Getting unstuck

I haven’t felt very inspired to write here lately. It occurred to me today, though, that I might share with you some recent things I’ve been doing to pull myself out of the rut I’ve found myself in.

Each year, autumn brings on a predictable restlessness. I guess the end of summer and changes to the physical earth around me lead me to ponder my “next steps” in life. It’s a time when I usually write some personal and professional goals (and then rewrite them again and again in the next weeks until I have something attainable in mind). With the goal-setting and planning ahead comes the urge to be there already, to skip through the next few months and already be on the end of successful achievement of my goals. I spend a lot of time looking forward and a fair amount of looking back, both of which leave me in somewhat of a rut as I spin my wheels doing all this thinking and reflecting and not much doing.

Last night I found myself in that rut as I was journaling. I was writing about several worries that I had already rehashed to other friends, family members, co-workers, and in other journal entries. It finally dawned on me to write at the top of my journal page, “What I Can Do About This Now” (I think I read about it in a self-help book at some point). I jotted a quick list of attainable steps I could take (the last one being, “Say a prayer”) and closed my journal for the night. I took 3 of the 4 steps last night and told myself, “I’ve taken what steps I can to reduce my worry and that’s all I can do for now.” I felt better. But what helped even more was to close my eyes and imagine myself writing my worry on an index card and putting that card in a box and putting the box on a high shelf in a closet. I imagined myself closing the closet door and then took a few deep breaths and opened my eyes. Sure, that worry is still there in the box, but I did what I could about it and then stowed it away until I can do more about it later.

It occurs to me today that this tool could be useful for other situations. Are you worrying about what you ate or didn’t eat today or how much exercise you got or didn’t get? Are there things from your past that you’re replaying and ruminating on? Try making a “What I Can Do About This Now” list and then find a quiet place to close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply, and do the imagery I mentioned. It might just help you get unstuck from your rut and move forward through this season of change.

Peace, joy, and health.

–Megan

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