Being Stuck Sucks But What If It’s Part Of The Process


It’s supposed to flow merrily along.  And we’re supposed to flow with it.  Gracefully leaping from one project to the next, learning and growing all along the way.  Getting smarter, fitter, faster, being productive, climbing ladders, succeeding, achieving and always doing, doing, doing!

OK.  My fingers got tired just typing that bunch of drivel.

But isn’t that how most of us think life should be, most of the time?  If you’re sitting there smugly, convinced you’re way more balanced than that, think about the last time you felt stuck.

It’s not pretty, is it?  I’m just coming out of a period of stuckness that lasted about a year and a half.  It was uncomfortable, itchy, frustrating.  And I have no idea why it started or why it seems to be ending.  It just did. 

Sometimes the stuckness starts with a cataclysm – a job loss, the death of a loved one, an injury.  And sometimes the wind just seems to slowly leave your sails and there you are, right where you don’t want to be.  Unable to get to where you do want to be.  Stuck.

And if you’re in that place, then, oh honey, you have my sympathy.  I know how bad it feels and nothing I can say will make it feel better.  But here’s one tiny thought that might help just a little bit.  Maybe being stuck isn’t wrong.  Maybe being stuck is part of the natural ebb and flow of life.

Cells that are in constant growth mode are called cancer.  Plants that do the same are called noxious weeds.  Economies that aim for constant expansion eventually collapse. 

A piece of music played without any rests between the notes will very quickly have the audience heading for the exits. 

You can’t just inhale. 

I’ve been doing a bit of breath work in my Reiki training and there’s the inhale, the holding, the exhale and then more holding.  In fact, half of breathing involves neither inhaling nor exhaling.  You can try it for yourself if you like, just please make sure you’re sitting safely, because inhaling and exhaling with no holding in between will make you really dizzy really quickly.

So what if life is like our breath?  What if there needs to be holding between all that exciting inhaling and exhaling?  What if the holding is actually essential? We’ve gotten so used to our breathing patterns that we need Reiki Masters and Yoga Instructors to point out that there’s a lot more to breath  than motion. 

But life lasts longer than a breath.   So the stillness is more noticeable.  But what if it’s not wrong?  What if it’s life’s way of saying, “Rest up, there’s more to come”?

If you’re stuck in the stuck, know that you’re not alone.  And it will not last forever.  You have your next breath to assure you of that.

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13 Responses to Being Stuck Sucks But What If It’s Part Of The Process

  1. Kim says:

    “Cells that are in constant growth mode are called cancer. Plants that do the same are called noxious weeds. Economies that aim for constant expansion eventually collapse.” love it.

    I’m resting up for what’s heading my way too 🙂

    Thank you for this post, I needed it.

  2. Janet says:

    This is brilliant! Thank you!

  3. Macy says:

    I’ve found one trick when stuck is not to think about it, walk away, do something else. Just like breathing, your body is going to do a lot of work without you consciously controlling it. Answers will come when your brain has had time to work things through in its own way.

  4. Barb says:

    Absolutely, Macy! And trying to force it just seems to make the stuck last longer, doesn’t it?

  5. sandy says:

    oh, if only I could pick and choose when the ‘stuck’ would come and how long it would stay…. I think part of this thing called ‘life’ is giving myself over to the process… Thanks Barb, for a truly provocative post today – you’ve given me lots of things to think about… while I wait for the next chapter to unfold… what’s with all the ellipses… hahaha

  6. marie says:

    Beautiful post that gave me true solace on the journey through purgatory where I presently find myself.

    Also, I had an experience during my reiki training while being given healing, that will probably stay with me for the rest of my days. This other, exceptionally gentle, apprentice put his hands downwards, from my shoulders towards my collar bones, and I got the sensation that now it would be totally all right to just stop breathing and rest in this calm space of grace. I took another breath of course, but I wanted to have stayed in that pause forever. Thank you for reminding me of this.

    • Patti Winker says:

      Incredible, Marie. I’ve been in that place during times in my life; where to stay ‘paused’ forever would not be a bad thing.

      Also, since I suffer at times with asthma, the imagery or the analogy of ‘breathing’ being a struggle, and the holding, or pause, bringing peace is a very real sensation for me sometimes. The next time I feel that blessed relief during the pause, I’ll remember to welcome it. Thanks for your insight.

  7. Patti Winker says:

    “You can’t just inhale.”
    How is it that you always know just what to say? 😀

    I’ve been stuck for about 7 months – not exercising, not motivated, not creative… just plain stuck. My much loved cat died, and when that happened I got thrown down a dark pit and have been trying to climb out ever since.

    Now, I am an optimist by nature and love life, but for some reason I just haven’t felt positive, bright, or up for a long, long time. Stuck in that pit.

    Thank you for sharing this post. I’m feeling maybe I can just go ahead and quit trying to force my ‘breath’ – in and out, in and out, in and out. Maybe I can just hold it, and give myself a break.

    Again, thank you for sharing – your insight is much appreciated.

  8. Karen says:

    Thanks again for an inspiring post.

    I so know that feeling of being stuck and I love how you used breath as an analogy. It just makes so much sense. There are times for many of us when we need a time out to just breathe. When I honour my whole being that way I always feel the benefit and become so much more balanced and therefore much happier.

    By the way I love your photos as well!

    • Barb McMahon says:

      Thanks so much Karen!

      I never used to be able to think about my breathing without getting really, really tense. But eventually I’ve learned to relax into it, to see it as a metaphor for the rest of my life.

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