Are you ever afraid of not having enough, not knowing enough, not BEING enough? I know I am. I felt this way when I sat down to draft a blog post today. There is fear that often times decides to join my thoughts. The fear is: “There is a limited amount of creativity available to me and one day in the not too distant future, I am going to reach the end and I’ll no longer be able to write, share yoga, or make new things.”
When I allow this fear to run amuck, it feels like I’ve poured every ounce of energy out every time I attempt to make something; whether it’s an art project, a yoga practice, or a writing session. It feels like being stuck in once place and not able to breathe freely or move fluidly.
Here’s the thing though, this thought is just that- a thought. It’s not a fact. I realize this when I feel good and nourish an abundance mindset. I realize there are endless resources for sparking creativity. There’s a bottomless pool of consciousness, in which we all can dip into. The same consciousness that Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, and Rumi all connected with. All of the people that have inspired me, you, and other creatives have visited this vast ocean of awareness.
Here’s a remedy for the feeling of “stuckness” that I’ve found helpful. Ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way? Where are the roots of these stagnance feelings located? Am I allowing fear to be the driver?” When I ask myself these questions, I find it telling to set a timer for 15 minutes and write down in a journal everything that comes into my brain. Put it on the page, friends!! You can tear out what you write down, burn it or throw it out if you write anything you don’t want to re-read. Sometimes it’s helpful to purge circulating thoughts before they gain too much momentum, and this is one way to accomplish the feat.
Many times after doing this exercise I come to the same understanding: stagnance is an illusion. I’ll never truly be standing still, stuck in the same spot. Even when I feel that way, it’s just because I need the experience of breaking out of a new shell. I’ve come to expect these feelings will visit. Now, I can greet them with a smile of recognition as I look forward to the next level of openness.
It’s much easier to rush through your day, than it is to walk slowly and step lightly. It’s much easier to brush off small, ordinary successes and focus instead on criticism and disappointments. It’s much easier to notice all the areas that you perceive yourself as failing, than it is to shine awareness onto your inner genius.
Maybe it’s our culture, maybe it’s our evolutionary wiring. There are many different combinations of reasons for these common tendencies that could be true. As humans seeking a fulfilling life experience, perhaps the important part is what we then do with this information. I have personally gone through many days feeling quite critical, tired, and in a hurry. While these feelings are among my very least favorite, I wasn’t always aware that these were the subconscious attributes I was allowing. Often I wouldn’t notice until I had gone an entire day or week-- or even month without feeling much more than a moment of bliss. I felt stuck.
After becoming aware, often times I would turn to my books, or sign up for another yoga teacher training module, or check in with some of my favorite podcasts. I was looking outside myself. I was seeking a complicated answer to such a simple question.
One day I tried something different. I asked myself the question, “How can I be light-hearted right now?”
It could be as simple as looking up from your screen for 5 breaths to look out the window. It could be going for a slow & mindful walk outside during your lunch break. It could be allowing yourself to laugh- even when it isn’t funny. It could be making a conscious effort to give yourself a break when you feel stuck or discouraged. There are endless ways be light.
So here’s what I’ve learned, and what I’ll keep learning. My days are better when I take my time. When I accidentally tread barefoot on a cactus (whatever my personal cactus may be in that particular moment), it’s a reminder to breathe, laugh, and know that there’s plenty of space, plenty of time, and plenty of ways in which I can still beautifully succeed.
Choices. Life is full of them. Some of us are blessed with more options & easier options than others. While I acknowledge this fact, this reflection are not about social constructs of choice- rather, they are about what we do and make with the choices we get.
Here’s an interesting phenomena regarding choice: when many humans are faced with multiple options of choices to make- many tend to regret whichever choice we made later, wondering if we should have gone another way. Where as when no choices are offered, there’s less space for regret.
As a person who has battled indecisiveness for most of my life, I have been exploring this topic and have found some things helpful. For instance, I make a bundle of choices a week at a time all in one sitting. I plan out my meals so that those aren’t choices. I do the same morning & evening routine everyday- so that I have replaced making choices with following through on established habits.
That being said- I am FAR from being perfect in this category. I still find that a nagging remorse will bubble in unexpectedly. Or I’ll noticed that I’ve been ruminating on the question of whether I’ve made the right decision. I do my best to drop it and move on, but that is much easier said than done.
Here’s one choice I’ve never regretted: the choice to be grateful & happy. I don’t say these things lightly; I am keenly aware that the shadows of melancholy and the stagnance of depression can come without cause or warning. But sometimes I’m on the brink of stepping softly towards acceptance or plunging off the cliff of hopelessness. It’s these times that I can choose to lean towards the practices that nourish me. I can prescribe myself 15 minutes of free flow journaling, or an hour of laying in a hammock outside. I can force myself to burst into dance, or ask a friend to meet me for a hike. I can choose to actively allow in the feeling of what’s happening right now, without shying away or numbing with junk media or junk food. I can choose to realize that I don’t have to have it all figured out in order to be gentle with myself. I can be confused, and tired, and grounded, and open-- all at the same time.