This is an excerpt from a book I put out a few months ago titled, Loving Other Human Beings (and which I've said little about). It's titled, "The Flows of Stuckness."
You know what’s awesome? When you
really love something, and you just do it. You just roll with it. You enter the flow state, and from there you execute, over and over again, until the
task is complete for the day. That is just an absolutely fabulous part of life.
You know what is equally awesome? Being stuck. Being trapped in suspension. Being unsure of what you will do or what will happen next. You cannot know what the next step will bring until you take it. You cannot know even what the step after that will be, until you take the preceding step. Until I take this step, the stuff of the next is pure speculation. That step might as well not even exist.
The experiences of flow and stuckness are regarded as being quite different. The first experience is considered immensely pleasurable—one of life’s finest. Might even be better than sex. The second is considered to be torturous—one of life’s most damning. Might even be worse than death.
Yet, beneath the surface, when you go to the essence of each of these experiences, you find that both are ultimately peak experiences. In each, you are on life’s edge.
In the first, you exhibit total integration with life. You might as well be- in fact, you are- life itself. You know life like it’s the back of your hand. It might as well be. You are unstoppable. Yet, you get your power not from overpowering others, in this state—even if that is what you appear to be doing. Rather, your power comes from convergence—from the congruent expression of desire, ability, and intent, all pointed in the same direction. You have set yourself on to rocket boosters, which you have figured out how to live on indefinitely.
In the second experience, you are turning inward, as though into a cocoon. You are rearranging yourself, figuring out how you will emerge into life anew. It feels, during this time, as though you are putting up a wall between yourself and life, and are effectively separating yourself.
But this is mere illusion. You are still just as much a part of the world as you were before. But for a time, it will feel as though you are but an outcast here, who lives on the fringes of others’ mercy.
Your emergence from this cocoon occurs very slowly. This process is quite painful. Breaking something is most easily done when it is done quickly. The immense intensity and momentum behind the act creates a powerful impact, which gets the job done.
But this is not how your emergence will occur. Not initially, anyway. For some time, you will struggle. You will try to break down the brick wall with a hammer. You will be frustrated when this leaves little more than small dents. You will wear yourself out.
Yet, in time, the dents will form cracks. Slowly, slowly, you will start to see the light of the world once again. Much of you will still be encased in your cocoon. Yet there is enough of an opening that the world can make contact with you. It will do so. And when it does, it will be painful. You are not yet fully formed—hence why you remain in your cocoon. You have not matured.
And so, when you make contact with the outside world, it will hurt. You will be raw to the touch. You are very delicate during this time. Yet, your making contact with the outside world is inevitable. And so, you will feel pain. This is OK. Pain cannot hurt you. You will forget this fact, but you will still be OK.
Once the first crack has been made, progress will continue much more quickly. The first crack is a foothold, from which to further break open the cocoon. As you break off more and more of the cocoon, your eyes will open more to the light of the world, and you will be exposed.
There will be a moment, when you are in the middle of this process, of intense fear. You will start to feel as though suspended-- your edges quivering in the wild, blowing freely in the wind. You will worry that you are losing yourself. What am I becoming? What is happening to me? It will all seem so strange.
In this moment, you will step back from the self that you have been, and recognize that you are this self no longer. This self is not now your enemy. What this self asks of you is that you remember her. Remember this self, so that you have a context in which to be your new self. The old self is your point of comparison. It enables you to remember the old experiences and the old lessons without having to relive them. This way, you may continue forth with high momentum. Your old self will say to you, Remember me, lest ye forget.
Once you have had this meeting with your old self, and stepped into a new self, you have crossed over to what we may call “the other side.” It is this other side that you previously feared. You thought that crossing over to the other side equated to death.
You were correct, to an extent—the old self has died. You have developed enough to the point that you can be that self no longer. But this old self is not to be ignored, thrown to the curb, or forgotten. She retains a role of high importance.
Once you are on the other side, you will continue to break off pieces of the cocoon gladly. There will still be moments of difficulty and struggle. But you will move through them with greater speed and higher grace now. Even after battles where you appear to have lost, you will still feel certain of yourself, because you know you will make it. You see that at this point, you can do no other. You must grow, and you must continue. You would have it no other way.
There will be times, during your emergence process, when you wonder whether you should be becoming what you are becoming. You will look out into the world at others, and see that they are different from you. You will wonder whether you ought to forget trying to break the cocoon, and instead build for yourself a new one, so that you might appear more of the way that others do.
Do not fall to this temptation. You’ve no need to resemble anyone in particular. You cannot yet know how you will appear when your development is complete. Do not give up on yourself. I know this is a place of uncertainty. Your growth is supposed to have elements of uncertainty. Remain in this state of suspension. Be confident in yourself. Take one step at a time, and take only those steps which you know that you would take.
As you open more and more of the cocoon, you will be exposed to more and more of the world. The world will begin to ask more and more of you, as you appear able to do more. You will be able to handle the world, as you are exposed to more of it. With each piece broken, the world will push you a little bit, but you will adapt to this push quickly. This push is not aggression. It is the loving nudge of the universe, reminding you of your potential, letting you know that, indeed, you are alive.
At what point does stuckness stop being stuckness? Stuckness stops being stuckness when you’ve no fear of being stuck. You recognize that it is perfectly alright to be in the cocoon. There is no shame in it. You are potential energy. From here, you can go anywhere. Just wait and see, and you will amaze yourself.
Really, stuckness is quite cool. I’m serious. It is the initiation into the majesty that is the flow state. Stuckness is sort of a flow of its own. It is a flow of deliberation, analysis, and fear. And when stuckness is stuckness no longer, then it becomes flow. It is the flow of growth. It is the flow of the hard work that is breaking the cocoon, and coming into the world.
When you understand all of this, you will no longer see reason to fear stuckness and cocooning. For all things pass, and this shall, too. This process will hurt, but it will not damage you. What appears to be damage is simply the reforming of your being into something new. This reformation may be painful, and it may end you and your entire world as you know it. But you will emerge from it anew. And you will be happy for this. You will love it.