On Being in Stuck
I’ve been sitting in Stuck for a while. Maybe you’ve been here too. In between glimmers of inspiration and glimpses of bold daring, I’ve been lulled into non-action. Overtime, I more quickly pick up on when I’ve entered Stuck, which is different than Grounded. Grounded feels like support, stability, deep roots from which we can grow tall. Stuck feels like feet puttied to the ground, the inability to move or grow. Stuck feels like so many paths it’s hard to discern which one to travel on. Stuck feels like afraid to take the first step. Stuck feels like endlessly spinning wheels in dirty snow. Stuck feels like never unraveling, staying coiled up.
When I feel things, thank you yoga, it’s a full-body experience. There’s no "only feeling things intellectually". When I’m sad, my whole body aches. When I feel stuck, I get very tired, very introspective, and I literally curl in on myself. Stuck is an overwhelming place to be. There are so many thoughts coming in so quickly that my mind receives all of them as a loud and irritating noise, kind of like street construction outside of the bedroom window at 5am on a Wednesday. That noise swallows even the helpful, beautiful thoughts. Pre-yoga and meditation, all of that noise led to tension, which led to frustration and tears and breakdowns, which, finally, led to action.
That, however, is a very long journey from Stuck to Unstuck. I’m constantly refining the journey to make it shorter, less tumultuous. Feeling stuck is inevitable. If moments of dynamic change exist then so does stagnation. Homeostasis for me is constant change: daily schedules, clients, faces, interactions, physical spaces that I work in. There is a great temptation to stay in Stuck, because that stillness feels comforting in a world of hyper-stimulation. But too much of anything is detrimental. So how do we navigate that space in a way that does not prolong our visit in Stuck?
How We Get Out of Stuck
Recognize that Stuck is where you are. Sometimes, we ignore the physical and energetic signs that tell us we are in Stuck. Like anything else we hide in the shadows, choosing to shed light on Stuck, makes it less powerful, less significant. I'm stuck and that’s okay. Now that I know where I am, I have to make a brave choice.
Leaving Stuck means that we have to be brave enough to take one action outside of the realm of comfortable. When I get stuck, most often it is a product of overthinking and fear. I’m afraid to choose because what if it’s the wrong choice? My brain then spirals out the potential endings for each different choice I could make. Stuck thrives on fear, of change, of discomfort, of failure. Yoga, more than any other physical practice, taught me how to mindfully move through discomfort and fear. Inside of the transition from pose to pose, moments of instability and discomfort, moments of choice, appear. I have options. I can succumb to the familiar track of fear response (I am not good enough/ I can’t) or I can breathe and let myself feel the uncomfortable. Take enough breaths, and what was once scary and overwhelming becomes less. If, however, I choose non-action, I will stay exactly where I am.
Find some humans who are interested in moving forward. When I curl in, I CURL IN. I go inside of my cocoon and will not be taken out. While I believe in introspection and moments of solitude to recalibrate, I also understand the importance of injecting life with new and different energy. Especially when I land in Stuck, a part of me is ashamed that I am there and starts to plot all of the different ways to avoid human contact. I mindfully create communities of support that understand this tendency, and with compassion hold me accountable to my commitment of coming out of my cocoon.
Stuck isn't a place you have to stay. Move your body. Do something out of the habitual. Consciously choose to expand instead of curl in. Little by little, the choices you make build momentum. Sometimes all you need is a little nudge. Consider this it.