“Do not let your bread of life grow moldy or your living water become stagnant, else weevils and bugs will infest your spiritual food, leaving no nourishment whatsoever” ~ Becka Goings
More often than not, when life becomes stagnant we don’t even realize it has happened. One day we just wake up and – Bam!
We understand we’re in a rut and usually have no idea how we got there. A retracing of steps and some honest soul work is usually on the cards – exactly how did I get to this point?
Invariably the answer is close to the surface and can be easily remedied. But beware. An un-examined stagnation period can turn into a life badly lived, and if we aren’t careful it isn’t long before our main regret is not that we didn’t keep our noses down and our mind on the goal but that we didn’t stop to take a look around.
Life is messy. It’s not always linear. In fact there’s a lot of too-ing and fro-ing; one step back and two steps forward. Sometimes all we need to do is stop and readjust. We need to keep our dialogue with the universe open and flowing. Else our stream might dry up.
Here are five things you can do to keep the brook bubbling:
Visit a New Place
When our days are planned and everything’s ticking along nicely, creativity and our grip on reality can slip out of our grasp very quickly. Have you ever noticed that the creative mind feels wide awake when at the beginning of projects?
The moment we lift off and wobble at the peak; behind us uncertainty and hope, before us hard work and a whirlwind of activity so fervent that often we forget to enjoy ourselves? Even when at the height of a good patch, often we need a moment of reflection.
Make it a habit to visit a new place once a week. It doesn’t take too long and stop making excuses – no you don’t need a car. Just pick a direction and walk. Even walking through a different part of town or traveling through a well-trodden route in a new way; for example by bicycle when you are used to walking or going by taxi can help us see the world with new eyes and inspire us to do a double take at life.
The places you may end up also provide potential muse and amusement; some places like a treat in a forest bath or a quiet beach can literally recharge your batteries, slough away any stagnant bits of energy and infuse you with a brainwave or two.
Change in Routine
I know what it’s like when you have every hour planned perfectly and someone might suffer a small injury if they do anything to jeopardize that plan, but sometimes it’s no bad thing. Take signs where things go wrong – you spill your drink all over your work or keep tripping up as signs that you’re on autopilot and that’s not necessarily leading you down the right path.
Often this is the best red flag – something goes terribly wrong when we’re on our way down, one path that seems like an awful inconvenience at the time but is actually either redirecting you towards something better or telling you to sit up and take notice because you’re rapidly moving away from what you should be focusing on.
Being ill is always a sign of this – slow down, take care of yourself, reflect. Stop and readjust your priorities. Like going somewhere new, changing our routine slightly can again give us that chance to wake up and reinstall our awareness.
Do Some Soul Searching (Talking to Yourself)
Stagnation doesn’t just come when we’re super busy and forget what our real goals are, it also happens when we go so slowly we almost grind to a halt. Getting stuck in the same patterns, the same mistakes and the same road blocks means we are doing something that fundamentally goes against our truth. Do some soul searching by talking to yourself about this. Sounds strange?
Simply ask yourself questions and the subconscious mind will answer them for you if you give it a chance. The answers might surprise you. Example: ‘How do I feel about going to this yoga class? I feel nervous. Why is that? Everyone will look at me. Why would they look at you? Because I’ll be doing it wrong. Why do you think that? Because I’m bad at sports…’
OK not a great example but you get the gist. Sometimes we need to sit down and do some journaling or serious talking with ourselves to uproot those unconscious beliefs that are holding us back. Why are you stopping yourself from moving on? The answer lies within you.
Set Yourself Challenges.
If you still feel like you aren’t going anywhere and are resisting something, try setting yourself little challenges over the span of first a week, then a fortnight, then a month. Not spending money for a week and trying to attend all the free things you can find in your area, making a resolution to talk to someone new every day, saying something positive and doing a ‘good deed’ at least once a day are small scale challenges.
Joining new groups, booking yourself into a half marathon or biking challenge three months later and then training for them are long term ones.
They don’t even have to be so obviously goal-oriented and actually, sometimes you need to start small and work your way up, then when you look back on your year you’ll realize how far you’ve come. Painting, writing or exercising for half an hour a day are great examples of how you end up producing or building up to something bigger.
Those half hours eventually create a whole exhibition of paintings, a novel or the will to completely change your lifestyle. Just like meditation practice you must build it up, and goals usually put us off because they seem like such a leap of faith. Slowly slowly build it up. Then you are no longer stagnant.
Make Heart and Soul Connections
“When you are transitioning to a new season of life, the people and situations that no longer fit you fall away.” ~ Mandy Hale
Often the biggest challenge of all is when we become stagnant with others. Becoming robotic in exchanges and relationships may not effect everyone, but is surely the worst kind of stagnation of all.
If you’re depressed or simply numb, be patient with yourself. Just accept that that’s the way you are now but keep surrounding yourself with people.
Ignore any confused looks or alarm at your rudeness. Some people have been hurt so many times they’ve shut off, and if you’re one of them, the only way to avoid being dangerously isolated and stagnant in the heart is by wading through your fears and lovingly surrounding yourself regardless.
If people cross the road to avoid you find a sense of humour about that fact. Being rock bottom is great because it’s hilariously tragic but things can only get better. The real dangers of stagnation are when we take them too seriously. Enjoy those periods in life with the lightest touch; they will pass.
Make that shift, commit yourself to a gradual change and then DO IT. Like the wheelbarrow that takes a few pushes to get going it will only be hard at first. Surround yourself with a clock of protection and push yourself through the crowd; get the waters flowing and let the flood gates of your new beginning open.