I am STUCK.
About three weeks ago I had perhaps the most productive time of my entire life. Outlines were written. Schedules were made. Business plans were created. You all know! That was the week I launched my new blog! Ambition, motivation, and action were all converging in this perfectly channeled unending stream of energy! It felt magnificent! For the first time in my life I wasn’t scared of anything. I felt like I could DO anything.
And then, boom. One morning I woke up to find that the energy was gone. Evaporated. Vanished.
It's not that I didn't WANT to keep doing things, or that I didn't know what to do next, or that I didn't try. I just wasn't feeling the magic anymore. I hated everything I wrote. Even the smallest task felt like trying to move a friggin' mountain.
Not yet fazed, I set about my usual tricks and tools for reigniting a momentarily dimmed spark. I spent some time meditating. I did my breathing practices. I exercised. I walked the dog. I went to spend time with friends. I did everything and anything I could think of doing. Afterward, I sat down to write, certain that the words would flow and the motivation would return and everything would once again feel limitless and free.
It has been maddening. I thought I had myself all neatly mapped out, and all that was left to do was follow the yellow brick road and eventually I'd be able to get back to where I had been before. Even sitting here writing this now, to be perfectly honest, I'm still in the middle of process. You guys are getting pure, unfiltered Annie thoughts. Lucky you!
Hey I have an idea! Let's explore together!
Where to begin… Well, I suppose "stuck" isn't really a feeling, so how do l feel? I feel frustrated and a bit scared. I'm frustrated because I really want to be feeling good and in the flow like I was before, and I'm scared that I'm not going to get back there.
Bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy if you think about it that way.
So I'm frustrated and afraid because I'm stuck, but I'm going to keep being stuck if I keep being frustrated and afraid. Good. That's what you want. I guess one option would be to just get okay with the fact that I'm stuck. Though I did already try to just get okay with it and that didn't work because I didn't buy it. So I'm stuck on being stuck. Awesome.
STUCKSTUCKSTUCKSTUCKSTUCK. No, no. Let's not descend completely into madness.
Wait. I’m having a thought.
Stuck may feel like stuck, but it really isn't stuck. I mean to say, I'm not really stuck in one place. The motion may not be in the direction I want, but I am moving. And look, I am writing! That counts for something. I'm also learning more about myself, because there will always be more. The work there is never finished. Usually (when I'm not hampered down by the load of expectation and pressure that I pile on all the time) I love it when new issues pop up for me to work on. I don't know if you all can tell (lol) but I really love looking at my feelings and behavior and asking questions about it. I wonder if I can use that perspective...
Maybe I can try the "okay with being stuck" thing again.
YAY I'M STUCK!! What a cool opportunity to learn!!!!!!!!!!
Did you believe me?
Yeah, me neither.
I'm still a bit cranky about feeling stuck. Maybe because I’m not clear on what I can learn from being stuck?
Hm. Okay let’s go with this.
If I decide to focus on stuck itself, rather than continuing to harp on what being stuck is keeping me from doing, what do I notice then? Has being stuck changed anything? Taught me anything? What is different here? Well...I don't think I’ve ever written anything like this blog post before. Usually I have some idea of what I’m going to write before I write it, especially if it’s a post for my blog. I like having something to say right out of the gate. This post is decidedly different. Instead of already knowing, I'm just going on the journey and seeing what happens. I'm not sure if it's going to work out, but it is something new and different.
Maybe I was actually stuck before I felt stuck, and the getting all riled about about stuck was just my way of amping up the stimulus so I would eventually learn from it and make a change to get myself out of the familiar little rut of my own behavior.
Hey. I think that’s kind of cool! Way to go, stuck!
And, if you think about it, way to go self! I had been judging myself pretty harshly for doing this to myself. Now that I see the benefits that have come from being stuck, I can now let myself off the hook a bit. In the end I didn’t wind up screwing myself, but instead I wound up challenging myself to push the boundaries of my own creativity. I'm saying myself a lot. Ew.
Good lord, it is exhausting though. I feel much like I did during this one class I took my sophomore year of college. Everyone in the class was a year older than I was, and definitely smarter. After every single class my brain felt like a old, dirty, sponge. That said, I tried harder in that class than I had at anything else in my life, and by the end of the semester I actually felt like my brain capacity had expanded. It was a super weird feeling. Everything else that had previously felt intellectually challenging to me felt a bit easier after that experience.
Maybe the same goes for stuck. Maybe next time I’ll get myself unstuck a bit faster. Maybe next time it will feel easier. I’ve never thought about it that way before.
I feel so much better now! Tired, but better. Now that I’ve had this opportunity to really explore the feeling of stuck, I realize that I wasn’t really stuck after all. I was pushing myself to grow.
Stuck still doesn’t feel very fun…but then again…growth rarely does.