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WD40 for the soul....

What do you do when you feel stuck and can't see a solution?

 Right now I feel pretty stuck.  I also feel quite annoyed, which initially was not helpful at all as I was wasting energy looking around for someone to blame for my predicament.  This is an entirely normal, human reaction, but doesn’t actually make anything any better.  However my annoyance is also a useful energy to drive me forward to really look at options and possibilities.  

Take step back

One part of my stuckness was to see the issue as having only two solutions, neither of which appealed to me. I needed to get some perspective, some distance from the problem, to see a bigger picture in which the number of possibilities might increase.  

Imagine abundance.  

If I restrict my universe of possibilities to just two options I am seriously short-changing myself. If I notice the abundance of the world around me, the unimaginable number of blades of grass, the number of grains of sand, the birds of the air, the stars in the universe, the sheer myriad of ways in which our world is created, this creates a very different mindset.

Do something else.  

I used to live in London, and was self employed, and sometimes had loads of work, and sometimes absolutely nothing at all.  Getting through those days and weeks when there was no work on the horizon was a challenge. I would go to the café to reflect, record what I had been doing to create new work, enjoy a coffee and a pastel de nata (I was lucky enough to live opposite a Portuguese café).  I hoped that maybe, if nothing else turned up, the journal might become a book about how to survive and thrive in self employment. But then something would turn up and I would be busy again and the book forgotten.

Other times I could reflect as much as I liked, and know that I had really done all I could, and at that point it was really time to let go, and just do something else.  I remember heading off to Hyde Park on a sunny day to sit under a tree with a favourite novel: and to my delight as soon as I got back the phone was ringing with a new and exciting challenge.

Talk to other people.  

Whether you are stuck because of work, because of a relationship, because you have lost direction and really don't know where you are, it’s worth finding a likeminded person or people to talk to.  That might be friends, or it might be a professional coach or counsellor.  Or you might find new people through networking meetings, support group or other social gatherings. Its important to find people who might have some understanding of what it is like to feel stuck, and who are prepared to listen before jumping in with a solution.

At one point in London I set up a women’s networking group for self employed consultants like myself, and we met regularly to share a meal in each others’ homes, and talk about the issues that concerned us.  It was a very rich experience, and resulted in three of us forming a partnership that went on to become highly successful and as busy as we wished to be.

Write it out

When I sat down to write this, all I knew was that I felt stuck and I had no idea what to write. But staying with that feeling of stuckness  - as we do in therapy,  the words have come, lots of words, and also positive memories reminding me of how I resolved similar issues in the past.  This is how a feeling of being stuck moves into the next creative stage. 

There is always room for hope

If you are reading this and feeling stuck yourself, try writing and see what emerges.  Don't fight the feeling: accept that right now you feel stuck.  And that there are an infinite number of ways that you will find a way through this impasse, even if none of them seem visible right at this current moment.  

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