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  • Writer's pictureAscent Leadership Program


Most, if not all of us, have had the experience of being in "flow". Earlier this week, I felt the state of flow, while co-facilitating with Cassie during an in-person workshop. The result was increased energy, ease and the feeling of being fully absorbed in the moment. I love flow! So, you can imagine I was a little taken back when I heard Arawana Hayashi, creator of Social Presencing Theater, say "flow is over-rated" and she was more interested in "stuck". But, I thought flow was the goal! Arawana says we all have a "stuck", a place where things are not moving forward. What can be learned from your "stuck"? How do we get to what we don’t know we don’t know?

First, some stuck practice principles.

  1. Being stuck is never a problem, despite what we tell ourselves. Can we instead see our "stuck" as an opportunity to innovate and learn?

  2. It's not you, it's not "I'm stuck". You're taking care of it, attending to it and working with it.

  3. No one is stuck by themselves. Like the picture above, many cars make up the traffic jam and we are all connected.

  4. It's the perfect invitation for learning. Can I slow down enough from all my fixing, solving and become more conscious to what is going on? Outside of me, inside of me and where I'm on auto-pilot?

  5. Stuck isn't sustainable or static, whether it is individually or systemic. It yearns to move forward. It's part of having a healthy emotional system. Notice "motion" is the main part of the word "emotion".

The Stuck Practice takes us away from our thinking process about an experience and into our “body-knowing” – the wisdom of the felt experience. The practice comes from the field of Social Presencing Theater, a book and methodology, of the Presencing Institute. You can learn more about the practice at this link.

The key to the practice is to suspend judgment and open up by slowing down our mental chatter and get still, so we can redirect our attention to what our body can teach us about what we are experiencing. The felt experience helps us move out of our thought and labeling processes and into a new space of awareness. In this new space we can access additional meaning, understanding, and direct knowing, if we can slow down enough to pay attention to it.

My own recent experience with the Stuck exercise was amazing. Strangers, who I had met just minutes before in a breakout room, nailed my inner chatter about my "stuck" issue by observing my body "shape" (the form I chose to demonstrate my stuck). They didn't solve my problem or tell/suggest anything I should do. They simply shared what they saw and felt from my shape. I was grateful I didn't let my initial skepticism and resistance to the process keep me from this experience. It reminded me of a quote I saw recently, "It doesn't help to listen carefully if you're only going to listen for stuff you already know".

If you're feeling stuck, this exercise may help you to move forward. Turn the issue over to the body and give your mind a break.

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