4 TYPES OF STUCKNESS (part 1 of 2)

My mission is for people to "unstick themselves" in areas or life situations where something is stagnant or blocked, and thus experience freedom and clarity. The combination of body moving (that’s the Take A Walk part) and my Mental Chiropractic™ approach to reframing thoughts and emotions produces a rapid and significant shift in how one sees, thinks and feels about a particular issue.

What I'm finding with the folks I've been walking with—12 walks with 9 people in 3 time zones in 3 countries on 3 continents in the past 2 weeks since this site went live—is that being stuck comes in several varieties, each with its own challenges and opportunities.

So far I've identified four major types of stuckness. (I’ll discuss the first two here and the other two in a future post.)

I invite you to read with your current life in mind. Do you see yourself in one or more of these?



When something's blocked in a subtle way, nothing feels dramatically or egregiously wrong. We’re not even all that bothered. It's more a tiny itch than a major pain. If I asked you what the matter is, you might pause for a while and then say, "I don't really know. Things are fine, there’s just...  something in the way."

This sort of stuckness can show up, strangely, when circumstances seem very favorable. There's opportunity aplenty; no major adversity presents itself. Available options appear fine to downright great… on paper, at least.

And yet something's stopping us from moving forward with clarity and power. We feel less than free to seize the moment, embrace what's in front of us.

The misalignment here is simply between your authentic intentions and your habitual ways of being. Usually these ways of being—confusion, hesitancy, self-criticism—are so familiar that we mistakenly think they’re who we are. They tend to be driven by fear and an ingrained impulse to protect oneself against perceived threat.

What’s misaligned about that? Mainly that the threats your personality is programmed to resist are not actually present. It can be hard to see that; the threat certainly feels real, and your mind might “believe” its brake-pumping interventions to be necessary, no matter how outdated they actually are.

Meanwhile, what is present is your soul’s desire to make something happen. (Belief in a soul strictly optional.)

Getting your mind aligned might simply involve:

a) seeing this dynamic for what it is: a well-meaning but automated—which is to say, fixed and uncreative—program aimed at protecting your familiar ground;

b) explicitly stating, or discovering, your actual intention, your deepest commitment.

This core intention is your fuel source and compass for wherever you're going next. Once the mental strictures relax, people find they have both the energy and the clarity required to move forward with power and purpose. 


Acute stuckness is like a fresh ouch: those first few moments of realizing there's an injury. The “ouch” of it comes from the sudden force of the obstacle. Wincing or winded, you stop what you're doing and tend to whatever's hurting.

…which will bring us back to d’oh.

…which will bring us back to d’oh.

I'm thinking of the time when, on my way to a nerve-wracking artistic meeting in the basement of a Chicago theater, I forcefully pushed open two double doors and, as I walked through them, smashed my bespectacled nose into a central door jamb I completely hadn't seen. Two things were true: my forward progress was suddenly impeded. And it HURT.

Maybe a better way to say it, rather than "stuck", is that you experience being stopped. Your intentions thwarted, your way blocked, you can't see your way around this sudden obstacle.

Being acutely stuck, or stopped, basically means you haven't had time yet to get used to it. That's a good thing. You still have the memory, and some of the momentum, of wherever you thought you were going.

You can turn that momentum into motivation to get unstuck as quickly as possible: to see the obstacle for what it is, and get back on track toward your intended destination.

Of course, reckoning honestly with the obstacle might mean a slight or significant change of course. Acute stuckness tests our level of attachment to fantasies, plans, and the way we think things are meant to go. This makes sense, since attachment to outcomes is one of the main impediments to alignment.

One client, based in Europe, had recently discovered a new project she was deeply passionate about pursuing, one that lit her up from the inside. She felt a strong calling to go down this path.

So far, so great— except, her long-term romantic partner had serious reservations about it. She felt, not wrongly, that a reckoning was coming: something had to give. Her acute pain and trepidation were clues from her nervous system that some tough conversations and choices were on their way.

Rather than trying to “problem-solve” the pain away, or simply resign herself to an unsatisfying compromise (as was her default inclination), I guided her to use it as an opportunity to dive more deeply into the underlying intention of all her endeavors—including her relationship—so she could find some solid ground from which to communicate, create, and choose.

By the end of our conversation, and even more so by the second time we walked ‘together’, her fear and confusion had transmuted into the fire of joyful clarity. No longer attached to the outcome but open to all possibilities, she was standing in her purpose with a deep sense of peace and determination.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I break down the final two types of stuckness:


The good news is that no matter what kind of stuck you are, the remedy is always the same: alignment, alignment, alignment. I’ll have much more about this to say in future posts.

In the meantime, I invite you to book a free consultation with me to see how an alignment walk can help pinpoint and shift where you’re currently stuck.

Getting stuck is human. Staying there is optional. Mental Chiropractic™ can help.