I am stuck?
I am stuck. I can’t write. I cannot move on. I am stuck where I am. Sometimes I get writer’s block. I run out of inspiration.
(I ask you to read all of this before doing the little exercise. The exercise is simple and is taken from a mixture of life coaching and self-help skills.)
Do you ever get that feeling?
Sometimes it seems impossible to move forward.
Sometimes we don’t know what to do next.
It can drive us crazy with frustration; make us angry and sometimes even a little bit frightened.
We feel we want to push harder and force something to happen. Maybe things were going well before and suddenly, bang, there is something blocking us or some problem that seems insurmountable. You don’t need me to tell you that all problems have a solution; you need me to tell you how to solve the problem.
There are ways around it and I will tell you about the mountain later, and how to get over it. It is a metaphor and sometimes metaphors help by allowing the listener to interpret things themselves.
Firstly, I would like to gently remind you of something I am sure you know already; feeling frustrated, angry and frightened is not the most helpful mind-set to enable climbing your mountain. Here is a technique to help you get into a more useful frame of mind. Please have patience and trust me. What I am asking you to do is simple, you may find it strange. It will not harm or offend you.
There are 3 parts to this exercise
To prepare: Get yourself comfortable and remove distractions, TV, radio, music, kids (safely please.) This will take a bit of concentration and anything that distracts you is not helpful.
- Imagine you are an alien traveller. You are looking at the real you and asking the real you to relax your muscles, take a deep breath and breathe out slowly. Then breathe normally. Follow your breathing as it slows down a little.
- You are the alien you, drifting up and looking down on the human you, relaxing. You move up in the air looking down on the human you, sitting relaxed and focussing. You, the alien, are moving away and up until you are hovering around the moon. You see the human you and the problem and all the solutions possible, and all the people who can help and even perhaps the best way forward. You flow down to your human you and whisper the advice you have discovered, into the human you’s ear. You chuckle and merge back with the human you.
- Your alien and you are now one and the same. Hearing the chuckle, you breathe in the advice and make your choices. Now it is time to take the first step and put into action the advice your alien has given you.
The strange thing is that we ask for help and advice from others and often forget to ask ourselves. The self that is wise confident is capable of so much. It is quite natural that when we want something badly enough and things go wrong, we feel frustrated etc. It releases hormones into our bloodstream that help certain feelings along. This is how our body and mind work together. The problem is that we are no longer protecting ourselves against wild animals and that is what those feelings are for, I.e. survival.
We need the rational, reasoning and planning part of our brain to kick in. We need to analyse. It means we need to mentally and emotionally step back, stay cool, calm and focussed to be able to “see” the solutions.
The part of the brain we use is the outer cortex.
This Little Exercise
This should help you to step back and see yourself, almost as another person, you can advise and guide. Often, we have good answers inside ourselves but the emotions cloud our judgment and prevent us from seeing the obvious.
Sometimes we do not really want to take the correct action. It might be difficult or perhaps it feels too strange to us.
If we have struggled through our lives then changing the way we deal with things can be quite a challenge.
It Did Not Work, What shall I do?
If it did not work, do it again. I hope you understand the principle now, so adapt it to your own needs. The more you practice it, the more effective it will become. If you don’t like heights, for example, simply move away sideways across the country. See yourself on the horizon, through a telescope. The distance is important. Remember the 2nd you is an alien and can hear and see everything, even from another country. There is nothing wrong with having feelings. We would not be human if we didn’t. It is just that, sometimes they are so strong that it may be difficult to use the rational part of our brain. That rational part has links to other memories and situations and can see solutions which the emotions make it difficult for us to grasp.
Imagine your problem is like a mountain in front of you that you see as the way forward.
The mountain is high and the road leads right up and over it, but it is a difficult climb.
The mountaintop is shrouded in clouds and appears snow-capped.
You are standing at a crossroads with no signpost. There is a clear road to the left and another to the right. Both appear to go round the mountain and take you a long way off your course.
In front is the massive mountain where the road seems to naturally go. Around the crossroads are trees and bushes and no apparent path or road.
What do you do? Which Road do You Take?
Let’s look at the possibilities.
- Go straight on and attempt to climb the mountain.
- Go left or right and hope to reach your destination, although it will take much longer and perhaps the roads do not go round the mountain.
This is what most people find as a dilemma.
There are 2 further possibilities though:
- Stay where you are and perhaps get some advice or help from another traveller.
- Turn around and go back.
There is another way:
Ignore the above options. Decide which is the right direction for you go in, regardless of the roads that appear to offer the only solutions. The right direction is what leads you towards your goal, your real aim in life.
In this metaphor, that might mean going in a diagonal direction through the trees and looking for a path or road that goes in the right direction.
Looking for that path towards your real goal will take you in the right direction and you will find the path, perhaps, at first, hidden from you.
Your Goal is important
This is easier than you may think. It does mean you need a goal, an aim. As humans we need to strive, to push towards something. An absence of that goal means we end up at crossroads like this one and have no means to decide which is the way forward.
This is not mystical or magical. Ask any successful person about when they decided on their goals and the people who started early in life, knowing what they wanted, are usually the most successful.
This does not mean it is too late, it is never too late.
Set your goals.
Break them down into reasonable steps.
Aim yourself at them.
Decisions become simpler and take less energy.
Life becomes more meaningful.
You become happier.
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