Often when we find ourselves feeling down, depressed, anxious or not like ourselves, our first move is to try to get out of it. We try to avoid or ignore the pain, fight it with positive thinking, or dive into it so deeply we that we can’t seem to find a way out. We get stuck – stuck running, stuck despairing, or stuck feeling numb.
In my work with clients, it’s at this point that a childhood camp song, “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” comes to mind:
“We’re going on a bear hunt
We’re gonna catch a big one!
I’m not scared,
What a beautiful day!
Uh oh! Mud!
We can’t go under it,
We can’t go over it –
We have to go through it!”
What we are taught about pain, uncomfortable emotions, and suffering can impact how we relate to these unavoidable experiences. Were you taught that pain is a sign of weakness or defectiveness? Were you taught that pain has value or is a signal to slow down? Were you never taught a thing about emotions?
Much of my work with clients is about making meaning from suffering. It’s a question of, “This is what I’m dealing with. What now?” By changing our relationship to suffering, we can become unstuck. From there, healing begins to flow.
At some point, we run and run until we become stuck in the metaphorical mud – unable to move on despite the best efforts. We can’t beat ourselves up for being there. Maybe you are in that mud now – it’s never too early or too late to get moving.