Why Getting Stuck is a Good Thing (and how to get unstuck)

Why Getting Stuck is a Good Thing (and how to get unstuck)

Feeling stuck in life is irritating, frustrating and exhausting. So when I say getting stuck is a good thing, you might want to lob a shoe at me.

I get it. I really do. But it only feels like that because we’ve forgotten how consciousness actually grows.

Getting stuck really is a Good Thing

Kim Falconer, my brilliant astro-teacher, has a fabulous metaphor that I loved so much, I’m sharing it here (thanks Kim!).

getting stuckThe journey of life is one of growth and exploration and expansion, of claiming our own authentic Self and expressing that out in the world. And we assume that this growth process is a nice smooth arc, because that’s what we’re used to seeing all around us.

Whether it’s baby humans or kittens, rabbits and puppies, mammals have this lovely smooth arc of growth and development. 

Mammals don’t get stuck when they grow.

They just keep expanding until they get to adulthood.

Yes, we might see some growth spurts but even then it’s still a progression, day by day, an incremental change which keeps on happening. Kids and mice and goats and sheep don’t get to a certain point and stop for a long time, then start up again. There is no stuck when it comes to mammalian growth.  Just ask the parents of any teenagers who have to keep those growing feet shod.

Human consciousness doesn’t work like that.

It’s more like a creature with an exoskeleton.

Say what now?

Think about a lobster or a prawn or even an insect. The whole body is supported by the hard, solid shell on the outside, rather than a skeleton on the inside.

Now think about how a lobster grows. His shell is a certain size, so he grows until he’s squished into that shell and cannot grow any more. He’s stuck. Everything stops for a while.

And then the lobster cracks open and sheds the protective shell, emerging raw and tender and fragile and vulnerable, a naked creature in the swirling ocean. The act of moulting is a terrifying prospect, but he does it anyway.

He stretches. He makes a new shell, a bigger shell, with lots of room to move. And he begins to grow again.

He gets bigger and bigger, until one day – his lovely new shell is full. There is no more room and he’s stuck again.

The stuckness itself triggers the next phase and he moults again and out of that process he creates another new, even more spacious shell.

Gettin stuckOur consciousness grows like the lobster, not like the mammal.

Getting stuck is not just something to be tolerated. It’s part of the process.

In fact, getting stuck is required.

Without the getting stuck piece, we have no trigger for our own moulting, the shedding of the old.

We have no inspiration to grow the new, expansive version of ourselves, into which we can stretch and grow.

It’s time to let yourself off the hook for any feelings that you’re doing it wrong if you get stuck.

Give yourself permission to be okay with being stuck. You’re doing your lobster thang, that’s all. It’s a natural, normal part of the journey. Cracking open and revealing the naked, vulnerable Self is part of this miraculous and glorious process.

In fact, don’t just tolerate it – embrace it!

Being stuck is a sign that big expansion is just around the corner.

So if I’m such a fan of being stuck, why in my headline for this post did I lure you in, with promises of how to get unstuck?

Because you’re not supposed to STAY stuck.

Our friend the lobster always moults, eventually.

He never says “oh, I’m just going to stay this small version of myself because I’m too scared to crack open and moult”. He says “even though I know it’s scary, I’m going to do it anyway because I want to grow!”

(OK, I may be extrapolating thoughts into the lobster’s head that he’s never had, but you get the point)

When you finally embrace the stuckness, you give up resistance to it. You become willing to go through it, no matter how terrifying it might seem.

And in that moment of embracing your lobster nature, everything begins to shift.

The secret to getting unstuck is like the secret to everything else that we want. Let go, let go, let go.

Embracing your stuckness is a fast-track way to let go of your resistance to it. And no, you can’t fake the embracing in order to change things. Relax into it. Yes, there might be tears or sulking or fear involved. Own it and let it go.

And if you need any support with this seemingly crazy dance, you know where to find me. I’d be happy to help.