To live bigger, we need to get unstuck. And it must be our mission to be the biggest us we can be. I don’t mean fame and fortune; I mean big in joy and meaning. To me, that’s living a bigger life: Putting in effort to make something happen instead of settling.
We all get stuck mentally sometimes, especially when we are afraid, in pain, or are suffering.
But how do you know if you’re stuck?
You might be stuck if you:
- Haven’t changed your routines, beliefs, hair style, etc., in years. In fact, you may feel afraid to change. Most people say they fear change.
- Aren’t curious about the world around you.
- Don’t know how to move forward — since the kids left, since the divorce, since you retired.
- Turn down invitations because Tuesday is “laundry night.”
If you think you may be stuck, I’m guessing you want something different.
But how do you get it?
I’m a big fan of mental rituals and activities that lead me to a deeper reflection of my situation and to insights and ideas on how to move forward.
Here’s what I do to get unstuck:
I start by clearing some time on my schedule for quiet time alone.
I live alone, so that part is easy for me. If you don’t, ask your housemates to honor your private time.
Next, I collect some items for my getting unstuck ritual.
Gather some stones or crystals. Turn on your favorite relaxing music. Light a favorite candle. Create a peaceful, loving atmosphere. I’m partial to vanilla candles with a few tracks from Silent Path by Robert Coggins.
Then I very thoughtfully prepare a cup of tea.
I grab my favorite journal so I can capture any sudden moments of realization.
If you don’t have a journal — or you have too many of them — just grab something, even the back of an envelope.
Now we’re ready to begin! Are you with me?
Next, I sit.
I’ve learned a lot by sitting quietly and listening to my inner voice. Yes, sometimes that inner voice is a harsh judge. But more and more I notice my surroundings. I use my senses, and I’m learning to follow my thoughts instead of resisting them. I encourage you to keep sitting and listening; with time and practice, you’ll begin to hear your inner voice guiding and encouraging you to become mentally unstuck.
I want information, so I set an intention on one small piece of my desire.
Maybe you want gut-guidance on how or if you can pursue an old, dormant passion. Focus on that.
Now, write it down.
I remind myself to relax, letting go of any tension or pressure I feel to “get it right.”
There is no right or wrong. Remember, it’s simply an activity to connect you to that higher, quieter part of you.
To get started, I focus on something around me. I will immerse myself in a piece of music, completely hearing each note of the saxophone or guitar.
I experience that moment when nothing else exists. Then, as my mind begins to wander, I reconnect with my intention.
Now, sit with it.
Ask to know more.
Imagine what it would feel like to have this new clarity in your life. Then sit with that. Ask to know more. Listen, refocusing on your intention or desired outcome when your mind starts to wander (and it will).
These are the times when I get the best answers.
Once you have sparked an idea or two for how to break the stuck cycle, think about a first step to take to begin the journey.
For example, say your reflection ritual reveals a pattern of self-judgement you want to eliminate. What tiny steps could you begin that would replace self-judgement with more self-love?
- Give yourself a gift! Go on an Artist Date. According to Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, an artist date is a once-weekly solo expedition to do something that enchants or interests you.
- Break the habit! Ask a close and trusted friend to gently point out if you are self-critical, so you’re aware in that moment. Often, we don’t see or hear how we’re behaving.
- Be grateful! Start a gratitude journal where every day you list one or two things you like or appreciate about yourself. One could be, “Today I liked how I handled the talk with my brother.”
In a recent post, storyteller Jay Shetty talked about how the “grass is greener where you water it.” That’s what you want to do: Water the insights you gained through your ritual.
If we want to become unstuck mentally, we must focus on the outcome we desire instead of fretting over the practical reasons it won’t work. If it’s true what we focus on expands, then focus on what you want more of.
This is an empowering journey of self-discovery and an act of self-love. I hope you’ll put on your metaphorical hiking boots and begin. You’ll love the results.