I've heard that word a lot lately -- stuck. If you feel that way too, you aren't alone.
Friend, client and fellow leaper, Stephanie Vessely, shares her perspective on feeling stuck and what she's doing to move through it.
I hope it gives you comfort and inspiration. It did for me.
Recently, I've been stuck.
You know the feeling? When you're ready for changes but you aren't quite sure what you want the next thing to be? You just know that where you are right now isn't the best, most authentic expression of who you are anymore.
That's where I am.
I'm not content with some things as they are, but I don't have all of the information required to make a change yet. As a result, I'm often frustrated and paralyzed by my inability to make a decision.
I'm ready to leap—I just don't know in which direction.
One of the areas I'm struggling with is where to move. I've wanted to leave my current place since I moved in—two and half years ago. I haven't yet, for a variety of reasons.
Now I know it's time. I feel it when I walk in the door—this isn't the place for me.
My problem is that I just can't figure out where the place for me is.
Recently I've been toying with the idea of taking little leaps before taking big ones.
For example, the photographs. There are two of them. They were a Christmas present from my then-boyfriend a couple of years into our relationship. The photos, two 16x20 black and white images, represented who I was perfectly. Ours was a rocky relationship—often off and on. When I received these photos I also received the sense that despite our difficulties, he knew me. And more importantly, he got me.
I moved the photos with me everywhere I went—from Denver, to Boston, to somewhere else in Boston and back to Denver. When our relationship ended, and I moved out of the home we shared, the photos moved with me and took their token spot above the bed.
A few months ago, as I was walking through my bedroom, I noticed the photos in a way I hadn't before. They looked strange and out of place. They didn't "go" anymore. I thought for a second that maybe I should take them down, but immediately dismissed it.
These photographs are more than photographs.
They hold a lot of stuff, like who I've been in the last eight years and my entire relationship with my ex. They are the life I had planned to share with him. They are failure, joy, pain and hope.
But who I've been in the last eight years isn't who I am anymore. I don't want the same things or feel the same things.
In holding on to the photographs, I'm holding on to that past and to a former life that doesn't fit with who I've become or what I want.
And so I began the dance of deciding what to do with them.
They stayed on the wall for a couple of months while I felt it out. Then one day I just took them down. Unsure of what to do with them, I put them in the hallway that leads to the basement. They sat there for another month before I realized that it was time.
Letting go of the photographs may seem like a small thing. To me, letting go of them means letting go of the known in order to step into the unknown. It means detaching from who I've been without knowing who I will be and letting go without knowing if there will be something waiting for me.
It means saying yes to a new way of being.
When we let go, it means we are no longer holding on to something. Literally–we are free-flying through unknown territory. Which seems uncannily similar to taking a leap. And any leap, no matter what the scale, is scary.
We do it anyway, because if we didn't we would remain where we are. We wouldn't grow, change, or gracefully and ungracefully work ourselves into the people we most want to be.
Often it seems that in order for things to change we have to do something drastic, like quit a job or move to another state. But small shifts can also lead to big shifts.
What matters isn't that we overhaul every little thing in our lives and start from somewhere new, it's that we simply shift the energy in any way possible.
Sometimes when we're stuck, it doesn't matter what we do, as long as we do something.
For me it was acknowledging the photographs and letting them go. Yes, I love them, but just because I love something doesn't mean I have to hold onto it forever.
It took me another week to gather my courage, but I finally dropped the photos off at Goodwill. It was strange, and there wasn't a lot of fanfare, but it felt like a step in the right direction.
Now, as I walk through my house I'm able to identify more things that don't fit. As I clear things out I feel like I'm opening up space—for new things to enter, for more old stuff to leave and for the next steps to present themselves.
It feels really good.
On the same day that I decided to let the photographs go a moving-related plan finally solidified.
I'm still a little uncomfortable with not knowing what my next steps are, but I am gaining trust that all will be revealed in time.
In the meantime, I'll continue to prepare for a bigger jump.
Stephanie Vessely lives in Denver, Colorado and is in the middle of a lifelong love affair with words. She is regularly saved by yoga and is searching for Truth. She's an aspiring vegan who loves travel and hopes to help save animals. Someday, she'll learn to tap dance. In the meantime, she knows everything is as it should be, even if she has a hard time remembering it.