Some of us don't feel like ourselves unless we're reaching new goals, making new friends and expanding. But sometimes, we hit walls. Being challenged is a natural and necessary part of our self-development. So where do we draw the line between workin-on-it and stuck?
One simple question that helps us to gauge the current status of our personal evolution is...
My coaching practice operates on a principle I've learned during my 8 year apprenticeship with a master spiritual teacher:
Our lives are defined by cycles.
In order to be completely unrecognizable to ourselves, that is to witness a palpable transformation, it takes a 90-day cycle- either of an expertly chosen new practice, a new home, job or relationship or a life-changing trip or experience. Only after these three months can we actually grasp the full impact of something on our lives. You may be able to see sprouts and real shifts before then (and you should!), but the grand picture will only appear at the end of that three month period.
So, go ahead! Calculate back three months exactly from today.
-What was different about your physical health and body?
-What was different about your emotional state and the way you handled challenging experiences?
-What was different about your relationships?
-What was different about your priorities or what felt most meaningful to you?
You might notice that you are indeed in a very different place today. If it's an uplifted and stronger place, fantastic! You can safely say you are developing in this aspect of your life (ie, emotional, relational, physical, meaning). If you are downgrading so to speak, there is an upside. Now that you've caught it, you know what you need to attend to in order to prevent any further loss in this area.
For those areas where you don't witness any significant change, it can mean one of two possibilities. One, either you already possess so much mastery and strength in this area that deeper growth may only come one inch at a time in a less dramatic way. Or two, you are STUCK. Seeing as these two are drastically different positions to be in, I'm certain you will be able to intuit which one applies to your situation.
Now on to the bonus round!
If you are stuck, in relationships for example, there are three tricks that will help you to dig yourself free and get ready to be on the up and ups once again.
1. Do something outside your comfort zone everyday, for 21 days and ideally in your stuck area. If it's relationships, ask out a stranger. Or surprise your partner with something that makes you slightly uncomfortable. You've got to stretch outside of what's familiar. Stuckness is when we're so familiar with something it begins to stagnate. Stagnation in Traditional Chinese Medicine is the root of all disease, and you definitely don't want that.
2. Change your food. This one is best for those who feel majorly stuck, and who change feels frightening to. What do you almost never eat? If you normally don't consume sour foods, incorporate pickles. If you never enjoy spicy foods, drop a little sriracha onto your lunch. Changing your physical fuel in this way will prepare the cells of your body for more change. Baby steps like this one help us to make the changes we want more effectively without triggering intense reactions and resistance from our bodies.
3. Go on an intentional journey. A change of scenery also works to change your perspective. You don't have to go far. Just decide where, whether that coffee shop on the other side of town, the mountains or the Philippines (see below*). If you're working on the relationship level for example, take note on your journey of all the hints, clues, thoughts, emotions and encounters that surface around this theme. This shift in viewpoint can catalyze an opening in an area where we have felt constricted if we turn up our attention towards it along the way.
*I organize a bi-annual meditation and yoga retreat like you've never experienced before, on a lush, secluded island of the beautiful Philippines taught by master teachers of yoga, astrology, personal development and feng shui from all over the world. Our next retreat is set for June 18-30, 2016. Email me for all the juicy details or to register: firstname.lastname@example.org