Friday, June 22, 2012

Being stuck and getting unstuck

When I saw my therapist this week, I launched into a description of an unsatisfying get-together I had recently been to. She listened patiently as always, and then tried to move me into a new direction. I say "tried to" because it took some effort for me to let go of my resistance to changing. I wanted everyone else to change. Not only to accommodate me but to know what I needed without my asking. Sound familiar?

She talked about moving towards something I want, a way I want to be, and not remaining in an old, familiar place. Before too long, I recognized my resistance. In fact, I suggested that Anna's notes about our sessions must read like this: "Didn't get it. She still doesn't get it. No progress. She's still stuck." We both had a good laugh and I wrote down the following question for myself: "Being stuck. Do I still need more practice at that?"

And while the concept of "acting as if" isn't new to me, the idea of stepping into some other way of being felt very hard until I thought about something I've been doing in my creative work. When I hit a place in my novel or when I'm painting where I don't know what I'm doing (and that happens a lot), I ask myself this question: If I did know what I was doing, what would I do? And then I act on the idea that comes (or one of them if several come).

So if I did know how to be more comfortable in a group where my needs weren't being met, how would I be  and what would I do? And curiosity began to open up. Much more pleasant than being stuck.

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