It was going well…until you hit a wall.
Going on an emotional journey, though turbulent, can often be quite exciting! Especially if you are gifted at emotional processing and soul-searching, maybe you quickly find emotional breadcrumbs to follow, uncover patterns, realize new ideas, and feel the satisfaction of making progress quickly.
But what happens when you don’t?
What happens when you sit there and, despite having made good progress in the past with your various soul-searching tactics and tools (a great confidant, therapy, mediation, art, iTOVi Scans, journaling, etc.)—you can’t seem to connect any dots, collect any new clues, or find answers your questions?
We all hit walls on our emotional journeys.
They can be disheartening, frustrating, and frightening (especially when we fear we might be going unhealthily numb, losing our edge, declining, OR—worse still—our fears tell us that, now that we will stay here, stuck forever at this seemingly impassible point!)
Our first instinct is often to push harder, look deeper, and try to force that wall to give way before us so we can continue forward at the pace we prefer. But sometimes this too fails. And we find ourselves spinning our wheels but not going anywhere.
Yes, it’s hard to wait.
But that’s kind of the point.
Consider Your Body
Your body hasn’t abandoned you in your quest. Your body is your best ally, your partner in crime especially when it comes to soul-searching endeavors. Your body often wants to help you, communicate with you, and work with you to continue your journey. But your body and brain have needs—needs for stillness, for repose, and for refueling.
It’s likely you and your body have come a long way. Your body has helped you and your brain come a long way. And now it’s your body’s turn to be considered. It’s time to earn (or re-earn) your body’s trust. Show it that you respect it, that you’ll give it what it needs, and won’t rush it when it needs not to be rushed.
Seriously—don’t try to rush.
Rushing is a stress response that your body will pick up on. And right now your body and mind probably need to relax. It may take hours. It may take days—a small price to pay for taking care of your best ally.
Go eat wholesome food. This is a non-negotiable. Try to eat slowly and enjoy it.
After that, maybe sit on your porch doing nothing for a while. If you’re up to it, take a nap, go on a soothing walk, play a fun low-stress game, or nostalgia-watch a favorite sitcom episode.
Whatever you are struggling with—be it a question, a set of impenetrable ideas, your messy feelings, etc.—try not to interrogate it. You’ve hit a wall because this something (a part of you, part of the universe, etc.) isn’t ready to talk to you yet.
What if, instead of trying to interrogate it you could just…sit next to it for a while?
You and your “wall” can be like two passengers on a train. Talking, worrying, or jumping up and down won’t get the train to go faster. You’ll get there. You’ll reach the station you’re headed to eventually. And then you’ll get up and continue on foot.
But you’ll be more ready for that stage, more ready to deal with whatever you find there if you allow yourself to rest and refuel now. If you take some time to just “be” and learn about this thing by just…sharing space with it for a while.
The Simmering Soup of the Subconscious
Even as you sit still on the train—you are still making progress.
Rest allows your subconscious brain to digest, sort through, and prepare material for you. But it takes time. Like giving soup (or rather not-yet-soup, an unappetizing mixture of plain broth, vegetables, and spices) time to simmer and really become soup.
All you have to do, all you should do, is keep the low flame burning. Keep up doing the basic little things your body needs. Along the way, you’ll discover that it is the little basic joys, comforts, and beauties that can fill a life with wholesomeness, substance, and contentment.
Let it Come Gradually
Some of the deepest and most valuable insights we get in life come to us gradually. Like old-fashioned photos hanging in a dark room. Certain processes simply take time—nothing but time and the right environment.
The stress that makes us want to rush things actually closes our minds to what we could be receiving during this process! And, if allowed to take control, stress and rushing can ruin the process altogether.
Have you ever been told you’ll get an upset stomach if you scarf down your food too fast?
To use another metaphor, if the recipe says to bake the cookies at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, you won’t get the same results by baking them at 900 degrees for 3.3 minutes OR 100 degrees for 30 minutes. That’s just not how it works.
Taking care of your body allows you to set that “internal oven” at just the right temperature.
When we rush, we risk ruining the process, we risk missing vital things on our journey, and we risk acting out of fear rather than out of love, faith, and integrity.
You’ll get results eventually. Clues will start to come to you, new instincts, new ideas, etc. But another benefit of not rushing is that—even when these pieces do come, we’ll know not to run off with them too quickly. We’ll know not to judge the new pieces too quickly. They have weight. And they deserve to be held for a while, allowed to be fully felt, and to mature, treated with a bit of reverence, and allowed to sink in a bit before we place them under a microscope.
A Final Note
You have to be able to accept and enjoy being here before you can unlock the door that takes you forward.
When that door finally opens, a part of you may be grateful for the time you spend resting and even be a little sad to leave…but don’t worry. Before too long it will be time to “rest’ again. Go enjoy your “day” in the sunlight, give it your all, and when night falls again, you can once again enjoy the mindful, centered resting that it takes to open new doors.