So, I was thinking since the start of 2020 I have had an overwhelming sense of immobilization. I describe it as feeling stuck, frozen, indecisive, or unmotivated.
We probably agree that these aren't generally adjectives we’d choose to describe ourselves. Stuck, frozen, indecisive, or unmotivated wouldn’t serve us well on a resume, dating profile, or even our obituary. Instead they conjure up thoughts of laziness, having no purpose or direction, of being unimaginative, even ungrateful. From a very young age we’re taught to pack as much as we can into our day. We’re not only encouraged to always go, go, go but also given a measuring stick to determine if our go is up to other peoples’ standards. That measuring stick may be how much money you make, how many friends you know, what type of job, house, clothes, car, or toys you have. Or it may measure such things as how aligned, healed, altruistic, empathetic, or loving you are. We live in an awakening world and it’s not uncommon to feel disappointed in ourselves, not just on a physical or emotional level, but also on a spiritual one. Sheesh, that's a lot of measuring. No wonder we constantly feel we could do more.
That's why we pay people to motivate us. There’s an entire industry built to poke, prod, encourage, sometimes shame, and shake us out of our state of inactivity. Often, our inability to motivate is all inclusive and other times it's isolated to one subject, project, relationship, or goal and you may call it procrastination (wow, that word could really use a new publicist). Because inactivity isn't always undesireable. We also pay people to meditate us. Isn’t it ironic that we hire people to convince us to take action and then turn around and pay someone else to remind us how to be still?
For over two weeks I have felt mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually suspended. I have people I interact with, projects I've started, books I try to read, movies I start to watch, laundry I manage, and daily meditations I do. I shower and brush my teeth, attend to my freelance work, show up and enjoy my part time job, I cook, I eat, say Happy Birthday to my friends on social media, and I put away my Christmas tree. But inside I feel suspended. Stuck.
Note that although I feet stuck - I don’t feel despondent or depressed. I’m no stranger to anxiety and depression and I believe strongly in utilizing every resource I can to stay emotionally healthy. If you feel unsafe, suicidal, or unable to find comfort, joy, or purpose I lovingly suggest you reach out to a mental health professional, doctor, trusted friend, or family member. There’s no shame in asking for help - I do it all the time! Honestly, this recent period of inactivity has trigger some old anxiety/guilt until I received the message:
"You're not stuck, you're resting in neutral." It clearly didn’t come through as you’re stuck in neutral or you’re waiting in neutral, it was you’re resting in neutral. You feel the difference, right? To some, neutral may seem uncommitted, undecided, apathetic, uninterested, or without direction. But let's try on a different perspective and see if it fits.
What if neutral is the space of all possibilities? Quantum mechanics states that all possibilities exist at the same time and it’s not until you take measurement (observation or action) that a particular outcome will occur. Think of it like tossing a coin: while the coin is in the air it has the possibility of landing either heads or tails - it’s in a space of all possibilities. Technically, while the coin floats through the air landing on its side or being snatched by a passerby are also possibilities.
Some outcomes are more likely than others but this is a space of all possibilities, not probabilities. And that is a magnificent difference. I believe we each are occasionally called to Rest in Neutral as a way of calming and re-calibrating our physical nervous system, emotional pipeline, and spiritual compass. I believe it’s in a state of neutral that we can best shift to our next most aligned state of being. It’s not about hurrying to choose the perfect possibility under pressure and grinding our gears in frustration. Instead, we allow the current most aligned possibility the space it needs to present itself, and when it does, we can shift from neutral to inspired action.
The space of all possibilities can be very uncomfortable to hang out in! We haven't been taught how to wait with unknown purpose or even recognize what a call to inspired action feels like. In my experience, an inspired idea or desire to do something will suddenly feel right, even exciting, often unexpected, and it never feels like “work”.
So, the next time you find yourself inadvertently hitting the pause button, I invite you to see how this affirmation feels: “I’m resting in neutral and anticipate shifting to the perfect possibility very soon.” And please share your thoughts and experiences!
For more talk about how to relax and allow in new perspectives see my 1/1/2020 blog post, Going Magic Eye