What do YOU do when you get stuck?
Confession – I didn’t start off here when I sat down to write. I began with a completely different idea, spent way too long staring blankly at the screen rearranging a few sparse sentences before giving up in disgust and walking away to do some push ups and some gardening.
This is a familiar place and I’m wondering whether others find themselves here in this swampy terrain that is thick and glutinous with self-defeating questions. Questions that wrap themselves around our vulnerable internal places and pull us down the slippery funnel to “What’s the point anyway?” “Why do I bother with this?”
Stuckness lies in wait and worms its way in through a variety of means; stuck in uncertainty, stuck for ideas, stuck for direction, stuck in doubt, stuck in fear, stuck at home … add your own experience!
It reminds me of resistance; I’m sure they’re related as they have a similar appearance and share the characteristic of fear, yet something feels different about the presence of ‘stuck’. Resistance’s personality is critical and harsh, leaving the mark of ‘not good enough’. Being stuck carries an air of hopelessness and defeat. Resistance reminds me of a barrier; being stuck resembles quicksand.
What to do?
As I hold that question, I am reminded of what I do know. Be curious. Make room. And move your body. In the words of Bessel van der Kolk; “If you sit on your butt all day you will increase the sense of helplessness in your body.” Movement creates agency and helps our body process.
Let the stuckness come along for the ride; remember it’s not about distracting or getting rid of, it’s about discovery and understanding. Get creative – what does it look like, sound like? What’s its narrative? Ask it questions; what does it want or need, what is it afraid of? Play with it; journal your questions and the responses that come to you. Use colour, create images.
Did the push ups and gardening help? I still haven’t written my original article, yet this one was born and through its labour I sensed a shift, my feet once more on slightly more solid ground. Tank refilling.
That’s enough for now.
By Kerrie Bannister