We often get into a rut where progress, despite our efforts, seems like a distant dream. It feels like as if the whole universe is working against our intention. That is despairing time, a sort of frustration that gets under our skin. The feeling of being stuck can be unnerving. However it is also a fertile opportunity to stay present and allow the life to unfold the way it wants to unfold.
Letting be whatever it is for few moments or minutes. Just being there, like a warrior standing to face the winds, dust and confusion of being stuck.
Here is that pausing may be called for, using the power of awareness, before throwing in the towel. Just watching, waiting but fully present to the spectrum of discomfort and sense of loss. It is at this point of despair that we should take one hard look at our efforts. Ask some questions. Am I doing something wrong? Is it time to change the strategy? Am I stonewalling my own progress? Is it that intentions and efforts do not seem to match? Or simply that am I doing too much effort? Am I trying to bulldoze through life and all its offerings the way my mind instructs me to do?
Being stuck, whether in outside life or in our interior life where nothing seems to be happening is pervasive. That feeling comes in various shapes and forms. Sometime it appears in relationships, careers and efforts. Other times, it lay simmering in our heart or mind with no particular reason. It could appear when sitting in meditation or it could come knocking on your door when training to be a marathoner or when you are experiencing unprecedented success.
It is there as if nothing is happening…but then everything is happening. May be not the way we want to happen, but something is happening, like a tree standing there in one place, changing colors, growing older and wiser.
Juan Ramon Jimenez captures this beautifully in ‘Oceans’*:
I have a feeling that my boat
Has stuck, down there in the depths,
Against a great thing.
Happens ! Nothing…silence…Waves
–Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
And we are standing now, quietly, in a new life?
If you come across that feeling of stuckness, see if you can take the courage to stand in for that feeling and let go the urge, even for a moment, to have some different feeling. See if you can open your heart to that uneasiness and wake up to the calling of your life to pause, reflect and let it live through you.
Just being there, noticing, paying attention, not reacting.
*Selected poems of Lorca and Jimenez, Translated by Robert Bly, Beacon Press.