"I don't know Who — or what — put the question.

I don't know when it was put.

I don't even remember answering.

But at some moment I did answer Yes to Someone — or Something — and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life had a purpose"    

`  Dag Hammarskjöld

Now What?


What do I do when I feel stuck?  How do I find my way to what I really want?  If I work hard enough can I get what I want?  I hear those questions a lot from truly sincere people, almost all of them healthy and intelligent. And working hard is a good thing, but sometimes it's counterproductive because true knowing is often passive. Granted, it may ultimately inspire assertive action, but in its organic state, it is receptive. Stuck or not, sometimes we can’t manipulate or manufacture the next step. Joseph Campbell said that if a path already exists, it probably belongs to someone else. And in my experience, often the map for our own life comes unbidden, when we’re at ease, when we’ve dropped evaluative measures and expectations, when we’ve surrendered calculation and cleverness, when we’ve worn out the muscles of resistance. I know, I know-- who wants to hear THAT!

This is a struggle for those of us in the Western part of the world, because we are programmed for action. But if I take a risk, and I sit here in this quiet space, almost empty, something will emerge. And I will follow it.

Creative types call this period incubation. This is when you’re not quite sure what is washing around between your conscious and subconscious and you have no idea what – if anything – will come out of it. But, something is happening there, just below the surface. Whether you can see it or define it or control it or manage it, something is happening there. With a little faith, you can trust it will work itself out into the reality of your life. This is important whether it’s a business decision, or a life change, or the wish of a dream come true. It must have time to grow. 

Farmers have a term for this too. Fallow. The fields are plowed but not planted for a season so that the soil can rejuvenate. Gestalt Therapists call this time The Fertile Void. It’s also called the Zero Point Field or the Plane. It feels empty if you don’t know that in this quietness, just along the edges of consciousness, is the most expansive field imaginable. This is where the "magic" happens, where the energy of creation lives.

Yes, it can be frustrating and scary to be in this void, feeling blank. But don’t force it. You’ve just got to be with it. Sit with it. Unexpected things always emerge after this fallow period and with them comes a flurry of activity with adrenaline and passion, and the creative process begins.

So what do you do when you feel stale or stuck and can’t get the creative juices flowing or just can’t seem to make any decisions one way or the other?  My best suggestion is this: Gently set you intent that you want things to change. And then, do the things that give you joy. We only have moments, microscopic, fleeting moments, so live now. Find beauty. Get outside and breathe. Exercise. Be ridiculously generous. Enjoy the setting sun, and the rising moon. Ask yourself "What do I really want" and just go with it for a bit. Those things change your energy field and you begin to attract better things.

Right about now I'm guessing that you are holding your breath. BREATHE. Resistance won’t get you anywhere, so leave your struggles to incubate in the fertile void, and start living your life.  I think you will be surprised to find that some really fantastic things happen when you settle down a bit and breathe.  Something beautiful and productive will emerge. And you will follow. 




Why therapy? I'm so glad you asked! Many of us are raised to think that we should be able to handle everything on our own, and that considering an outside opinion is a sign of physical or emotional weakness. And, more often than not, there's the stigma that if you talk to a therapist you must be "crazy" in some way.  Right? Yet, I find in my work that the opposite is generally true. It takes a lot of courage and intelligence to recognize our limits and to call a professional for a discussion.

I think human beings are mostly strong and resilient, even if it doesn't always feel that way. But life puts a lot of demands on us, and for those of us living in large urban areas, it's hard to filter out all of the background noise sometimes. We are so accustomed to it that we don't really realize how stressful it is. 

Tempers get short, the traffic gets worse, the lines are long, and that exacerbates the many frustrating attempts to solve problems at home, and work, and mostly just inside our own skin. Most of us want relief from discomfort whether it's physical or emotional. We want to be understood, and we wish that our relationships would work effectively.

Generally, people call me for therapy after an upsetting event or personal crisis.  An important relationship is in trouble, a divorce or death occurs, a child enters the teen years. A long-standing problem with drug or alcohol addiction may become too much to bear. Self-defeating behavior patterns may stand in the way. Old pain and trauma may resurface. A spouse or other family member may seem "out of control" and a concerned family member may ask for guidance.

At other times, our biology seems to have turned on us, as hormonal, situational or other combinations of biological and situational events bring on feelings of depression or persistent anxious and fearful feelings. I do a lot of work with these type of life events. 

If you have ever wished that you had better tools, or just had someone who would listen, therapy can help. For many it can help relationships work better, teach ways to handle overwhelming feelings, bring relief from addictive behaviors, increase self-esteem, relieve the wounds of old hurts and traumas, and improve coping skills. I find that most people experience a big sense of relief as soon as they reach out and take the first step to talk about it.

If this is you, finding the right therapist is important, so make sure you feel comfortable with the person you choose to be your therapist. Spend a little time looking over their website, consider if their basic life philosophy is a general match for your own, and then reach out to see if there is a chemistry that you can work with. You will usually "know" just by the way you feel after the first contact.  Trust your instincts.

There is no substitute for a therapeutic relationship that honors the values and goals of each individual client. So if you are ready to talk, contact me through my website and we can discuss your needs. And if you know someone who needs help, please share this post. 

If you would like more information on urban stress, follow this link.