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Are you stuck in the muck?

Are you stuck in the muck?

A lot of people have been mentioning to me that they feel “blah” or “stuck in the muck” because certain areas of their life seem to be on hold.  It seems they can’t make a much-needed decision on something, or get the motivation to move on – even though they feel deep within that they have to at some point.  Some say it’s their job that needs changing, or they are in a relationship that is going nowhere, yet can’t bring themselves to leave it, or they “know” they need to do something better for their health, but just keep eating the same old things, stuck in the same old bad eating habits. There are dozens of other scenarios as to where one can be stuck– you may even have one of your own.

I completely understand this especially since astrologically, we are in a time like no other.  There are cycles happening that are prompting us to look at everything we have repressed in the past in order to realize more than ever the areas of our life that we need to change. We often resist doing so because of our fear of “making the wrong choice” or of “failure” or because the old way is just more comfortable – even if we know at some level that this change would be for the better.

Try this exercise

I’d like to try an exercise with you.  Do not read any further until pick a number between one and a hundred.  Do you have the number in your head? Good.  Was that easy?  It probably was.  Even though you had a hundred options, you probably did not hesitate because you figured that one number was as good as the other, so by choosing quickly you could move on and read the rest of this blog post. If you hesitated over making a choice, you’d have to stop reading, and if you followed my instructions, the rest of this post would remain unread.

So, did you choose the right number? Well, interestingly, no matter what number you chose, you did make the right choice, because now you are free to finish this post.  The value was not in picking your letter and number, but in what comes after.

Making decisions in our life

In the same way, in our lives, there is a value to making a decision (even a small one) in the area you feel stuck – just so you have options after to keep moving.  I can already hear you thinking, “…picking a random number is of small significance compared to where I am stuck in my life as the decisions I need to make are potentially life-changing.”

Yes, they are, and the idea is that making a small step in the area you feel stuck will change the options available to you. New value, new ideas and new possibilities will have the opportunity to show up. You don’t have to take “the” step but just “a” step.

So, for example, if you are feeling you need a job change but just can’t figure out what it is or you are waiting for inspiration to come along – just do “something” to move yourself forward.  Get your resume together, look into classes to learn a new skill, brainstorm starting a new business on the side, look online for new opportunities and submit your resume – just do something that you know you can handle.

A true story

I have a client who was a in a top management position for a large firm that got let go when they downsized.  The headhunters couldn’t find anything suitable for him and for months he felt stuck.  I told him to just “do something” – like work at Jack in the Box. I said it as a sort of funny example but he took it to heart and literally went to work at a fast food restaurant just because he was tired of sitting around (and he always wanted to know what it felt like to have a job with “no responsibility.”)

Well, wouldn’t you know it, within a few weeks, a former business associate went to buy lunch there and was shocked – he asked what in the world my client was doing there – he shared his story and one thing led to another, and now he is heading another big company’s east coast operations.  His idea to do something changed the options for him.  Had he done “nothing” something would have eventually come along, but he changed his options when he made a decision to do something.

“I just can’t do anything!”

What if the magnitude of your choice is so great and your fear so overwhelming, that you feel you need to pause and reflect some more about your life before doing or saying anything to anyone?  If this is the case, then acknowledge it as that – that you are pausing and reflecting – not that you are “stuck.”  You don’t have to do anything.  Stop judging being “stuck” as “wrong.”  Where you are is exactly fine.

So if you feel deep within your soul that a choice has to be made, or “something has to change” in your life – acknowledge that to be true for you and be gentle with yourself as to the timing and your actions.  Start with a small step if you can, just to keep the energy moving and if not – then change the self-talk.

If you stay doing “nothing,” then accept that you are on pause. Don’t beat yourself up with “shoulds.”  Just enjoy this limbo period that you are in, as when life needs to change, either it will change and you will change with it, or one day you will make up your mind to change.  Nothing lasts forever and neither will your limbo.

Your best options are:

  1.  Do something small – anything – to move you towards where you need to go
  2.  Do nothing – and acknowledge that you are “pausing” until you are ready.
  3.  Move your body – take a walk, a yoga class, work out, do some stretching to help move some energy.

Either way, when it is time for change, the play button will get pushed either by you or outside circumstances, and you will be on your way.  Just remember, you are here in this world to learn, explore, feel, experience, and grow.  Empower yourself by honoring the freedom of choice that you have – either to take action physically, or take action mentally by not pressuring yourself to “hurry up and make a decision.” We are in a time where we can’t look to the past for insight as to our best choices for the future. We just have to trust in each moment.  So, since life has enough challenges as it is – don’t make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be.

PS.  Oh, and for those of you who feel you are in a fog and don’t know what to do.  That’s okay! Just keep doing what you are doing and take things day by day. When things clear up, and you know your direction, you can make changes then.  Until then, enjoy the fog. (Seriously, what else are you going to do? Remember, there are those who pay money to obtain illegal substances so that they can get into a fog and escape life!)

Alice Inoue

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness University. She is an expert life guide, and author of five nationally award-winning books on life wisdom, self-growth and happiness. She has two columns, one in MidWeek titled “A Mindful Moment,” and an award-winning column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser called “Go Ask Alice” that offers pertinent life guidance. Through Happiness U, she helps both companies and individuals develop positive mindsets in order to live more inspired in both their professional and private lives.

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