I often hear people say they're stuck or express some variant of saying that. Writers or painters say they're blocked; parents say they have no solutions to their children's problems. People say they don't know how to break a habit they want to break or to manifest a dream they'd like to experience in physical existence.
One may feel stuck in routines that never vary, lives that never change, relationships that never grow.
Being stuck often feels physical. I often feel as I'm imprisoned in mud. I can lift my feet somewhat, but never get free. At other times I feel myself in concrete, a more severe state of being stuck. The concrete often seems to have lodged in my brain, preventing any useful thought.
Sometimes I feel emotionally stuck, unable to get out of a state of depression or despair (these being the most cement-like sensations). But am I really stuck?
It took me a while to figure out that there's no such thing as "stuck." The word implies that nothing's moving, that vibrations somehow cease to vibrate. The good news is that this is impossible, physically and metaphysically. We are all in motion, whether we are living, breathing creatures or so-called inanimate objects.
A crystal is as solid as matter gets. It doesn't walk or talk, but it vibrates at a physically measurable rate. Its molecules are in constant motion. So are yours.
On a larger scale, the earth itself is constantly changing. Leaves fall off trees, decompose, become part of the earth, and in the spring time help to give birth to new life.
Vibrations don't slow or stop. They may, however change their direction when they encounter resistance.
Imagine a river into which branches have fallen. Its flow is diverted by the resistance of the accumulated debris, and it moves around the blockage, losing some of the power of its original force, but never ceasing its motion.
When we say we're stuck, we're really saying, "I'm stuck, and it's someone's fault (not mine)." We're saying, "I don't want to admit that I got myself here. I don't want to be responsible for where I am. I especially don't want to admit that I keep on doing it."
But we do.
One night when I was unusually depressed, I stopped to listen to myself. I found that I was recreating my emotional mood with depressing statements to myself. Once I managed to stop being depressed that I was doing that, I found my mental processes fascinating as I heard myself saying, "This is a terrible way to feel," "What's wrong with me that I feel this way," "It'll never get better."
I saw that I was creating thoughts that kept on producing depression. This was a powerful realization, because it led to the further realization that I could change my mood by changing my thoughts.
I admit it isn't exactly like changing a light bulb. When we're depressed, especially, we don't immediately go from gloomy darkness to cheerful light. Thoughts, unlike light bulbs, sometimes need to be changed step by step, but we can't change them at all if we're not listening to them.
You may find that just stopping and listening, as I did, is enough. That, however, doesn't always work for me. When the concrete seems to be closing around my neck, I need to get more active in determining what I'm thinking. To do this, I write.
I prefer to write on the computer; in fact, I have a special file for capturing rampages of negativity. Sometimes the sheer novelty of picking up a pen inspires a flow of creative negativity, though.
I begin by reminding myself not to censor thoughts. This is a time to express the bad and the ugly without reservation. If you feel reservations, remind yourself that your thoughts do much more damage rattling around inside you than they do. Imagine them as having sharp edges that scratch and cut. They can't do that once you get them out of your head.
Many times, just the experience of reading some of the wild thoughts I type or write shifts my mood. When it doesn't, I look for a pattern, to see what's causing me to keep on reproducing negativity.
The list below provides a number of possibilities to define what's really happening when one feels stuck. When you have a period of being mired in concrete, try looking at it and asking yourself which of these statements may apply to you.
(This list was written by Erica Wang, a coach and is reprinted by her kind permission. To read more, visit her web site.)
If you decide one of these statements fits, tailor it to your particular situation. For example, with "I'm afraid," fear is a powerful emotion for stopping anyone in their tracks. Ask yourself what you fear. A lot of fear-related "stuckness" occurs when you simultaneously want to make a change and are afraid of making it. Maybe you're about to do something new, and you're afraid you won't be able to handle. Maybe an unpredictable situation frightens you. Maybe you're going to move and are afraid of leaving everyone you know.
Write about your fear. It never looks as frightening when it's set down in writing. Then, spend much more time writing about the benefits of the change(s) you want to make. "I love the idea of living there." "The new job will give me more opportunities to grow, to use my mind, to work independently." If the positive aspects of change outweigh the negative, you will soon feel as if you are in motion again. If they don't, your fear may be telling you that you're pushing against your intuitive sense of what's right.
This raises a general point. Sometimes your feeling of being stuck is your intuition saying "No" to an action not in your ultimate best interest. If you move beyond the stuck feeling to discover overwhelming negativity about a planned action, it's always worth rethinking.
All crystals vibrate, so in a sense, holding or meditating with any crystal can help you feel the movement of your own energy. Probably the best all-purpose crystal for this is clear quartz.
I recommend using a point, as this will have the most focused energy. If you have a double-terminated point, this is ideal.
First, hold the crystal in your receiving hand. (This is usually your non-dominant hand.) Close your eyes and focus on the crystal. See if you can notice any sensory change. It may be subtle: your hand feeling warmer or a slight tingling. Even if you don't feel anything, have faith that the crystal is vibrating.
Then, you may want to rotate it over your chakra areas. For more information on the locations and the functions of the chakras, see an article on the chakras. This web page also has information about stones appropriate to each chakra.
This can be a helpful and brief meditation to be practiced on a daily basis until you begin to feel movement.
Also, notice all bodily sensations: how it feels to breathe, to relax your muscles, to walk.
Crystals that have particularly high energy include rutilated quartz, topaz, tourmaline, and kunzite. To read articles on any of these, see our index of articles on crystals.
Again, the essence that most fully relates to your particular condition of imbalance will help the most. In terms of the list above, some appropriate essences (all Bach) would be:
Fear: Mimulus (known fear), Aspen (unknown fear)
Repeatedly trying the same thing: Chestnut Bud
You can learn more by going to Beyond the Rainbow's essence section.