counselor or visit with your minister/pastor/rabbi/priest.
- Have a Reiki treatment or a deep tissue or shiatsu massage to help break up the block.
- Do something physical (walk, exercise, garden, housework, etc.) or creative (sing, dance, cook, write, play, etc.) to get your energy moving.
Sometimes it helps to examine the block and others it doesn’t really matter. In my case, I called a friend and she helped me clear the block. We discovered that my ambivalence about the website was my body’s way of asking me to ease up a bit. I’ve made some very significant changes over the past 2 years and I’m getting ready to make even more. The ambivalence was a reminder that personal growth isn’t a race and that speed isn’t everything. My body’s message was that I needed to take time for myself – a day or weekend off now and then – to just relax and enjoy. The warning it carried was that if I didn’t, I’d end up stuck in concrete – unable to process anything.
Personal growth is like a dance with its own ebb and flow. First, there is motion. Then you get stuck so there is a pause, which is followed by almost a sigh at the block’s release. Then there is the continued flow on to the next thing. Sometimes that pause is a fraction of a second, barely changing the pattern. Other times, it is almost enough to stop the dance completely. Either way, there is nothing inherently wrong with getting stuck or being stuck for a time; it is just another part of the dance.