It’s December – and we made it! I can hear the huge intake of breath prior to entering 2021 start already!
Considering how erratic 2020 has been, I am so thrilled, over the moon grateful and in awe of still having a human body!
While reflecting on 2020, I noticed so many places I got stuck, you got stuck – the world got stuck. As a member of the over-60 club, I could have gotten stuck with the notion that I was “vulnerable”, possibly of no use to society any longer. I frequently felt stuck in a box that government or society had dreamed up and not of my own creation.
We did literally get stuck living in Mexico from March to July because of border closings.
I watched while friends were stuck in countries they did not choose to be in. Families were displaced, split up and distanced – stuck meant hardships for them this year.
I lost some weight – then got stuck on a plateau. There is all manner of ways to be stuck.
Where does stuck come from?
I discovered that this sense of being stuck is in direct proportion to the amount of avoidance and disconnection I am practicing. Whether it be between me and myself, me and my family or friends, or me and the community I seek to serve, or even myself and the environment I find myself in.
This year was a year to endure being stuck and denied the possibility to do my favorite thing – travel (although local travels were beautiful and a great relief).
My mind, or as I prefer to call it, my invisible suitcase, got messy. As an inveterate traveler when I set off on a journey, everything is arranged in good order. Whether the journey is a month or a yearlong, as time goes on items get used, worn and shuffled around then life gets naturally messy. The same happens in our mental suitcase if we don’t stay focused and engaged.
How to Love the Stuck
2020 has been a year of many transitions and being “stretched to the limit, so how do we recover from stuckness and re-enter the land of flow? Flow is a different state of being; but we can only stay a little while, and we have to prepare to get there.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi the positive psychologist, together with Jeanne Nakamura popularized the state of flow.
“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times….the best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”
Csikszentmihalyi has a terrific definition, but what does that look like? What are your signposts that you are in flow? What would that look like, sound like, feel like or taste like? Baby steps or simple strategies to get us onto the horse or the diving board are usually all it takes.
What’s your state of flow and how do you know you are in it?
When I feel flow, I get the sense that I LOVE my life, that no matter what’s going on, I can access a state of well-being and joy even in the midst of a messy life. It’s a feeling like riding a horse down a beach, or surfing the waves, or kayaking through the rapids – it’s something I don’t have control over but that demands my fullest attention.
If nothing else, 2020 has served to remind me that it’s the daily small tweaks that help create the biggest leaps.
The following ten may sound pedantic, but what’s really pedantic is our resistance to actually doing them or experimenting to find out if they work – or not.
The following are ten tips to change our state of being in times when we feel planted, petrified or just plain stuck.
Top Ten Tips
- Change your tune (literally sing, call out, yell, yodel) use your voice make music or listen to music. This rapidly changes our state.
- Move – literally move, walk, bike, jog, yoga, floor exercises – no matter how small, jog your balcony, run around the coffee table – just move.
- Hydrate – traveling, moving and even just living at elevation has taught me that super-hydration provides energy and helps our brains perform better.
- Body-scan – quieten yourself way down, sing lullabies, meditate – whatever it take to quieten yourself then scan your body to see if you can actually pinpoint a place you are stuck. Give that place some attention.
- Journal – do some sort of writing, a paragraph, a quick description of your current state, ask yourself questions about your stuck
- Disrupt something – do something that surprises yourself and those around you. Change your appearance, move the furniture, paint a wall red…
- Change your frequency – yes, this may sound woo woo, but the results can be wow wow! Up your level of awareness. Pay attention to your thoughts. Everything you think gets translated into an experience or circumstance. Change your thinking change your life – as they say!
- Declutter – yes tidying up, organizing, simplifying soothes our state of being. I recommend at least 30 minutes every single day, simplifying to help create flow; repetition counts.
- Change something in your environment – we are programmed by our environment constantly – work outside, use your home or office differently.
- Create a life carrot! – life loves carrots more than sticks, what’s your carrot for implementing a couple of these tips.
The best thing about all of these is they can be done at home, in the office or on the road, no matter where you find yourself.
Let’s hold ourselves accountable about moving from stuck to flow. It sounds easy, it’s not – but it is really simple especially when you have a great support system or team to remind you that it’s the easy, the simple and the creative solutions that seem to drive the biggest results.
Call a friend, have a chat, articulate any stuck thoughts, sometimes it takes spending time with the stuck and sticky thoughts and behaviors before we vomit up the sticking point.
The simple act of taking a tiny action, no matter how illogical can help disrupt the current state and move you into flow.
Flow feels slightly addictive, flow feels good, flow is a state of inspiration mixed with a cocktail of intuition and imagination.
Let yourself go to let yourself flow!