We all seem to get in ruts, moments of paralysis when we would rather do nothing than something. Whether we are stuck in making a decision or feeling as if our whole world is crumbling apart, there are a few consistent factors that go with feeling stuck. I have been through many ruts and have eventually come out with a grand understanding of why these ruts occur. I have some good news for you—it’s an illusion.
This is a beautiful question, but not in the way you may think. Essentially, asking this type of question gets us nowhere. It’s a beautiful question in the way that by realizing its source—fear—you acquire the exact awareness you need to start asking better questions. You see, this is how ruts begin in the first place! When something goes “wrong” according to our vision, we feel pain associated with some kind of failure. We then begin asking ourselves questions out of this fearful emotional state and that is why we get the wrong answer. As positive as it may seem, a question like, “Why do we get in ruts?” is fear based. This is really another way of asking, “Why am I in a rut?” or more precisely, “Why am I such a failure!”
Our minds are clever in this way; we always seem to be problem orientated and never solution oriented. As Einstein put it, “You cannot solve a problem at the level of the problem.” Meaning if you want a better answer, you’re going to have to ask better questions! It takes a lot of self-awareness to sit back and observe the patterns in these questions. In one aspect, we get in ruts because we judge and label situations as failures and look to resolve them by asking the wrong questions.
On a more inspirational note, we get “stuck” because something better is awakening in us: growth. How we’ve been living prior to this rut is no longer serving us. This illusion of being stuck is purely mental. Because nothing in life is stuck! Our entire universe is in constant flow. In reality, there is always the unlimited potential for feeling good and joyful; we just have to be brave enough to seek it.
You’re having an identity crisis!
Think back to the sources of all your roadblocks in life. Do you see how they were nothing more than opportunities to grow? You see, the common factor in all stagnation is a blockage—there is no flow. All these blocks are occurring from the past; we are unable and unwilling to give up something, so we cling on for dear life.
What most people are clinging on to in a rough part of their life is an identity. And all identities are born of the past and create limitations for living in the present and embracing the future. My mother, for example, has been going through a period of really feeling stuck lately. Just in a few moments of speaking with her I was able to pick up on the root cause of this. She, like anyone else feeling stuck, had created a story about her life, an identity, and this identity is no longer serving her. She tells a fabulous and intricate story of her identity as a mother. She describes this story so well and so completely identified with it, to the point where letting go is really difficult.
Though it’s beautiful, this story is old news. Now that we are all grown up, she cannot possibly act out the identity she created for herself like she used to. In short, she has limited herself by believing she is nothing more than this identity. This story goes to show, too, that feeling stuck is very valid. But life itself is not what is stuck, it is our perception of who we are, which is completely stuck in the past.
How to get UN-stuck
Surrender to the future: If you really want to get unstuck, you are going to have to brave the future. By surrendering to the future, you bring humility into your life. Deep down you know that you can plan all you want but you will not know for sure how things will work. The truth is, we do not know when it all could be over. This ultimate fear of the unknown is one I believe we all have to overcome if we want to bring life back into our lives. When you accept and embrace the knowledge that you will never fully predict the unknown of the future, you become filled with a deep appreciation for life. How can you be stuck when we’re moving closer and closer to the unknown every moment? When you do this, you can be free of the past and be able to embrace the future.
Take a leap of faith: You cannot think your way out of a box. As we discussed earlier, thinking is what got you into this mess! You have to be willing to be spontaneous because life itself is spontaneous. The more you go with the natural flow of life, the better you will be supported. Life likes spontaneity, it supports the brave, and it showers with gifts the ones who can be brave enough to live life, not hide from it!
The famous “feel the fear and do it anyway” is suiting in these situations. Deep down in your gut, behind your fearful mind, there is a voice that’s telling you to do something. Listen to it—even if you have no idea what you’ll do next—take the first move and see what happens. After all, what do you have to lose? If you’re really feeling stuck then you probably have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Be spontaneous and act from the closest thing to you, this will reassure your surrender to the future. A leap of faith says, “I know where I want to go and am open to the many ways to get there.” Maybe your way hasn’t been working out. You put in a solid effort; acknowledge that effort and jump!
Let yourself be helped: You’ve surrendered and taken a leap of faith, now be ready to receive some help! People who are willing to jump into the unknown attract help. You have to be able to let go of your self-image totally to receive this. I’m guessing you’re pretty ambitious and accepting help is difficult for you. In my personal experience, this can be the last leg of some serious change. You have to be willing to be helped because that is why we are here!
Essentially, when life goes “wrong” we are detached and disconnected. We have somehow mentally made ourselves orphans of life! It seems some people’s goals are to become asexual so they do not have to face the intimacy that comes with dependency. Underneath all the layers of your self-image there is deep intimacy. This comes from the fact that we are dependent on each other for survival!
We physically need each other to reproduce. We are dependent on earth for food, we are dependent on each other for love and connection, and the more we shy away from this the worse things get. Open up! There is a difference between being dependent and being helpless. You help others by letting them help you. The only thing that could go wrong is you not paying it forward with love to someone else and expressing your gratitude to those who’ve helped you.
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