Feeling stuck, like fate won’t budge – no matter how hard you push? And with too many minutes to spare, are you afraid the thrill is gone from life, never to return? With today’s always-on attitude, any down phase may seem so empty and boring that you’ll try any old jumpstart to get things moving again. But quiet times can serve you well – if you use them to get more deeply in touch with yourself.
In fact, a letup may be exactly what you need – a chance to decide whether you’re headed in the right direction, or just pursuing what friends and fashion dictate. Actually, life is handing you the ultimate luxury – leisure to explore yourself. So take a slow cleansing breath, and tune in. You’ll probably discover that there’s a lot more going on than you thought. And tending to your own needs right now will super-prep you for that inevitable day when the pace picks up again!
Some spiritual counselors actually advocate setting up some distance when you want to clear obstacles or achieve a goal. They’ll recommend a calming weekend getaway, for example, or suggest that you let voicemail do the talking for a while. The reason: distance and detachment shut off that “desperate energy” that can ironically push away whatever it is that you really want.
But if you need more convincing (and something to do!), think back now to the times you grabbed something not-quite-right so you could fill a void. Without any self-blame, use those past experiences as a guide to making better choices in the future. Mull over what you didn’t like. Then, because putting your desires in writing helps them manifest, jot down what you’d like to have instead.
At full-speed-ahead, you may ignore your body’s needs. Now you can cater to them. Do you often skimp on rest and relaxation? Investigate tranquility boosters like meditation, the different types of massage – or yoga. Use written affirmations to release the need to push yourself ever onward. Would you like to stop smoking or overindulging in food or alcohol? Seek out a therapist or a support group. You might also start a health journal, to help you focus and chart your progress.
Exercise is a natural healer. But opt now for an easy walking workout over a go-go regimen such as spinning. Studies show that regular walking not only burns calories and shapes up your circulatory system, but it also helps ease depression. For maximum benefit, turn walking into a meditation by repeating a mantra in time to your movements. “Left, right, left, right” will do just fine.
A hectic life may be your emotional anesthetic. But you can’t heal completely until that “drug” wears off, and you can pinpoint the source of the pain. You might routinely put the needs of others before your own – overworking, over-giving, over-pleasing, and always feeling like you’re the last in line. So at least once a day, do something only for you. Buy fresh flowers, get lost in the sunset, meander down a different street. How does it make you feel? Perfectly okay,or a little uneasy? Keep going until it’s second nature!
Relationships may also need a boost. If you’re always waiting for the non-committal to commit, or the unavailable to become available, it’s only natural to feel ripped off and hurt. Make a vow not to “settle” again. To prod your unconscious (which “thinks” in pictures more than words) put together a collage of your ideal relationship, using magazine photos.
Tie up loose ends
Now’s the moment to finish old business – whether it’s a small matter like returning a borrowed umbrella, or a big one, like delivering an overdue apology. As you chuck that psychological baggage, you can also dump any physical debris that’s cluttering up your living space. Drag it to the curb, box it up for charity, or post it for sale on eBay – and remind yourself that clearing it out makes room for something brand-new. Then freshen up what’s left, so it feels new as well.
Now it’s time to start making plans for the new, rested you. With all your new insights about what hasn’t worked in the past, you can outline what you’d like to see in your life from now on. Let your imagination soar, disregarding the old restraints and outdated expectations that may have held you down before. You can put it in writing, and use photos too. Stick with your plan – and soon you’ll turn a so-called slump into a brand-new life.
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