We all have experienced it. Some of you may be experiencing it right now. Others of you have been experiencing it for so long that you not only think it is normal, but that it’s a destiny that you’re doomed to forever. What is this I am referring to? It is the sense of feeling stuck in your life.
I’m not talking about literally being stuck in a physical sense, though, were that to happen you might experience similar emotional and mental reactions. What I’m really talking about is being stuck in a figurative sense – you know, waking up every day to the feeling that your life just wasn’t meant to be this way, that you don’t remember making the conscious choices that got you here and you feel paralyzed in making a step towards change. This can often feel like your feet are permanently cemented in your current situation and the only way to continue to survive is to find a way to adjust to the discomfort.
I’m happy to say that short of being sentenced to solitary confinement for a life term, no one is fated to living in a place – mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical – that they don’t want to be. Life is actually on your side; though it may be hard to recognize the openings to create change, you are constantly presented with repeated opportunities that allow a shift to occur.
Every day that you wake up is a chance to begin anew. Each breath you take offers a choice point in taking an intentional step towards living your authentic life. I’m not naïve; I know that to merely wake up one day and with seamless continuity to simply let go of all your stories, your past or current pain, your fears or anxieties, your traumas, expectations, let downs, judgments, financial situation, familial ties or notions of how it was all supposed to be is not realistic.
But I’m not naïve about the possibility of making a small shift in consciousness to start living your life in the driver seat, rather than passively on autopilot. Cultivating a mindfulness practice can offer the tangible tools to live the optimal life that you are meant to live, in the here and now. This does not mean that change isn’t hard; it’s very hard. However, it is possible. Every breath and each new day brings with it the knowledge that getting unstuck is a possibility.
Mindfulness is the practice of living your life with greater awareness, attention and intention and is rooted in deep breathing techniques that not only natural calm and heal you, but also continuously draw you back into the present moment. The mindful moment comes when you are aware that you are once again hooked in those unskillful, circular, habitual patterns that perpetuate your misery or frustration. The practice is to then take a deep breath, notice that you’re stuck, and use your breath to gently guide you out of your head and into your heart and body in a compassionate way. It is there that you will tap into your natural wisdom and can learn to trust the messages your body is telling you about where you’re supposed to be. There is no magic in mindfulness. It simply starts with awareness; if you aren’t aware of where you are, then you can’t be aware of where you want to go, let alone how to get on the path that will guide you towards more personal freedom.
Be gentle with yourself. Don’t expect for a major shift to occur over night; allow yourself the compassion to take it one moment at a time. Recognize that each breath offers you the opportunity to pay attention, be present with your intentions and the ability to connect with your heart. Breath by breath, day by day, mindful moment by mindful moment, this practice will gently begin to loosen your feet from the cement that is holding you back and will guide you in walking forward on your authentic path.