I just watched a video of a little boy who was stuck after pushing his head through an iron stair railing. There he was with his big old pumpkin head lodged firmly on one side of the rail, with his little 3 year old body wiggling on the other. His parents appropriately panicked and tried to maneuver his head back and forth in an effort to dislodge him. No matter how hard they tried, they could not ease his head back through the gap in which he had come. He was stuck and having done something similar as a child, I’m sure everyone was in distress.
His poor dad used his arms and even legs and feet to try to bend and expand the space. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until the little boy realized that he could move forward that he calmly and easily slid out of his predicament. With his head being the widest part of him, the boy simply shifted his shoulders and hips sideways and moved through the opening with almost no effort. He was free! With a little change in thinking, he moved immediately on from stuck and scared to free and unburdened.
And so I’ve been, stuck in my own circumstances lately. My big head has weighed me down after the set back of health issues, work stress, and not enough energy to go around anymore. I get sick easily now, and it comes on quickly. I also can’t keep pace with my normal life and find myself spending more and more time in or near my bedroom. My world has gotten smaller and I’m feeling the loss around the divide between Cancer Land and normal life. It’s hard and it’s kind of sad. I’m feeling it for sure.
But then I think about all that boy and his parents did to try to free him from the bars. They put so much energy into trying to change his circumstances and nothing worked. Likewise, there is very little I can do about my circumstances right now. Even though I keep trying to push against them and find some bend, I just get tired from the effort. I cannot bulldoze my way through this, like I have everything else.
If you don’t know me, I’m the kind of person who will work every angle, try every single thing until I conquere the issue. It’s a decent enough approach when you are young and healthy. But it’s not going to work right now.
I have to sit where I am and think about a new approach.
I know I cannot go backward. Neither could that kid. I always used to double my efforts, work longer, harder, more focused until I cracked the problem. There were few things that I couldn’t just throw a little more elbow grease at to finally prevail. But not anymore. The same old strategies just won’t work- I can’t go back to them. So I have to quiet my mind and my heart and wait for something else to come to me.
I have to move forward. Force won’t cut it, so patience will have to.
It’s funny to be stripped of your normal problem solving strategies. These muscles of calm and peace and quiet are atrophied. Have I ever used them? I worked very hard to drown those things out, and now I have to sit with that? Oi.
But remember, before this all started, I drove up to the mountains to take in the night sky.
I was tired and broken and I prayed for change.
The universe has heard me. My prayer is answered. I get to change, alright. In all it’s lovely, ugly glory.
I will admit, this is hard for me. I have felt very depressed lately, then frustrated by my depression. The novelty of cancer has worn off and I am sitting with an often sick, low-energy body. I don’t feel very much like myself lately. And yet, a seed has been planted. I know that I have been given this opportunity to create something wonderful in my life and I have to push forward toward that despite my circumstances. I have to be brave enough to try, and strong enough to believe that a better life is still waiting for me. That can be overwhelming difficult when life is hard but hope is an under used skill that I believe I can cultivate over the next few months. I believe I will have to save myself from my old foolish thinking and grow into something deeper, more sturdy and more permanent.
It’s time for change, indeed.
And so, I too will be moving forward. I’ll figure out a way to lift my eyes to the sky again and continue to ask for change. Deep, meaningful, lasting change. There are some kinds of love and courage you can only gain from within, and I’ll go to that well and see what I can pull up. It is the opportunity I was waiting for, presented in a package I was not expecting. But life has a way of handing you exactly what you need, and I’m coming around to the idea that I am perfectly positioned to squeeze every bit of love and growth out of this. I just have to change my mind a little, and try something new.
Give em’ hell.
P.S. If you’ve ever gotten yourself unstuck, please comment and let me know. I’d love to learn what worked for you. It would certainly inspire me and put a little spring in my step.