Have you ever been stuck in life? There are different ways to be stuck like having too much to do and not knowing where to start, analysis-paralysis, or maybe just feeling blah to the whole everyday thing and needing to find some passion or inspiration. Whatever it is I bet we all know a time it has happened to us.
For me, the ‘Stuck Era’ came while I was working a good job, married to a wonderful husband with a healthy, intelligent son. We could pay the bills, which was more than I was used to growing up. Survival mode ended. I had made it. Now what? I didn’t know how to thrive, just survive.
I wasn’t sure what I was to do next. Until the universe handed me the opportunity through illness. It wasn’t exactly what I had been hoping for and I visited the hospital often with so much pain I really thought my insides were dying. Ulcerative Colitis is what they told me I had and there was no getting rid of it.
I sank deep into stuck. So stuck it became depression. Everyday for three years I felt a burn in my belly that prevented me from living life and repeatedly returned me to the ER. I went to over 8 doctors of different specialties. I tried over a dozen different medications, each left me worse than the one before. I cried leaving the doctor offices after waiting for months for an appointment just to be told there wasn’t a whole lot they could do. One doctor even handed me a prescription, “We don’t know why this works, but it does sometimes. Try it.”
What? I felt like a guinea pig and the worse part, I felt crazy. The doctors kept telling me I should be feeling better. Yet, the burning never went away for long if it did take a break. This was the worse stuck – helpless, exhausted, burning, and depressed.
I could not live like this anymore. I could not miss my son’s childhood, give up on my goals or have my husband pity me anymore. I had to find out how to get better and these doctors were not going to be able to help.
It was a bit drastic but I stopped going to doctors unless I had an ER visit. I started studying leaky gut, colitis, candida and Ulcerative Colitis. I went from drinking a six pack of Pepsi and eating junk all day to drinking water and eating whole foods. My body changed. I had longer and longer periods of peace from the fire in my belly but it still visited.
I was more aware of my body now. I was aware that what I ate affected my condition and when that was corrected, I could clearly feel what I hadn’t before. Stress was killing my body. Without the overflowing sugar and caffeine, I could feel the tenseness in my shoulders from working more than 60 hours a week. I was drained, unfulfilled and literally killing myself. And I was resentful. Truth is, I wasn’t working that hard because I was passionate, I did it because I believed that I was only worthy if I could do things better and faster than anyone else. In other words, I was a perfectionist.
Letting go of beliefs you pocketed in childhood is tough stuff.
I went to a coach (ok, several) and found a tribe of women to support me to figure out what I really needed. I found creative women who encouraged me to care for my spirit with art and fun which greatly reduced my stress. I focused on making time for me to decompress, cook more, garden more, and all those things I would have deemed ‘unproductive’ before.
The result is that my pain is managed with nutrition, movement and self-care. There are side-effects to look for: feeling better, finding a healthy weight, enjoying life more, appreciating loved ones more, having more people in my tribe and desiring to help others to find the same.
The point is everyone gets stuck from time to time.
Your stuck may or may not be disease. It may be a bad marriage or goals you just can’t get to. Whatever it is, there are 5 keys to moving past stuck:
Commit to treating your physical body well.
How many times a day do you hear someone say “I don’t have time for that” or “I wish I had time for that”, especially when it comes around to doing something for themselves? Perhaps you say it yourself, I know I have. We do have time if it is a priority. If you knew that extra self-care time today would prevent certain illness tomorrow, it would become a priority. And it is just that important. Believe me, I learned this one the hard way. Love your body now. Prevention is better than recovery.
Creativity is a way that the mind learns, connects, processes and finds freedom. Everyone can find something creative to do whether that is playing or writing music, painting, drawing, dancing, building, crafting, scrap-booking, sewing or knitting. You name it. It is something you are doing that grounds us and brings us back to be creators in our world. We need something that allows us to be and do while connecting to our own imagination and child-like spirit.
See opportunity everywhere and take some risks.
Often we become so focused on what we want our lives to be, we tune out opportunities that may not be wrapped how we expected. Accept the stuck as a gift – it’s telling you it’s time to do something different. Take risks you are passionate about. Risks are either going to be successes or another learning opportunity. Either way, risks create excitement – so you will at least get a little rush out of it too.
Stay humble and connected, you can learn from anyone.
Other people often offer the biggest opportunities. We can get so focused on goals that we forget to connect with others in meaningful ways. We learn about life and ourselves through our relationships with others. Being connected is also one of our deepest needs as a species. Remember to honor it.
Find your fire and move on it.
If you keep doing the above four, finding your fire is inevitable. Here’s how. Imagine how you want to feel in life when you wake up each day. Now think of the last time you felt that way. What were you doing then? What could you be doing now to make you feel how you want to feel? Start there and then follow your intuition. Once you know, start moving on it. The path and the goal do not need to be clear at the beginning, it will become clearer. Just enjoy the feeling and do today what you can to move it forward.
The truth is, we all get stuck at some point. It’s about getting ourselves back out of the mud and moving on. Learning to live with disease, loss, change, and the unexpected is the human condition. How we move forward turning the unexpected to opportunity is our human spirit. Spirit will always overcome the condition if you nurture it.