Thursday, February 21, 2013
Breaking through Stuckness
On the other hand, I might be trying to force a change because I don't want to glean the last bits of the lesson I've been working on, the part that might force me to change my comfortable but unconscious habits were I to push on. For instance, I've often thought I needed to move to a new geographic area—and have spent countless hours seeking ways to get it to happen—when what I really needed was to love the place I was already living and let it give more to me, and I to it. Easier to jump out of the fire than face some core truths that might emerge in stillness! In these situations, I would be totally blocked in my ability to move to another location. Nothing would line up! My soul wouldn't let me proceed in the direction I wanted because what I really needed was to move deeper, not forward. Here, getting unstuck was tied to looking for the good reason I was immobilized and reframing it from being stuck to being fully present.
When I'm stuck, it often helps to shift to a different part of my brain. I teach that intuition, which I consider the voice of the soul or heart, appears in different ways depending on what level of the brain we're using. At the level of the reptile brain, guidance and intuition appear as "truth and anxiety signals"—subtle expansion and contractions of the body. We are attracted or repulsed, warm or cool, bubbly or dull. In the midbrain, intuition takes on the flavors and colors of our five senses. We might listen for the "little voice," or feel for the right "vibrations," or look for the "flash" or vision of what to do. In the upper neocortex, intuition looks like abstract, conceptual information, patterns, verbal definitions, and meanings.
If you're stuck in your upper brain, struggling with meanings, fixed definitions, and concepts, try dropping down to your midbrain and pay attention to simply sensing the world. Go outside—feel the sun, moon, wind; listen to the subtle sounds in the environment, Or move around to music, make a collage of magazine pictures that please you, taste a few foods thoroughly without verbal commentary, walk past some shops or the different rooms in your house and smell what odors waft through the doors. Take your attention off problem-solving or worrying (which is praying for what you don't want), and become more like an animal: unaware of time. Use your reptile brain to take you on a walk without an agenda. Turn left when your body wants to turn left, for no reason. Stop to look closely at, or merge into, an interesting flower or leaf. Find similarities between yourself and a beautifully designed garden or building, or a tree. Seeing similarities increases your intuition, which is direct knowing from your soul. Dropping into an experiential reality recharges and awakens your body, which is a powerful source of true motivation.
If you can open these intuitive pathways from the lower parts of the brain back to the upper brain, you'll soon find thoughts arising from the fresh, clean core of yourself—honest insights that suddenly shift the situation that was causing you to feel stuck. These insights present themselves quite matter-of-factly, right in front of your nose, and often, as soon as you take the pressure off trying to solve the problem. "Oh, I'm not supposed to move yet! I think I'll plant a new vegetable garden here instead." "I'd rather get back into my watercolor painting for awhile, and not try to market my sales training courses." By shifting to the deeper, more primitive, animal-like parts of your brain, your soul can speak to you directly through your body. And interestingly, planting the garden or painting the watercolor, which seems totally unrelated to becoming more successful in your career, may be the vehicle that brings the next insight, which might be about integrating art into your sales training, or starting a learning center where you already live to bring more clients to you, instead of you going to them.