Thursday, August 21, 2014

Staring stuckness in the face

WE’VE all seen those awful hypnotist acts on late-night TV shows. 

When they’re not making people bark like a dogs, they love to pull the old ‘make their feet stick to the ground’ trick.

I always find it the cruelest trick of all. It reminds me of those ‘stuck’ dreams. The ones where you have something urgent to do but can’t move your legs. Or you’re being pursued by something terrifying – like a dust mite the size of a horse, or an enormous eraser with arms and legs – and your feet feel glued to the spot.

They’re the dreams that seem to go on all night and leave you feeling exhausted when you wake.

Stuckness in life, as in dreams, is a block, a wall, inertia. It’s anxiety… and fear.

It’s scary, exhausting, confusing. Trust me, I know a thing or ten about stuckness.

Buddhist nun, Pema Chödrön, says we can face stuckness and release it; that it’s a skill we can develop.

It takes love and patience, she says. It takes allowing. Facing it. Not in a scary way, but just looking at it, feeling it, and letting it do its thing. Breathing through it, allowing it. 

Only resistance holds it here. The stuckness means well. It's just our resistance trying to protect us.

A counsellor recently gave me some strategies for shifting my mood - for trying to get unstuck. One was to think of an image that couldn't help but make me smile. I've always loved the photographs of the Latvian born portrait photographer, Philippe Halsman. 

It’s hard to feel stuck when your feet are off the ground. 

Click on the image below and enjoy…

The photos of Philippe Halsman