She was uncomfortable, restless, trapped like an animal in a cage. She couldn’t get out, she couldn’t help herself. She knew this feeling, but she didn’t know exactly when or why or how. All she knew was that she hated it. She had to get away. She was afraid she would get stuck and never get out. She couldn’t think like that, she couldn’t give up. And then just like that, she woke up from the dream. She was relieved that it was only a dream, even though, the emotions were so real. She recognized them, but did not know from where. They were familiar…
Sometimes events can stir up old reactions or feelings. If they are negative or painful, we have a hard time remembering what they are associated with. If it is extremely difficult, then we don’t even want to remember where they might be coming from. However, in order to be able to have some degree of control (i.e., recognize so that if it happens again you can choose how to act instead of reacting from an old perspective), you need to go investigate what it is all about.
I find myself doing a lot of investigative work with my spiritual coaching clients. We set out to find where something is coming from before we decide what to do with it, if anything at all. Some clients don’t want to find it, because they are afraid of what they might find. Some claim they know what is there, but they don’t know how to let it go. What both types of clients have in common is identification with either the fear as in the case of the first example, or identification with “not knowing how to …”.
In fact, identification is the source of most of our problems. We identify with the position that we can’t do, don’t know how to do, or are afraid of doing X, Y, or Z. We repeat the reasons for the position over and over again in our heads and we believe the story. We convince ourselves of our opinion and then repeat it to whomever dares to try to help us.
Identification is like cement or a cinder block chained to our ankles. It gets us stuck. First we complain about being stuck, and soon it becomes an excuse for not being stuck. In a way, we get comfortable with our position. It’s like falling asleep in a funny position in bed, but being too tired to move. Even though, you know that you will get a cramped neck in the morning, you don’t have the strength to reposition yourself because you are in a deep sleep. Getting stuck in our identifications is like being stuck in a deep sleep. We know what we are doing is unhealthy, but we can’t get out.
One way to break that spell is to ask yourself: “what do I want?” Even in the depths of sleep, when I ask myself, “what do I really want?” and if I stay awake enough for the answer, I know I have to move. Asking ourselves repeatedly: “what do I really want?” brings us to the point of choice. It for a brief moment unglues us from the identification with the problem. It reminds us that we are not set in the same outcome. We have a choice.
So, I ask my spiritual life coaching clients over and over again: “what do you want?” Some answer the question, but then jump into “…but I can’t…” and then we go back to the beginning. This is how you get unstuck, by going back to the beginning. You might have to do it more than once. You might have to do it again when the problems shows up in a different form. It is a great place to start.
Questions to Ponder:
(1) What is one issue or problem that keeps on repeating itself in your life?
(2) Where and how do you get stuck?
(3) What do you really want?
If you would like to further explore these issues with a spiritual life coach, please contact me for a complimentary 30 minute consultation to determine if spiritual life coaching is for you.