To live bigger, we need to get unstuck. And it must be our mission to be the biggest us we can be. I don’t mean fame and fortune, rather big in joy and meaning. To me, that’s living a bigger life. It’s putting in some effort to make something happen, instead of settling.
We all get stuck sometimes, especially when we are afraid, in pain, or are suffering.
How do you know if you’re stuck?
Let’s look at a few ideas to see if any of them sound like you.
You might be stuck if you . . .
- Haven’t changed your routines, beliefs, hair style, etc. in years. In fact, you may feel afraid to change. Most people say they fear change.
- Aren’t curious about the world around you.
- Don’t know how to move forward, since the kids left, since the divorce, since you retired.
- Turn down invitations because Tuesday is “laundry night”.
If you think you may be stuck, I’m guessing you want something different.
But how do you get it?
I’m a big fan of rituals and activities that lead me to a deeper reflection of my situation and to insights and ideas on how to move forward.
Here’s what I do.
I start by clearing some time on my schedule for a quiet time alone. I live alone, so that part is easy for me. If you don’t, please ask your housemates to honor your private time.
Collect some items for your ritual, like stones or crystals. Turn on your favorite, relaxing music. Light a favorite candle. Create a peaceful, loving atmosphere. I’m partial to vanilla candles with a few tracks from Silent Path by Robert Coggins.
Then I very thoughtfully prepare a cup of tea.
I grab my favorite journal so I can capture any AHA’s I get. OK, so you have a dozen journals around the house. No worries and no pressure. Just grab something, even the back of an envelope.
Now we’re ready to begin! Are you with me?
Next, I sit. Sitting is my new thing – well since Covid. I’ve learned a lot by sitting quietly and listening to my inner voice. And yes sometimes that inner voice is a critical judge but more and more I notice my surroundings. I use my senses, and I’m learning to follow my thoughts instead of resisting them. I encourage you to keep sitting and listening, and with time and practice you will begin to hear your inner voice guiding and encouraging you.
I want information about getting unstuck, so I set an intention on one small piece of my desire. Maybe you want gut-guidance on how or if you can pursue an old, hidden away passion. Focus on that.
Now, write it down.
I remind myself to relax, letting go of any tension or pressure I feel to ‘get it right’. There is no right or wrong. Remember, it’s simply an activity to connect you to that higher, quieter part of you.
To get started I focus on something around me. I will immerse myself in a piece of music, completely hearing each note of the saxophone or guitar. I experience that moment when nothing else exists. Then, as my mind begins to wander, I reconnect with my intention.
Now sit with it.
Ask to know more. Imagine what it would feel like to have this new clarity in your life. Then sit with that. Ask to know more. Listen, refocusing on your intention or desired outcome when your mind starts to wander, and it will. These are the times when I get the best answers.
Once you have sparked an idea or two for how to break the stuck cycle, think about a first step to take to begin the journey.
For example, let’s say that your reflection ritual reveals a pattern of self-judgement that you want to eliminate. What tiny steps could you begin that would replace self-judgement with more self-love?
- Give yourself a gift! Go on an Artists Date. According to Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, an artist date is a once-weekly solo expedition to do something that enchants or interests you.
- Break the habit! Ask a close and trusted friend to gently point out if you are self-critical, so that you are aware in that moment. Often, we don’t see or hear how we’re behaving.
- Be grateful! Start a gratitude journal where every day you list 1-2 things that you like or appreciate about yourself. Could be, “Today I liked how I handled the talk with my brother.”
In a recent post, Jay Shetty, an amazing storyteller, talked about how the “grass is greener where you water it”. That’s what you want to do – water the insights you gained through your ritual.
We have to focus on the outcome we desire instead of the fretting over the practical reasons it won’t work. If it’s true that what we focus on expands – and I believe that’s true – then focus on what you want more of.
This is an empowering journey of self-discovery and an act of self-love. I hope you’ll put on your metaphorical hiking boots and begin. You’ll love the results.
Originally published in fyi50+: