Remove expectations from people, and you’ll remove their power to hurt your feelings.

Vax King

A few months ago, I happened to be dropping off my puppy at day-care. I was in mid-thought about a particular client that was coming to see me because she felt like a hamster on a wheel – caught in the vicious cycle of life, but not knowing how to get out.

Something told me to look up, and when I did, I realized there were two rainbows, stacked on top of each other – as clear as day.

The rainbows reminded me of how limited we are, and how the colors we can perceive through the sense of sight is also limited; it’s like the book I read in middle school, The Giver, about a dystopian society where people didn’t know what it meant to see color – that concept simply didn’t exist in their understanding or vocabulary, because it was removed from their experiences.

I then proceeded to fondly consider the English teacher I had at that time, who taught me the lessons of gratitude: through shining example and her display of such genuine gratitude-attitude for life.

And finally, I found myself wondering: if the reason why we perceive ourselves on a hamster wheel, or stuck waist-deep in quicksand, might have everything to do with forgetting something about what we used to be capable of doing, how much is out there that we don’t know?

Which reminds me: if we break down knowledge into three categories, we have the category of 1) what we know – the smallest category; 2) what we don’t know – a bigger category; and 3) what we don’t know we don’t know.

Back to what I was saying….

The Giver taught me that there is so much that we don’t know we don’t know. It blew my world wide open to the magic of – well, magic.

So, if we could add a concept like color back into our lives, where does the hamster wheel go? When did the quicksand stop?

Still following? No? Good.

There are three reasons why anyone ever feels stuck in life:

  1. We have expectations of what life is supposed to look like. The thing about having these expectations, is that they’re expectations not of your choosing; more often than not, if you have expectations of what life is supposed to look like, it’s simple conditioning. It’s what your parents, commercials, and mind chatter has conditioned you to believe about what life looks like. And if that’s true, what life is “supposed to look like” is always never enough. Understand, that the fastest way to get unstuck if this is your problem, is to harness gratitude and appreciation. Find what you love about your life. Savor that. Create more of it. You have to like what you have, or you’ll never have what you like.
  2. Nothing around us ever changes. If there are things outside of you that never seems to change (e.g., I’ll never get my wife to respect me) or get better (e.g., I’ll never get back on top of my life), it’s a major warning flag that you need to heed. To the extent that life is an inside job, what needs your attention now that no longer can stay neglected, lest you live life in shameful autopilot? Want to know the solution? See the writings on the wall.
  3. We’re secretly afraid of what comes next. Many times, we’re stuck simply because we’re afraid of what’s next. We have limiting fears that shape us into believing that the changes we want in life require too much sacrifice. Or, perhaps the changes you want in life require you to truly evaluate if you’re worth it (or deserve it). I remember when I was little, I’d watch the kettle boil water. I was mesmerized by the whistling sound that it would make to let my grandmother know that the water was ready. Once, the whistling sound never happened – the next thing I knew, there was no more water in the kettle. I wondered in bewilderment, “where did the water go?” Of course, my grandmother tried her best to explain to a two year old what happens to water when it reaches extremely high temperatures. I didn’t understand then what I do now. What happens to water that’s boiled? It doesn’t disappear, it simply changes form and becomes liberated.

If you understand what I’m saying, and if you’re not quite there yet: let me know how unstuck you’re feeling in the next few weeks.

Live with intention. Inspire with Love.