How do you move beyond stuck, exhaustion, a bad case of the Blahs, mammoth stress, and much else besides? That's something I've been asking myself over the past little while – and why I've been silent. It's been a challenging time, every which way: I've moved house and moved city, been through mammoth family conflict, and watched my mother die that slow death of extreme old age that you would not put a loved pet through. Has it knocked me for six? It's certainly knocked me. My energy levels are low, my temper frayed, my nerves shot, and my brain is mushy and recalcitrant. In fact, it's both amazing that it can dredge up a word that long, and symptomatic that it refuses to look further afield for another word. I face a daily temptation to crawl off and hide under the duvet until I feel more energetic – although, of course, there is no saying when that will be. And I have my mother's words echoing in my ears: “Why don't you just go, and lay?” And, finally, I see very exactly why that temptation is such a bad idea. When a lot of tough stuff happens – as it does to my clients, also – there is a massive temptation to do the wounded animal routine, and crawl off into a hiding place until healing takes place. With a bit of luck, in the fullness of time, that will happen – although there are no guarantees, and the fullness of time can be very... well FULL, indeed. Just today I was speaking with someone who was using exactly that strategy – and hating herself for being so STUCK. So,here's the thing: just ”LAYING” , to use my mother's expression – whether you're doing it physically, or emotionally – doesn't get you any further forward. Worse, it's a strategy that STOPS you taking charge of your own life. Major life crises of any kind already get in the way of you feeling in charge of your own life. It's not a good feeling. Allowing that feeling to overwhelm your reality makes things worse rather than better. So what to do instead? Deconstructing my mother's method, I suspect the answer goes rather like this:
  1. be accepting of yourself. YOU feel as you feel. You might not like it, but fighting it isn't going to get you much more than a bloodied psyche. You can berate and bully yourself as much as you like and, at the end of it, you'll only feel worse. Accepting what is is, actually, more honest and a lot kinder.
  2. Do something. So, you're not firing on all cylinders. Well, there you go! Do whatever you can. Refer back to the master plan – you do have one, don't you? - and tackle whatever you can manage on it, no matter how small that may be, day by day? Don't give yourself a hard time for what you can't do: praise yourself for what you can do. At least, you're feeding your motivation and your energy with some forward movement.
  3. Know that this, too, will pass, and you will come through it spiritually richer and wiser – provided you only take charge of what you can, as much as you can.
When you’re struggling with the stuckness generated by overwhelm – and we all do, at some time – the most important thing you can do is ditch the yardstick you habitually use.  Accept that you cannot fire on all cylinders, cut yourself some slack, do your best to be kind to yourself, and do what you little you can, when you can.  Often, the healing process goes quietly, imperceptibly, on when all you register is being at rock bottom. While that is happening, taking even tiny steps forward is enough to keep you connected to your inner strength. Rock bottom is only ever a passing phase.  Hold that thought:-)
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