Staying when you feel stuck

Whenever I was going through a particularly difficult period of time, whether it be stuck in a subpar job, in a breakup, or in a period of unhappiness about where my life was going, I would hold onto this “escape” fantasy I have. It was always the same—giving up all my stuff, starting over, and moving to some remote part of Italy. I would take out this little escape fantasy each time I felt stuck. Each time I felt trapped in my present circumstance. Every time I really wanted to run from all the heaviness in my life. This was all my attempt to not be present with what was really happening; to wish to be somewhere else other than where I really was.

It is our natural human tendency to want to move away from pain or to flee from discomforting thoughts. To stay can be really heavy and overwhelming. When the pandemic outbreak started here, I thought about my Italy escape plan. Now, even my fantasy was unavailable to me. Then the world started to close its borders, so I couldn’t even pick a new country on my escape plan. It started to feel like you couldn’t run anywhere. The walls seemed to be closing in. There was no longer a safe place to flee, even if it was only in my mind. That little escape plan allowed my mind to drift away from the present discomfort.

This is why it’s so difficult for some of us to stay home. It feels like there is no where to go to. There is no where to escape to. Maybe your life is pretty good, mine is, and escape doesn’t mean fleeing from some horrible life. Escape might just mean going to Home Goods after work to aimlessly wander the aisles. Or it might have been a girls get-away for the weekend. Now it feels like all those little moments are gone. And staying—when the world is crazy and it feels like a million things are going wrong—is such heavy work to do!

Will it be worth it the end? Will it help you grow? Absolutely!!

Whenever I was restless my Mom would say to me, “Pazienza, Laura.” Patience, Laura. This will pass. It’s not permanent, no matter what your shadow side tries to tell you.

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