4 Steps To Get Unstuck And Feel Wildly Alive - And How To Know Whether Courageous Action or Deep Relaxation is Needed
A few weeks ago I headed west to celebrate my brothers marriage. It was a magical weekend, immersed in the mountains of Montana with family and friends all alive with love and joy. I felt nourished on a level that I haven’t in many, many years. I felt a sense of belonging and rootedness again in the company of my mom and brothers in the Montana Sunshine. And I felt my Dad alive and present in the mountain breeze, in the laughter, and in the loving words and big tears of gratitude shared in his memory.
Since returning back to the South, I’ve felt like I’m desperately trying to find my way back home in the darkness. At first I threw myself into work, catching up on everything that I had fallen behind on while I was away. After too many late nights, I came down with the flu spending the last 7 days lying horizontal. Each day I was sick with the flu, I would wake with the best of intentions, I’d get on my yoga mat, I’d identify what needed to be done, and then… nausea and immense fatigue would get the best of me. I feel my physical energy returning, but this mental haze hangs heavy. From this state of fatigue and haziness, I kept identifying with a story in my head about being "stuck.” But the truth was, I wasn’t actually stuck, I just wasn’t allowing myself to take the pause, surrender, and rest. And from this place moving into action was challenging because my body still needed the rest I wasn’t allowing for.
Lots of times we language our experience in terms of stuckness, but what I’ve come to see is that many times there is more of a dance of surrender and agency. Stuckness seems to result when we are resisting both the times of surrender and the times of action. And it’s the resistance that creates so much pain, struggle and suffering. It’s the judgment and the dissonance between how we believe things should be and how they actually are.
Several years ago I climbed Mt. Rainier via the Kautz Glacier Route. A storm moved in the day we were to summit so we spent a few extra nights at high camp. To entertain ourselves and stay warm we spent the day flinging ourselves down the mountain side, practicing self-arrest. The exercise was thrilling, playful, and the perfect balance of total and complete surrender with personal power and agency. Flying down the side of the mountain, there would come a moment when you were called to self-arrest. In an instant I’d connect to strength, flip myself over, and dig in my crampons and ice ax into the icy snow. Now sometimes the periods of surrender look a lot more like one giant pause than a slip and slide downhill, but you get my drift.
So when you catch yourself in this experience of stuck-ness, here are some steps that I’ve found helpful:
1) Identify if the resistance is to surrender or action. If you feel exhausted, depleted, and worn down, or you feel like you’ve been approaching life with a whole lotta push and force, then it is likely time for some surrender and rest. If you feel stuck, heavy, or in an extended period of complacency, then it’s probably time to connect to personal power and agency.
2) If it’s time to surrender, take some time to rest and relax. These practices help us to reorient to our hearts, slow down, and provide ourselves some deep soul sustenance:
- Pour yourself a bath and add Epsom salts and relaxing essential oils like rose and lavender
- Take a slow walk in nature or by water
- Put on some relaxing music
- Snuggle up in a blanket and read a good book
- Light some candles and mindfully prepare a comforting, delicious, and healthy meal. Savor it slowly.
- Go to a restorative yoga class or practice yoga nidra
- Head to your favorite coffee shop to read a good book or to write over some herbal tea.
- Make a date with yourself at your favorite cozy bookstore and immerse yourself in your favorite poetry or fiction.
- Spend some time by a beach or a river and let the water wash away residual tension and contraction around the experience of surrendering. Be sure to bring a blanket and a thermos of hot tea if it’s chilly out.
- Spend some time in meditation or prayer
3) If it’s time to move yourself into action, start to increase your energetic vibration first. This way action comes from a place of aliveness rather than push and force. These are practices that will help you reconnect with the vital life force pulsing through you while shaking off that funk:
- Turn on some upbeat, positive music and shake your booty
- Create a meal with high vibration living foods (Fresh and local vegetables and fruits)
- Go for a hike or a playful bike ride outdoors in nature and sunshine
- Call or meet up with a friend for tea and a lively chat
- Clean your home and banish the heavy/stagnant energy of clutter
- Sip Green juice in the sunshine
4) Release judgment around what it looks like. Sometimes surrendering looks more like watching your favorite TV show with a healthy rendition of pizza and chocolate cake. Sometimes action looks like gentle baby steps forward rather than courageous leaps and bounds. Can you let it be what it is, and trust that it’s exactly what you need rather than fighting against it with thoughts of what it should look like instead?
I hope you find these helpful. I’d love to hear what works for you when you notice a feeling of stuck-ness in your own life. So much love to you and yours and please let me know if I can be of service to you as you cultivate a more conscious and loving relationship with food, body, and self care.