Column, Funologist

Pig pile of yuck

Forward part 2: Flip your dial from ‘stuck’ to ‘forward’

By Sandra Dee Owens

Have you ever noticed when one negative emotion (i.e., resentment, anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, or the ‘should’ gremlin), comes to call, they all jump in? It’s like a pig pile of yuck.

And suddenly, without your consent, you’re trapped in an emotional gutter. Stuck.

Fortunately, we are outfitted with the tools to get unstuck.

And the wicked coolbeans thing is—it’s simple.

But simple is not the same as easy.

It takes effort to discover, then practice, using these tools.

But lucky for us, we are designed for effort. After all, as tiny children, we learn to walk.

If we can, with great determination and unwillingness to quit, learn to walk, then we can do anything we set our minds to.
Though hands reach out to steady and encourage us, the truth is, we learn to walk on our own.

Embracing effort, how do you feel about the word, “effort?” Do you (mentally) lean into or away from it? Do you seek ways to avoid effort or embrace it?

A few mornings a week, I run up and down a nearby hill to get my blood up.

Whenever I am experiencing a glut of negative emotions, I run to the top of the hill and take in the big, wide, expansive, view before me.

And remind myself to think big.

Feeling words, then I ask myself out loud, (so my ears can hear), “WHAT am I feeling?” I rumble around in my head and identify each and every negative “feeling word” that is taking up precious space in my head/spirit/life.

Notice the emphasis on the word WHAT?

That is because I am usually frustrated by my feelings, so it just comes out crabby.

As I bring up each feeling word, and speak its name out loud for my ears to hear. . . I know that I am setting myself free from it.
It goes like this: “I feel resentment, anger, exhaustion…fear.” Staying focused on the feelings, I ALWAYS find hidden layers.

And most of the time (read: all the time), I find the fear gremlin, lurking at the bottom of anger and frustration.

This is not a gripe and grumble session, but self-therapy that feels like a sport. It is an exercise in healing that helps me identify unwellness and set myself free from it.

I am actively getting myself—unstuck.

This practice requires the effort of honesty and self-awareness. And though some may find it scary to venture into these realms, I can attest that the freedom gained—is worth the effort.

Stop talking about it, I was only a ski length behind my friend Josh, deep in the woods, heading up and into the backcountry, looking for steep and deep.

I was telling him once again about my dream to take on the scary big goal of skiing the length of Vermont on the Catamount Trail.
Suddenly, Josh stopped, turned around and said, “Sandra, I have been listening to you talk about doing this for two years. You need to stop talking about it and do it!”

He may as well have pierced my heart with a ski pole. I was struck by the fact that none of my girlfriends would have spoken that honestly/bluntly and also that he was dead right.

And now, whenever I find myself saying I really want to do something…over and over and over, it means my dial is set on ‘stuck.’
And it’s time to imagine in my mind’s eye, a dial and reach out and flip that dial from “stuck” to “forward.”

It took years to complete the Catamount Trail.

I gained so much friendship, skill and sense of personal achievement that whenever I view a length of our gorgeous Green Mountains, I think—I skied every foot of that.

Thanks, Josh.

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