What do to when you hit a brick wall!

Last Monday morning I woke with the intention of writing my monthly blog. I’d had a very relaxing weekend and I expected to awake with renewed energy and vitality ready for the week ahead. But I didn’t!

I picked up my pen. I wrote down a few ideas about the topic I’d chosen, but nothing flowed. Each sentence I started writing came to a dead end, with no inspiration of how to continue.

It was as if I’d hit a brick wall!

I started to push myself (a familiar pattern, but not the ideal state from which to write!). I noted down a list of a few different topics I could explore. I chose another topic and started writing but again the words dried up.

When I first started writing blogs this happened a lot. I was often struck with debilitating thoughts – “What if it’s rubbish?”, “What if no-one reads it?”, “What if they don’t agree with me?” I’m not saying I don’t still get limiting thoughts, but now that I recognise what they are, limiting thoughts, they don’t stop me.

This was different!

I couldn’t focus. My eyes were heavy, my chest was heavy, in fact my whole body was heavy. I had absolutely no energy to write at all. After half an hour of pushing and cajoling myself I’d still only written about ½ page on an A4 pad. I decided to quit.

“Perseverence is a very useful quality …. but it’s also important to know when to STOP”

I went out to feed the horses and after walking Alfie (our Jack Russell) and having breakfast I was feeling a bit better. I looked at the diary and I had a spare hour in the afternoon and intended to have another attempt then. But by lunchtime I realised that I was going to have to change my plan. I still felt like a lump of lead and this was no opening for creativity!

It’s taken a week and it’s only now that I’m feeling lighter and have a clearer head. I didn’t intend to write this today. I think I’d got to the point of realising that it wasn’t life or death if I missed a month. But what occurred to me this morning is that right now many others could be feeling stuck or up against a brick wall and the process which I took myself through might be a help to others.

The process is not entirely new, but an adaptation of what I’ve been doing and teaching for several years. But even so, I felt my reluctance to stop. However much personal development and healing I’ve done and however much I know the importance of becoming honest and congruent with myself, a part of me is kicking and screaming, telling me that “I can’t give up, I must keep going”.

Of course, perseverance is a very useful quality and one which I’m sure has saved my life on more than one occasion. But it’s also true that I have to know when to STOP!

So, finally that’s what I did, I stopped pushing, I stopped beating up on myself and I stopped trying to write my Blog!

Here’s the process I followed when I hit a brick wall. I’ve called it STOP.

Step 1. Stop

Step 2. Take Stocktake the time to notice and accept what’s really going on

What thoughts were running through my head?
“I have to do this today”
“I must write it this week because it’s on the list of things I’ve committed to my business coach to achieve this week and which I’ve shared in her Facebook group.
“If I don’t write it, I might be judged (or told off!)”
“It will look odd if there’s a month without a blog on my website”
“What will others think”
The list went on ………………………

What feelings did I notice in my body?
A huge swirling mixture of feelings. I had tightness in my neck and shoulders and a knot in my stomach. But the most overwhelming feelings were the heaviness in my eyes and on my chest – a sense of exhaustion and that I couldn’t keep going any longer! I felt SO tired!

Another thought!
“But that’s ridiculous – you’ve just had a whole weekend off – relaxing, reading your book and sunbathing – you can’t be tired.”

Finally, I realised that it was old patterns of belief which were pushing me. What I really needed to do was to ‘LISTEN TO MY BODY’. After all, how much louder could it be screaming! (I know, I teach this stuff! I’m writing this to show that it’s a never-ending journey. I still get tripped up by these old patterns. What’s changed is that I’m quicker to spot them and move through them.)

Fortunately, I had a Kinesiology session booked for the following day and just in case I hadn’t got the message by then, Amanda reiterated that my body was telling me to stop – and listen – and reflect.

Step 3. Observe your feelingsobserve what you body is telling you and respond accordingly

Once I’d accepted that I was not going to write my blog I looked at my ‘to do’ list and got curious. I decided to see if, despite my heaviness, there were jobs on the list which my body would allow me to achieve. I continued to observe my feelings. In fact, I looked at each of the jobs on my list and did a ‘feel good’ test. I gave the jobs a number between 1 and 10 – the higher the number the happier I felt about doing the job. To my amazement, by the end of the day I’d completed all of the jobs on my list, except writing my blog, and I felt a lot lighter in my body.

Step 4. Practise Compassion – Be Kind to Yourself

After my healing session on the Tuesday I became more aware of the bigger picture. I reminded myself that ‘it’s not all about me’. I’m not only influenced by my own thoughts and feelings and what’s going on in my life, but also by what is going on in the world around me. Right now, we are in the middle of a pandemic. Lives are being lost. Businesses are going into receivership. Vulnerability is at a peak. It’s no surprise that, at times, my body is going to pick up on the global grief. The heaviness in my eyes and on my chest was a clue that I was going through a wave of grief, my own and that of the world.

I can’t count the number of times in my life someone has said to me “Rosie, you are very hard on yourself – be kind to yourself” but at that time I just didn’t know how.

“Self-compassion been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to learn”

Self-compassion been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to learn – and it’s still work in progress. But simply by acknowledging that I needed be kind to myself, brought a sigh of relief and I began to find ways!

It’s funny how the Universe sends you a situation which mirrors your own! The very next day I found myself asking a client “How can you show yourself compassion?” and she replied, “I don’t know?” However, in that moment there was an opening. An awareness that compassion was an option. There were a few silent moments and then she said, “I have some ideas.”

The rest of the week flowed. I did the jobs which I felt I could and continued to be kind to myself in different ways. One day I finished work early and lay in the sun, another I went for a (socially distanced) cup of tea with my Mum, one afternoon I curled up on the sofa with my book and in the evening went for an extra walk with Alfie.

I could tell that I was coming through the wave when yesterday, although I’d planned to have a relaxing day, I was suddenly inspired to spring clean my tack room and sort out all the tack and equipment which I’m now ready to sell!

Then, this morning I woke up and thought – I can write my blog today. What shall I write about?

The title came to me first. What do you do when you hit a brick wall? The process which I followed took me from feeling like a lump of lead and as if I’d hit a brick wall – to having boundless energy – enough to spring-clean my tack room and write my blog!

So, the next time you hit a brick wall in your life STOP and try out this process:

Step 1. Stop
Step 2. Take Stock – take the time to notice and accept what’s really going on
Step 3. Observe your feelings – observe what your body is telling you and respond accordingly
Step 4. Practise Compassion – be kind to yourself

The process itself is simple, but it’s not always easy! If you find that you need support to go through the process then ask for support and do get in touch.

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