Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. ~Swedish Proverb
Well it looks like Monday has become our regular journalling day! I’m sure most of you already know I have a love affair with journal writing. Can’t even begin to wonder how many millions of words I’ve clocked up longhand over the years.
So today we’re going to use our journals to help us move past a place of stuckness in our lives. This is a useful process that I’ve resorted to often in my journalling life. The technique was created by me deciding to define a problem in order to better manage it or determine a realistic scale on which to freak out….
In all my years of journalling around stuckness, I’ve never ended up at the freaking out stage – in fact I’ve always found a way to keep calm, to carry on, and to dig myself out of the hole. I guess that’s why I keep using this technique.
Take out your journal and get comfortable.
You may be able to do this whole process in thirty minutes or less. Or it may take much longer.
If you’re stuck, it doesn’t matter. When you’re stuck there is no momentum.
When you begin to journal your stuckness it’s amazing how you begin to wiggle free from feeling trapped.
Defining the nature of your stuckness, and what it might mean for you
- What is the nature of the stuckness? Is it an action you need to take, a problem you need to solve or a decision that needs to be made? (Sometimes a stuckness may involve two or even all three of these elements – if that’s the case, write about each of these aspects, in the order you think they would need to be taken.) Write as much as you need to to really define this situation. If you don’t have all the answers create a list of things you need to research or investigate.
- Okay – here’s the scary bit. You need to ask yourself ‘What is the worst thing that can happen here?” Seriously. Go into as much detail as you can. Write until you’ve exhausted all of the possibilities. Really go to town and dump all your fears and worries onto the page. Once we’ve named them, we can much better deal with them. And it stops our minds racing off creating worst-case scenarios later on when we’d be better employed working towards solutions!
How do you feel about that?
- Journals are places to download our feelings. Who can thing clearly with a head full of guff? Write down all those swirling emotions inside you that come up in relation to this place of stuckness. It clears the air. It calms things down. It calms YOU down. It can be a great relief to finally acknowledge how you truly feel about the thing you’re stuck with/on/in. Sometimes, we begin to find solutions right here in our feelings. Maybe we’re scared to succeed. Maybe we’re frightened of responsibility. Maybe we feel we have to do the thing to please someone else. Maybe we said yes when we wanted to say no. Whatever it is, journalling our feelings is the beginning of unravelling this mess!
Okay – the hard part’s done. Once we’ve identified the issue and how we feel about it, we have begun to move from stuckness to clarity. Use any or all of these questions and prompts to keep moving you forward:
- From what you’ve written have you already reached a decision, conclusion or clarity that can get you out of stuckness? If so, write down your findings, and then chart a plan of action. Plans are great. They give us something solid to work from. If you like creating lists, then go for it!
Or, if you’re still not sure what to do next, explore these options on the page. Use the prompts to help you develop lists and strategies:
- Is there an expert, resource, course or friend who could help us by giving us the guidance, support and techniques/skills we need to get unstuck? (For example, if you’re writing a book and having problems with the plot you could do a workshop, read a how-to book, or join a writing group.)
- Can we hand the whole thing over to someone else to do or finish? ( Say you’ve been procrastinating over seven years of unfinished taxes – can you give everything to a book-keeper, or phone an accountant and ask their advice about what to do next? Can you pay your Mum or your best friend who loves paperwork, or the person from the advertisement in the paper?)
- Can we start at a different corner of the mess? Often we keep approaching an issue in the same way, and from the same angle. Obviously when we don’t get anywhere we end up stuck. Is there another way you could approach this? Brainstorm as many alternatives as you can, writing them all down. When you’ve generated your list then you can choose a new approach and get started. (For example, you need to get your house ready for sale, and it’s overwhelming you. Instead of starting on a big job, tidy out your kitchen drawers, go through the linen cupboard, build momentum on the easy things or the small things. Soon you’ll be powering through the problem areas. If you’re writing a book set in medieval England and you love the idea but it’s just not working can you make it sci-fi, or fantasy fiction?)
- Instead of choosing Option A or Option B can we choose Option F, Q or Z? How many times has it come down to what we think is an extremely limited choice? We paint ourselves into a corner thinking we need to choose between A and B when actually we could have chosen both, none, or something else. Brainstorm some crazy alternatives to your current stuckness. Somewhere in that list will be the seeds of what will grow into your solution. (For example, you are living in a share house and you don’t like one of the new housemates. You obsess about how to get them to leave. You agonise about how you will cope if they stay. Well, could YOU move out? Could you go house-sitting, get a job or go back to study that supplies accommodation, use this as the push to move interstate or overseas, move in with friends or your folks for a while so you can save money to get a place of your own? Could you sell up and go back-packing around Europe for a year, or buy a campervan and hit the road?)
- And the craziest part of all of this – could you choose to give up on the stuckness, bin the whole thing and move onto something else? Could you finally let this idea/ situation/issue die a good death so that you can start over on something new? (Maybe it’s time to put that half-finished manuscript in a bottom drawer and write something new. Or end the relationship and enjoying being single for a while. Go back to study and change your career direction rather than stay stuck in a dead-end job.)
When we write out our problems, our brain is encouraged to find a solution. We let the Universe know that we are done with being stuck and that our intention is to get moving again. And more than once, when I’ve begun this process, a solution has come out of nowhere. That’s the Law of Attraction in action! Think positive. Trust in good outcomes! ♥