When We Get Stuck…
We all know what it’s like to feel stuck. We can’t figure out how to connect more deeply with our partner or what our next career step should be. When we feel stuck there’s a pervasive underlying dissatisfaction along with the frustration from not seeing a solution.
While, last week I shared a bit about the experience of emotions getting stuck and unprocessed. This week, we explore a different kind of stuckness - the feeling of being stuck in life overall.
There are a few possible components to feeling stuck and thus different steps around how to un-stuck oneself. Firstly, might not have clarity about what we want. It could feel like ambivalence or apathy, or it could feel more like confusion or inner tension. It could stem from conflicting values or being out of touch with our values. In any case, we need to reconnect with who we are so we can rediscover what we want and then explore how to get there.
From the perspective of Chinese Medicine, we need to tap into our essence. Our essence lies in the Water element, the element that is the foundation of all life. Water resonates with the energy of unmanifested potential. This means the gifts that come to us through our ancestry and DNA. Water gives us our Willpower which live in our kidneys and bones. Understanding this is useful because if, for instance, we’re feeling stuck because we’re unsure of who we are and what values drive us, we realize that spending time near a body of water and feeling into the stability of our bones are useful for exploring these themes.
Sometimes our stuckness is less about not knowing and more about a difficulty seeing. We’re in a quagmire and we can’t figure out how to get out. We may need more information, and if only time will offer deeper insight, we must cultivate patience. However in many cases it's a matter of perspective. We can’t see where to go next because of how we’re looking at the situation.
For instance, “there’s no way for me to please my partner and my parents.” First, the perspective is locked in a statement. We’ve already decided the outcome, and so yes, we feel stuck. We can begin to shift our perspective by calling on the curious cat within and asking questions. “How can I please my partner and my parents?” “Is this really about pleasing everyone?” “What’s most important here?” “What do I want from this?” Once, we’ve shifted from statements to questions, and hold a posture of curiosity, new possibilities start to arise.
In my cultivation as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, I’ve learned to relate to Vision and Perspective as qualities of the Wood element which is associated with Spring. So this is a perfect time to explore and cultivate these skills. Wood takes the potential in Water and channels it into growth. It involves devising a plan or strategy which we’re best able to do when we have a broad and multifaceted perspective. The organs that facilitate this are the liver and gallbladder (organs we like to cleanse in the spring with bitter and sour foods like dandelion greens and roots and greens and apple cider vinegar).
The Wood element also has a relationship to our joints and flexibility. Think of a tree dancing in the wind. It has to stay firmly rooted, but remain supple enough to sway. Any tight, rigid, or brittle branches will be lost in the winds of change. Just as we in our quest to solve a conundrum, need to find a way to stay rooted in our values, but be flexible with our actions.
How does any of this help us get unstuck? Well, if we can’t see our way out of a situation, something as whimsical as climbing a tree may help us gain new perspectives. For those less athletically inclined, sitting at the base of a tree and imagining ourselves at the top with a 360 view of our surroundings can be enough to stimulate our minds with new ideas or perspectives about how to move forward. Imagination is an incredibly powerful problem solver.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” - Albert Einstein
When we connect with the wisdom of plants and the way they strive towards the light, we may be surprised by the insights that arise.
Another way of gaining perspective is with the help of someone outside of your situation. It could be a friend, a family member, or a professional, but often talking to someone who isn’t “stuck in the weeds” with you may be able to help you find your way out. Rachael and I would be more than happy to serve as your outside perspective :-)
And of course we can always Mood Boost our way into a new way of seeing things with the lovely power of music, dance, and community.