I see feeling “stuck” as a state we ALL enter into, from time to time, with some of us immersing ourselves in the depths of this state, for longer than others. I understand that there are physical realities that do place limits on our experience and what we are capable of in any given time. I am not saying limits do not exist. I am here to say that feeling “stuck”, no matter your limitations, is just fear and anxiety in response to not being who, how, where, what, and when you believe is ideal for you, and resisting this resulting suspension into the space of the unknown.
Please allow me to explain.
To believe that there is some other experience we must be having, we must be a certain way, and that we have to know everything, or at least the “right” things, at the “right” time, sets us up for feeling panicked, and thus believing we are “stuck”. We feel paralyzed by this fear and anxiety, and any step forward we feel as terrifying and impossible. We expect we should take the right action, know what we want, have discernment, and attempt to keep using the skills and tools we have, to force our way to a better state. However, the more we force it, as a resistance to the lack of clarity about our selves and what comes next, the more we are convinced we really are stuck.
I don’t know a single person who continuously lives in a state of willfulness, clarity, peace, and flow. And those who are impressively close to living a life with these desired states, have often spent a whole lot of time feeling “stuck”, exploring their very real limits, accepting them, dealing with the unknown, and grappling with having resistance to it the unknown.
I also know plenty of people who attempt to make it seem like their lives are joyous and flowing, and that they have never had to struggle with feeling stuck. They play a good act on social media, around having figured it all out, and thus being fulfilled all the time. This ability to keep up an image, for an extended period, usually comes with wealth and extreme privilege. I find that these people are often the ones leading a secret, double life, where they believe that they can only join others in the human experience of “stuckness”, when alone, or with their closest confidants. The ability to protect themselves from this experience of feeling “stuck” can only last so long, before something occurs which they couldn’t have predicted and have no control over. In response to these life circumstances, these people actually end up severely depressed, and feeling the most “stuck” of us all.
This intense crisis often hitting the lives of people who have pretended they have it all figured out, is often portrayed in American Culture as a midlife crisis, or even a quarter-life crisis, where a major loss occurs in this person’s life, and as a result, they don’t know what is up or down. In response to these existential experiences leaving people feeling out of control, they suddenly become severely depressed and suicidal, or act in extremely destructive ways. These people hit a point where they consciously or unconsciously realize they have bypassed the necessary developmental process of allowing oneself to feel stuck. In this bypassed developmental process of feeling stuck and in then surrendering to the unknown, they have NEVER actually discovered what they deeply, truly want or desire, and who they are, because they have instead spent so much time fulfilling their perfect image.
Let me explain further why I am saying these people have avoided a necessary developmental process, and thus do not deeply know themselves.
Whether in a life crisis, or in daily life, when the path we are walking “ends”, and is shrouded in darkness, we think we have done something wrong, or must do something in the external world to see the way. We then feel disoriented and/or stuck. Many of us with a great amount of resources and privilege, or who are already extremely intelligent, take this as an opportunity to try or strategize harder to keep moving forward, using everything we can to avoid stopping and surrendering to this darkness.
What we don’t realize is that a path ends and we enter darkness, specifically because it is time to look within. The movement inward is what scares most people, and instead of doing this, they would rather throw every bit of resources they have to avoid this darkness, and when this doesn’t work, identify with being “stuck” and feeling victimized by nothing “working”. We often would rather go on believing that our dreams will never come true, because it feels impossible to see the way forward, and figure it out or manipulate the world around us, to get there. We don’t want to acknowledge that the way we discover what is ahead, and how to live the most fulfilled life, IS ACTUALLY to stop and go within, surrender to the process of not knowing, and allow oneself to deal with standing still, doing nothing, and feeling everything in response to not knowing, to transform into the new path forward.
In essence, when we are “stuck” we are being called to go inward, to transform. We must discover who we are, and what makes us feel passionate and alive, at an even deeper level. We are being called to discover the excitement, gratitude, and wisdom in being within our own skin, and being exactly where we are at in life. From making contact with these deeper internal experiences, we build greater perspective, awareness, and skill in life, and the way forward is eventually built, step by step, through becoming a new person.
The path IS us.
We ARE the path forward.
There is no separation.
As we walk, our steps create the path, and we live the path. As we live the path, we experience sharing who and how we are with the world, in ways that are a deeper expression of wisdom and truth, and we live our own version of success.
Success becomes newly defined as living the highest and greatest expression of our unique wisdom, self, passion and clarity, and what we do for money springs from this. Make no mistake, I am not just saying follow your bliss and do what you love, as a part of being successful. I am saying become aligned with who you deeply are, in all the pain, darkness, and “not knowing”, you may enter at times, and you with transform into someone who will live in a state of courage, flow, happiness, and success, rather than fear and stuckness, even when you have no idea what comes next. Any money or objectively defined success you encounter from this newly transformed self, will truly be felt and experienced as fulfilling to you, and will thus feel like success inside, as well.
So to all of you out there that have focused on getting rich, yet are miserable on the hamster wheel, or with all your money, I want to let you know you don’t have to feel stuck in the cycle of work, managing money, and supporting the lifestyle you have created for yourself. You don’t have to keep avoiding stuckness by making more and more money, as a way to feel secure in the face of the unknowns in life. If you surrender and loosen your grip, and you let the path forward actually be unknown, rather than throwing money or hard work at it, you may find on the other side, you perhaps won’t need to work as hard, have as much money, or consume as much, to chase fulfillment.
You will BE fulfillment.