(Mark Rothko at Seattle Museum)
When things start idling in some way, I know that I’m stuck.
I didn’t used to get to that conclusion quickly. Instead, I’d blame other people and external cirucumstances that were “out of my control” in my quest to find a reason why certain parts of my life were just not happening at all. The stuckness would persist… it would get way worse… and then it would erupt in a huge crisis that would force me to change my life.
Have you been there?
Are you stuck right now?
Are you really frustrated and feeling like you have just no idea what to do next?
While it’s not always a walk in the park, easy-breezy or effortless to shake free of stagnant patterns, it’s something you can start to do, today, right now.
It’s not all about turning your life inside out… but it is about shaking yourself free. Only you can do it for you… but you can get tons of help and tools to support you as you go.
First of all, its quite easy to tell people to “take a big leap”, “jump into the deep end”, etc, etc.
Well, as a 10 year old I jumped into the deep end of my Nana’s neighbor’s pool and I almost drowned simply from the vast uncertainty of how the mechanics worked that would take me back to the surface. I remember, waterlogged and shaking so much that my legs could barely hold me up, that I knew I was skipping a few steps before I brazenly jumped in.
Maybe it’s worth learning how to swim and building habits of stretching the boundaries that are consistent, rather than abrupt and shocking?
At the moment, I am challenging my own physical stuck-ness. Yep, in all the writing and the computer-ing I’ve been doing, my body got left in the cold. Taking only about 3000 steps a day is not a good thing and, thank’s to my iPhone, a very real part of what happens to me when I get busy.
When I realized that I was- ahem, sedentary- I joined the gym. The impetus: get a trainer, pay for a full year upfront, put aside two hours a day to make this a priority. I started imagining my weight lifting routine, montages of myself cardio kickboxing… And then…
What I actually did… taking the best advice supported by both science and years of experience: I started with a month long membership, I committed to 45 minutes a day on one cardio activity or another and a little stretching… And that was it.
As a result: every day I crave the gym time. It isn’t overwhelming. I’m not going from stuck to drowning. It’s energizing… freeing… and I see glimmers of a real fitness future, trainers and all… off in the future. For now, I need to stay consistent and keep pushing myself just a little more every week or so.
Are you really stuck somewhere? Job, relationship, health, mood, habits?
Can you think of a single step that you can take now to start freeing yourself… even if the end result is way off in the distance from this first step?
Small steps are very helpful.
It’s not comfortable to be uncomfortable. And… at a certain point it is not productive to be uncomfortable. In a very fantastic New York Times article about the mechanics of stepping out of one’s comfort zones, Alina Tugend writes:
“We need a place of productive discomfort,” said Daniel H. Pink, author of “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” (Riverhead, 2009). “If you’re too comfortable, you’re not productive. And if you’re too uncomfortable, you’re not productive. Like Goldilocks, we can’t be too hot or too cold.”
This is why I am not a fan of the advice of “overnight radical transformation” as the go-to method of making changes. Like, when people to go from just meeting someone to marrying them in a flash, or quitting a job abruptly to set up a business with no business even in mind. Sometimes these big jumps work, and that’s awesome. Sometimes they’re needed, and you feel it. Most of the time, though, they are so unsettling that they run counter to productivity.
If you’ve taken too big a leap and skipped a few steps, you can always dial things back and fill in the blanks that are causing you more distress than growth. You can always find another job or scale back your workout rigor or whatever it takes to know that you are still moving forward… just moving without feeling the ground sinking under your feet!
You really can re-write your life story to make really positive changes and challenge the status quo. There’s a real way to do this. Step-by-step. Business Insider reports on the incredibly powerful and well-documented work of James Pennebaker, using writing to change lives:
“Advances in Psychiatric Treatment gives an illustrative account of his first study from back in 1986:
… college students wrote for 15 minutes on 4 consecutive days about ‘the most traumatic or upsetting experiences’ of their entire lives, while controls wrote about superficial topics (such as their room or their shoes). Participants who wrote about their deepest thoughts and feelings reported significant benefits in both objectively assessed and self-reported physical health 4 months later, with less frequent visits to the health centre and a trend towards fewer days out of role owing to illness.
Incredible, right? Pennebaker’s work set the precedent for researching expressive writing. In following studies, participants would write about a difficult event in their lives for 15-20 minute sessions over the course of about four days. While the subjects didn’t exactly find the process fun, they did find it meaningful.”
And, of course, if you want to challenge the idea of being stuck… start moving things. One of the simplest tips in feng shui is to move 27 objects around a room to create a change. Thats quite simplistic but very doable in a pinch.
What about physically moving?
What about moving around the furniture in a room?
Moving things around in your closet?
The first small steps are the hardest… but once you can get yourself over the hurdle of total stagnation, momentum builds quickly. Don’t be put off by obstacles: let them inspire you. Enlist friends, a support group, or a life coach, or a teacher or a whole village of people to help you stay on track if you need help. We all need help. Ask for it… accept it… try it…
And keep going. You are closer to the other side of being stuck- true peace and bliss- than you realize.
P.S.: If you want to really immerse yourself in the light of joy so much more, my favorite Feng Shui and cutting-edge energy-shifting tools that I use almost every day are HERE for you in the Joy Immersion: 30 Day Negativity Detox!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!
You spoke to my soul, again. Thank you!