3 Steps to Take When the Gunk Comes Up

written by Sara Arey

You decide you’re going to tackle a new project.  You’re committed, even excited.  You’re going to do this!  You start planning it out, maybe even take the first steps, and then here it comes – the gunk! 

You start having thoughts like:

  • I don’t know how to do this.
  • This isn’t going to work.
  • This sucks.
  • What made me think I could do this?
  • My teacher was right – I’m an awful writer.
  • I can’t make these calls.  I’ll sound stupid.
  • Things like this never work for me.

How excited and committed do you feel now?

Is it time just to quit and do something else?

Or is this a gift?

I know it doesn’t look like a gift or feel like a gift.  Believe me, I’ve been there!  But what if there’s another way to see it?  A deeper truth that puts it in a different perspective?

When you’re creating a business or following a dream, you’re acting from your true self, from who you really are (see my ebook for more information on this).  You feel excited and passionate, yet peaceful because what you’re choosing is so in alignment with your heart, with who you are and the life you want.

When the gunk comes up – the fears, the limiting beliefs, the unresolved stuff from the past – it’s showing you what you’re holding onto that isn’t you.  That’s key to remember.  All that gunk is not the real you – no matter how real it feels.

This gunk is what keeps the real you from shining through in every aspect of your life.  It’s what comes up in relationships and when you decide to start exercising.  It’s gunk you carry around all the time but may not be aware of.  The gift is in recognizing it so that you can do something about it!

Ok, so what do you do about it?  Because you’re still not getting your work done and you’re still feeling the way you feel when you’re standing in gunk.

First, let’s talk about what not to do.

So often when the gunk comes up, we try to distance ourselves from it.  We push it down so we can get on with life, especially when we feel busy and/or overwhelmed.  Or when we don’t know what else to do.

The problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t make the gunk go away.   In fact, pushing it down makes a layer of gunk that’s now under pressure.  If you’ve ever opened a bottle of soda after it’s been shaken, you know what happens to things under pressure.  And it can be a real mess.

The other problem with pushing it down is that you’re in effect saying, “This isn’t here.  I’m not going to look at it so it doesn’t exist.”  Thatcreates an internal struggle because it is there.  And you know it.

And now part of you is occupied with holding down the gunk.  If you let up, it’ll pop back up, so you have to keep pushing down.  This means that you can’t give you’re full focus to anything else.  You’re living your life with only part of your attention.  And the more stuff you’re holding down, the less attention – and energy! – you have to invest in your relationships, your work, your health, etc.

All of this takes a lot of energy.  If the gunk starts to feel too big, too scary and too hard to hold down, you might find yourself turning to alcohol, food, sex, computer games or Facebook, sleep, etc. to help distract you from the gunk, to help stuff it down, to help you push through it.

So what’s the alternative?

  1. Keep breathing.  Are you taking deep breaths?  All the way in?  All the way out?  When we resist something or try to push it down, we hold our breaths or breathe very shallowly.  So consciously take full breaths.
  2. Accept that this is how you’re feeling and that these are the thoughts you’re having.  It doesn’t mean that this is how you’ll be feeling tomorrow or in 10 minutes.  This isn’t who you are.
  3. Figure out what you’re one next step is, focus on it and get it done.  Remember, commitment isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice you make over and over again.

If you want to go further, if you want to clear out the gunk on a deep level so that it doesn’t keep coming back, I recommend clearing it out energetically.  It’s the one thing I’ve found for my clients and myself that really makes a long-term difference.

I’ll be leading two groups series in the coming weeks:

  • Clearing Fundamental Fears
  • Creating Clarity

If you’d like more information, just click here to read the details of what will be covered in each series.  I’d love for you to join me and to feel the peace and freedom that is typical of this process.

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