Do you ever feel stuck? Does one thing after another in life pile on top of another? I can relate. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re getting stuck until we’re immobilized. For Creative, Super-Sensitive or Gifted people, AKA CASIGY’s, this can look like over-committing time, having too much to do with all of it seeming equally important, or being interested in so many things that we have trouble choosing among them . This can take many forms and can easily lead to getting paralyzed and being stuck. The question then becomes, how do we get unstuck when we’re stuck?
Working with my hands often leads me to solutions for Life Problems. A recent Creative & Contemplative Handwork sewing project, Unraveling Chaos did just that for me. This project required some satin stitching. Satin stitching is a zigzag stitch with a very short distance between stitches. It’s supposed to be so smooth that it looks like satin, hence the name. I had been having trouble with some of these stitches getting stuck and piling up on top of each other. It was quite a mess!
When something like this happens, my first inclination is to take the stitches out and start over. But since this art piece is also a metaphor for life, I restrained myself. In life I can’t stop, back up and start over, so in this project, I limited my options to those available in life on this planet. That left me with limited choices: give up on the project or find a way to get unstuck and resume normal stitching. Metaphor for life? Yes, indeed. My commitment to reality also meant that I had to face my frustration, anger, guilt, fear and yes, even shame about its many imperfections.
Like many CASIGY’s, I want what I do to be perfect. No, I NEED it to be perfect. If what I do isn’t perfect, then I’m not perfect, and I’m supposed to be flawless. Oh, I know that’s not logical, but what is? I know in my frontal lobes that no one is perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’m supposed to be perfect. It also doesn’t change the fact that I am aware of many ways that others aren’t perfect either. This leads to others thinking that what I’ve done is perfect (and telling me so) when I know it’s far from it.
When I’m stuck, getting unstuck first requires me to notice when the stitches are piling on top of each other. When I don’t recognize that stitches are piling up, they pile higher, deeper and wider. The quicker I know that I’m getting stuck, the quicker I can get unstuck. This requires me to overcome perfectionism and see things the way they are rather than the way I want them to be or think they ought to be.
There’s a statue of three monkeys in my office: “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.” Maybe it was as prominent in your childhood as it was in mine. Maybe not. It can be useful in teaching children to stay safe and in preventing gossip and negativity. On the other hand, it can hold us in Fantasy-Land. When this happens, we also need another set of monkeys that allows us to connect with reality. This new set of monkeys brings this message:
We all know the “3 Little Monkeys,”
See No Evil,
Hear No Evil, &
Speak No Evil.
I’m Pleased to Introduce the
Nine Magical Monkeys:
- See what you see.
- Hear what you hear.
- Feel what you feel.
- Know what you know.
- Think your own thoughts.
- Say what you need to say.
- Do what you need to do.
- Be where you are.
- Be who you (really) are.
One of the first times I shared this online, my friend Jo Freitag of Gifted Resources generously sent me this wonderful drawing she made to go along with what I had written. If you would like a copy for yourself, you can click here to get a FREE printable file of Monkey Magic.
When these new Magical Monkeys set the tone for our lives, we can identify when things are off kilter much more quickly than we do when we’re out of touch with reality. These Nine Magical Monkeys give us permission to open up to all of life. Welcoming them is the first step in getting unstuck.
On a practical level, how can we embrace these nine magical monkeys? It starts with tuning in to what is going on inside of us and around us. There’s a skill to this, just as there is with anything new. With music, we practice scales and chords. With physical strength, we can do push-ups and sit-ups or lift weights. Here, we ask ourselves, “What’s happening?” and “How am I feeling?” Feelings include both body sensations and emotions. Just as with musical skill and physical development, it helps to practice daily.
It takes less than ten minutes a day to develop this habit of openness and awareness. It’s done best when we use a consistent time of day. Many CASIGY’s find that writing down their discoveries reinforces the habit, involves both the kinesthetic and visual brains, and paves the way to return to it later, review what’s recorded and identify trends or patterns. To make this easier, I’ve developed a “Daily Tune-in Tool” that many CASIGY’s have found helpful in developing the awareness habit. Click here to get your FREE printable file.
Once we’re aware that we’re stuck, what can we do to get unstuck?
Whether we’re stuck when we’re sewing stitches, driving a car or stuck in a rut in our lives, our first inclination is often to push through faster and harder. This only gets us stuck deeper and harder. Instead, what it takes to get unstuck is to slow down. Slowing down is counter-intuitive and yet very productive. When we slow down, we can carefully move through the situation, rather than staying stuck in it. When I’m stitching, slowing down allows me to help the fabric move through the machine instead of staying in the same spot, (which is what got me stuck in the first place). When I’m driving a car, slowing down first keeps me from getting even more stuck than I already was, and then helps the tires to begin to grip the surface of the road, mud or ice or allows us to discover what it is that we need to change to give the tires surface that they can grip so we can get unstuck. and when that’s not possible, it helps us know when we need to get help from others in getting unstuck.
What are your thoughts about getting unstuck? Feel free to leave your comments below.