And, Yes...It's a Metaphor!
You’re walking down the street, enjoying a beautiful day when you step on something. It tugs at the bottom of your shoe. You look down to see what’s holding you back and roll your eyes. As you raise your foot up, a web of pink trails from the bottom of your shoe back toward the ground.
1. Notice when you feel as if you’re holding yourself back, stuck or stopped.
“What ignorant person spit their gum onto a public sidewalk?Who is it that couldn’t be bothered to drop it in the trash…or at least into the gutter? What a mess. That’s so gross.” In a single moment, your anger about the gum has hijacked your thoughts.
2. Pay attention to the thoughts that come up.
You run your foot across the cement, trying to loosen the gum’s grip. You hobble over to the curb hoping if you scrape downward on an angle, you can remove the unwanted gooey mess. As you carry on your way, you discover that the small piece left anchored in your tread is collecting tiny bits of gravel. Stone fragments grind against the pavement causing you to walk with an uneven gait.
3. Use your tools and resources to do what you can to shift the circumstances.
Just as you are about to wrestle with the next round of negative thoughts such as "why me", you notice an elderly woman standing on the curb looking very confused.
You stop to ask if she is okay. She’s trying not to be frightened. “I think I’m lost,” she says. Over the next twenty minutes, you gain her trust, find a medical tag with an emergency contact. Soon, the woman is safely bundled into her daughter’s car and you are on your way again.
4. Find a way you can invest your time and energy into helping others.
As you head down the street, you realize that the residue of gum and gravel are no longer attached to your shoe. Your gait is even and you walk easily forward on your path.
There are times when we get stuck or find ourselves focused on what’s not working, the best gift to ourselves and others is to be of service. When we are helping others through their pain or fear, we are not focusing on ourselves.
Putting ourselves in service to others can create a shift that allows us to simply let go of what was holding us back. We tap into generosity of spirit and the opportunity to be grateful that we have the time, energy and heart to make a difference for others.
5. Use the experience to express your compassion. Notice what you can be grateful for and accept any thanks or acknowledgment you may receive for your actions.
A Cautionary Tale: There is a difference between diverting your focus once in awhile when you get stuck or stopped or outright avoidance. If you avoid or deny as a long term coping mechanism, you could experience significant backlash or ramifications. Be sure to get support or help if you notice a pattern of placing attention outside yourself to avoid dealing with issues and blocks.