Are you on the brink of a welcome change in your life, but something or other just keeps getting in your way? Are you feeling penned in and frustrated? When we feel ‘stuck’; when we absolutely know it is time for change, but somehow it doesn’t occur, inner work is required.
This sensation of being ‘stuck’ is purposeful. It is a divine intervention occurring in our lives. When we are at the gateway to a new way of being in the world, and yet find we are impeded from walking through it either by circumstances or something indefinable within, this is Life speaking to us, addressing us personally. It is Life demanding that we look at the ideas about ourselves that hold us back. Feelings of being ‘stuck’ are uncomfortable but they provoke us into challenging these thoughts in order to open the door to change.
I learned long ago that our current circumstances reflect the ideas that we live by in that moment. To move fully into a different space in our lives requires that we change the ideas through which we view life. Here is an example from my own life.
About 18 months ago, I found myself very ‘stuck’ in my life. Change was just around the corner, but I couldn’t seem to navigate that critical turn. There were opportunities waiting for me, but grasping them seemed a difficult task. I came to realize that I had some serious inner work to do if I was going to move into a different space in which I would feel more fulfilled in my life. I was harbouring some very dark thoughts that had outstayed their welcome. They lingered in the recesses of my mind, ready to pounce every time I had a happy thought. Because I hadn’t paid special attention to them, they had begun to own me. It was only when I found myself wanting to move into a better place in my life, that I witnessed their power to hold me back.
The suicidal tendencies that were there after Zak’s death had subsided considerably, yet I still clung to thoughts of I will not be in the world for long, and there is no purpose in my being alive and I do not see a future for myself. Why would I not be around, and why couldn’t I see a future for myself? Because I was clinging to the associated thoughts, I can’t live without my son and it would be disloyal to live without my son. This cluster of thoughts was a roadblock to my movement forward.
With these ideas governing me, opportunities that were presented to me would be met with happiness and elation for a day or so, and I’d feel a sense of hope welling up inside of me. Then, my bubble would burst; it was as if someone had pressed a ‘destruct’ button, and I’d find myself heading towards low-grade depression and thoughts of death. It was a cycle that kept repeating itself.
When I really investigated this phenomenon and worked through a process of self-enquiry, I realized how none of the dark thoughts that I had were actually true. The evidence showed that four years later, there I was, having survived the worst period of loss. I did survive without Zak, even though I was convinced I wouldn’t. I found myself healthy and strong and very much alive whether I liked it or not. I was happy most days, even if it was impossible to admit at the time. I do have a purpose and I live it every day. I write, I counsel, I heal. Zak’s death brought me such deep insights into life and such immense spiritual growth, that by committing suicide and refusing to share what I had learned would have been the biggest disloyalty to him considering the pain that we all had to pass through to get to this place. We lost one cherished person. He lost the three of us.
It is not easy to identify the thoughts that keep us from walking through the gateway of change. The conscious mind tells us we are ready to move on and that we have all the tools at the ready. Yet we find ourselves unable to move, whatever we try to do. Life sometimes helps us to confront our ideas by creating circumstances in which we come right up against them. At other times, we are urged to confront these ideas through certain thought processes.
The following line of self-enquiry works for me; I often write things down because for some reason, when I write, the truth always emerges. Sometimes I sit and feel out an answer. Sometimes whole new questions form as I go:
Who will I be in my new circumstance?
To be this person, what is it that I need to believe about myself or others?
How will people view me?
What is it that I fear in their opinion of me?
How different will this new self be to the person I am now?
What do I fear about the new life? (I allow myself to feel the fear first, and let the words form themselves).
What is the pay-off for me remaining ‘stuck’?
What challenges do I get to avoid if I remain where I am?
What are my circumstances now?
Who are the people in my life?
If I pretend I am looking in a mirror when I look at them and when I look at my surroundings, what will I see in myself?
Now that I see the rogue thoughts, where is the evidence that they are simply not true? (This is of critical importance).
Most often this inquiry works for me, and the results are instantaneous. My circumstances change dramatically. Sometimes, I learn a lot about myself, but the shift does not take place immediately. This just means that I still have work to do, and that Life has yet to present new opportunities for me to be able to see myself. In those times, I have to be patient. Life is a river that flows of its own accord and it cannot be pushed.
I hope this process helps you if you are inclined to try it. At worst, you can learn an incredible amount about yourself and the mechanisms of your mind. At best, you can experience the miracle of transformation through a flash of insight. Good luck!