Day 965: Getting unstuck

Do you ever get stuck in a behavior, a feeling, or a thought? Do you ever repeat patterns of acting or thinking you KNOW are neither positive nor helpful?

If you answered “yes,” you are NOT alone in your stuck-ness.

If you answered “no,” could you let the rest of us know how you stick to being unstuck?

Here’s why I’m stuck thinking about getting unstuck today:

  1. Tomorrow I go back to work helping others get unstuck in their lives, after two weeks of being wonderfully unstuck from my regular routines, on vacation.
  2. One article I read while in Social Work graduate school — that has stuck with me for decades — suggested that all mental/behavioral health diagnoses could be replaced with a single, one-word diagnosis: “Stuck.”
  3. While I’ve made a lot of progress in my own life, I still get stuck in certain ways of thinking, reacting, and behaving  I KNOW are unhelpful, outdated, and automatic.

Let’s stick to the title of this post — “Getting Unstuck.” How do those of us who know we get stuck start unsticking from  old, unhelpful habits of thinking and behaving?

Before I share some getting-unstuck advice,  I invite you to stick to your own wisdom and experience.

What’s one thing you’ve learned in your life about getting unstuck, even temporarily?

Stick with that question, for a moment. What memories, images, or other associations about getting unstuck are sticking with you, now? If you stick any of those in a comment here, you might help others get unstuck, too.

Because I’m stuck with that promise I made to share something I have learned, in my long life,  about getting unstuck, here it is:

When you feel stuck, get in touch with your experience and your intuition and do ONE THING differently. Then, notice the other changes that one simple change creates. 

With all of you as my witnesses, I now pledge to do one thing differently when I return to work tomorrow.  In order to get unstuck from old and unhelpful post-vacation habits, I  am going to consciously allow the many wonderful feelings, thoughts, and images from eight glorious days in Edinburgh, Scotland to stick around, for a long time.

We’ll see how long I can stick with that.

If I had brought my Scottish walking stick back with me to U.S., perhaps that stick would help me stick to sustaining and change-inspiring  memories of freedom, creativity, beauty, and growth. However, I left that stick behind on the streets of Edinburgh, stuck with the hope that walking stick might help somebody else — who might need support — move forward through that cobble-stoned city.

Because I have no pictures of that stick, I’ll stick to other images, old and new:

What music might help us all stick to those things that help us get unstuck in our lives?

I’m sticking with a song that’s familiar to me:  the Scottish Gerry Rafferty and Stealers Wheel performing “Stuck in the Middle with You,” stuck back in the United Kingdom circa 1973.

Unsticking thanks to all who helped me stick to this topic, today, and to you — of course! — for sticking around for the end of this post.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

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55 thoughts on “Day 965: Getting unstuck

  1. I hope those wonderful images of your trip stick around- print out some photos and put them on your desk, in you bag, where you can see them at a moments notice to stay unstuck Ann!

  2. I think it is nature that we stick to some thought, feelings or behaviors. Some is harder than the others to unstuck. I guess the first step to unstuck is to be aware of it when it happens first. The next is, I guess it depends on what it is.

  3. Welcome back and thank you for sharing the trip with your readers. I trust you will enjoy getting all the sticky notes that have likely accumulated on your desk in two weeks, unstuck.

  4. I love the simplicity and realism of answer #2 — Stuck.

    I have been feeling like I’ve been stuck with not coming into my studio this summer. Thinking I had an aversion to creating going on…

    As fall approaches, I am finding myself feeling the studio’s call — so I also think that sometimes, when we think we are stuck, we are just resting.

    I too believe in the power of doing one something different – for me, the ‘different’ was to allow myself to not judge myself for not coming into the studio this summer… 🙂

  5. Friends and relatives I am stuck with have stocked me up with a stack of sticks. Soon I will have enough to play giant pick up sticks.

  6. One way to get unstuck is to have courage. I actually stayed in Scotland a couple of days more to help people fight the Loch Ness creature. All I had to do was show the creature my grumpy face! Now it’s back in the water! Loch Ness is now building a statue in my honor! Imagine, a statue of me in Loch Ness!

  7. Nice advice, Anne. I find I need to realize I’m stuck or the behavior is unprofitable first. Then it’s a matter of catching myself at it–a kind of “Oops, don’t be doing that again. Reformat!”

  8. What fun to review via your photos today so many needful moments that were stuck in my he’s. So that I remembered them!

  9. Ack! Not done with fixing that! …so many wonderful moments that were stuck in my head so that I remembered them looking at this today! Welcome home.

  10. Really good advice that is worth sticking to. I remember in my Sociology class being told the reason victims of abuse stay in the same house with their abuser is because they are stuck, they don’t have the energy to make that change, get out of that environment – it has all been pummeled (physically and verbally) out of them. That has always stuck with me.
    I did something different. For me Sundays always suck, because that is the day when we do everything to get ready for the week – groceries, laundry. So it seems as if we only have a one day weekend.. But this weekend, we had the boys go shopping yesterday, did some of the laundry and today is a completely free day – to do what we want. I feel very unstuck about that. Might actually garden – Yay!!! I hope I don’t get stuck in the roses.

  11. Too bad your trip’s over Ann, but glad you guys had a wonderful time! I like your idea of doing one thing different to get unstuck – I’m going to try that the next time I feel stuck. ❤
    Diana xo

  12. Others have stuck some wonderful advice here, so I’ll offer something contrary: there’s sometimes value in being stuck. Sometimes we can be stuck in positive situations that enrich us or help us. I think about the French writer Georges Perec who was determined never to do the same thing twice–he avoided getting stuck in a particular type of writing. But when he was working on a long work, such as his novel La Disparition, written entirely without using the letter ‘e’, he was stuck within a framework that gave him direction.
    I think too of the story of Gilgamesh. After the death of his friend Enkidu he goes through shock then sadness. Then he flees Uruk to a place where there is nothing but darkness. He runs three days and there is no light. He runs three days and there is no light. He runs three days and on the third day light breaks. He will go on to try to bargain against death before he finally accepts his mortality, but he must be stuck before he can be unstuck.
    As Yeats said, “Nothing can be sole or whole/That has not been rent.”

    • I am stuck agreeing with you, Chris, as usual. One example of the enriching and helpful value of being stuck that sticks out for me: I’ve been stuck blogging in WordPress for almost a thousand days now. Each day I rent my space here, I feel more sole and whole, in my heart, mind and soul.

  13. Jan Woodruff

    Welcome back Ann!! I have no wonderful advice but I certainly thank you for all of yours…one thing I do know is that if I don’t get my bottom unstuck from this chair I’ll never get anything done today…again…maybe that’s it!!! Don’t sit in the chair and “just check out my email quickly”–EEUURREEKKAA–bye!

  14. First off, I love your pics — especially the one with the horse heads. I have pics of those steeds in my collection. Secondly, it’s hard to get unstuck, because we become comfortable with where we are. They say bad habits can be broken in 3 weeks; I don’t know if I have the stamina to last even THAT long. But I do what you are doing: I start each morning with an aloud statement that today I will not ____. I don’t get too ambitious at first; I try and take care of the small, snakey habits first. It takes a while but it works. Like, “say one nice thing to three unsuspecting people today.” Little, not much of a mood changer, yet when I go to work and compliment someone’s shirt or shoes or hairclip their whole face lights up, lighting mine in return. Gets you unstuck — at least for a while.

  15. I’m just glad you’re stuck on this blog and on posting lots of great photos, Ann.

  16. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”…Always loved that song. Thanks for sharing it, and all those lovely images that will keep you from getting stuck as you return to work. Doing one thing differently sounds like a good plan. I walk myself to a sweat, every day, but each time, someplace different. It grounds me, keeps me unstuck. I also sing along to my car radio, loudly and without shame. It is so “un-sticking”. 💕

  17. Love the distinction between being stuck vs stickiness!
    Sticky is okay when you stick with something you love and feel really good about. Like dulce de leche and caramel…
    Bottom line is to transform from stuck to sticky with one of those amazing sundaes that Aaron enjoyed or some dulce de leche 🙂

  18. I had to scream and cry and wallow and then re-emerge, Ann. It sure felt sticky. Some days it still does.

  19. Such a wonderful post. Perfect choice of song at the end. Also, I love Haribo.

  20. Usually, if I can shift focus or concentrate on a project, I will get unstuck.

  21. Great pics of the trip Ann.
    On getting unstuck.
    To rid a canister of one type of fluid you slowly pump in another until the old is replaced with the new.
    It is so with bad habits. Crowd them out by slowly replacing them with good habits.

  22. For myself, I usually stay stuck until someone or something comes along and yanks me out of the spot in which I am stuck. I was stuck on cigarettes once, but one day I lit up and my heart started beating extra fast-I quit that day. I guess I have to be shocked out of being stuck. Sorry about your walking stick, but I’m sure someone else is glad they got “stuck” with it.

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