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“Help!!!…I’m Stuck!!!…”

One of my biggest fears growing up was falling into a pit of quicksand and not being able to get out.  There was such a state of panic in my mind when I would see characters fall into quicksand and the harder they would try to get out, the more impossible it seemed.  The other scary part about it was that the characters never knew where the quicksand was.  Without even realizing it, they would be stuck in this deathtrap.
(c) Can Stock Photo

This experience of “being stuck” has become a reality for many of my clients.  I hear it in a lot of forms:  “I just feel stuck,” “I feel like I am in a rut,” “I am going around in circles,” “I feel like when I take one step forward, I take two steps back,” and “I feel like I have painted myself in a corner.”  Maybe you can identify with this state of helplessness or hopelessness?

Inevitably, after identifying that they are in quicksand, a client will scream for help and will ask “What can I do?  The harder I try to fix it, the more it sucks me in!!!”  How can I get out of this hole that I stepped in?

I recently read “An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson.  She compared “the rut” to a Hole in a Sidewalk.  I thought it was very insightful about what can lead people into the hole, what keeps them stuck, and the different ways to get out of a hole, out of the quicksand:

 There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk

 Chapter 1

 I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

 I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

 Chapter 3

 I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

 Chapter 4

 I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

 Chapter 5

 I walk down another street.

 ~ Portia Nelson ~

Remember, to have one option is to be robotic.  To do the same thing over and over again and expect different results is insane!  To have two options is to be in conflict with and against yourself.  But, to have three or more options is to be empowered.  You can get out of your hole, I have seen many people do it!  We just need to try something we are not doing yet!  My fear of quicksand went away when I realized that there wasn’t any in my backyard!

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