How to Get Unstuck from a Long Term Pattern in Life

I ran across Rick Wolff’s writing through Stumbleupon. His latest post, Portfolio of Schemes, asks for help in getting unstuck from a lifelong pattern of continually beginning new projects without taking any to fruition. Rick plainly is a creative, intelligent man, and his writing inspired me to share some thoughts about being mentally driven rather than heart centered.

Rick, I would say that you and I are both by nature mentally driven. Anyone who is having an existential crisis and pauses to list a host of creative ideas certainly fits that category. Not that there is anything wrong with a host of creative ideas, I find them a blast myself.

However, the clue is that you are trying to think your way out of a hole created by thinking in the first place. Notice it getting deeper?

The mind is a great tool, but that is just what it is, a great tool. Handing the steering wheel of one’s life to a great tool has some severe drawbacks, which you have been noticing. The steering wheel really belongs in the hands of one’s own heart centered awareness.

Does this mean being squishy emotional? No. The heart accesses a wider range of information in a different manner than the mind. As such, it is in better position to choose a path that is holistically satisfying.

This does not mean the heart ignores the mind. The heart is informed by the mind as the mind does what it does well. But the heart is informed in other ways as well. The mind is only one tool, not the be all end all.

By now your mind may be looking around wondering where the heck this heart centered awareness is, or if this wacky lady is just talking through her hat.

Our culture is heavily slanted towards developing a mentally driven approach. Those with sharp minds easily embrace it. An integrated mental/emotional awareness is lost in the process.

Different things can hinder opening a heart centered awareness. Massive amounts of stored pain certainly hinder it. If one looks at one’s heart and sees a thorny thicket of pain, the first inclination is to slam the door shut on that direction.

Diving into the thorns can lead to wallowing in pain and misery, an unattractive path indeed.

Sometimes we just need a large machete. Leap into the thorns and go straight through them to experience and clear the stored pain. A gritty process, but one that leads us past the pain. What lies beyond is a grace filled heart centered awareness, to state the obvious here.

In other cases, the heart does not appear to be a thorny thicket of pain, but maybe is simply elusive altogether. No skills have been developed to work with it and it is missing in conscious action as a result.

In any event, get out the machete and deal with the thorny thicket if necessary. Then discover how the heart works and how to access the wisdom it can provide when retrieved from the thorns or the closet into which it has been stuffed.

Honor your mind but learn to keep it within its appropriate tasks. Honor your heart and learn to listen to it.

Only in your own healed and fully functioning heart will you find a sustaining motivation and direction for your life. Rick, I wish you well in the adventure of changing an unsatisfying pattern in your life. May you access your own deeper wisdom and joy in the process!

Copyright © Lexi Sundell 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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8 thoughts on “How to Get Unstuck from a Long Term Pattern in Life

  1. Rick Wolff

    Thank you for your attention.

    From the second I hit the “publish” button on my original post, things have been churning yet again, not at all in a bad way. As you see from the comments, I considered and then rejected another idea, because I eventually found it absent that spark I’m looking for, though I came away with knowledge about a creative tool I may use soon.

    Yes, this isn’t the first time I’ve been observed overthinking a problem. And it’s an odd situation to be an artist who has — I won’t say trouble emoting, but I’ll admit I make decisions with my brain way more often than my heart. A year or two ago, I self-declared my atheism, and embraced and came to terms with a skeptical life attitude. Lately I’ve realized that there’s some sort of middle ground between the magical and scientific, which is the artist’s playground. It’s a realm of the human experience that even the most rational of us can’t deny, but that a skeptic runs the risk of turning his back on.

    I’m going to go find it.

  2. Lexi Sundell

    Good for you! I think you will find your quest a most marvelous adventure.

    I agree that keeping a healthy skepticism is useful. Keyword being healthy in that sentence.

    There are more ways of reality testing than the defined scientific method. I am big on testing in my own experience those less tangible matters science often overlooks due to the difficulty of quantifying them.

    After all, a sunset is beautiful, and even though that beauty may be difficult to quantify, it is there in our experience nonetheless.


  3. Brendan

    Nice post, but what if a mind is a dangerous thing?
    I believe working from our minds only provides us the logical, reasoned, justified choices.

    What if there was another way? What if “thinking” was the biggest trap perpetrated on this planet? Where does great inspiration, art or ideas spring from? Not usually thinking!

    What would it take for us to trust our “knowing” and ability to “perceive” as opposed to attempting to “figure everything out”.

    What else is possible?

  4. Lexi Sundell

    I am slightly puzzled that you speak as though we have a major disagreement here.

    I agree that a misused mind is a dangerous thing. I might add that arriving at logical, reasoned choices is quite useful when working in realms where those answers work, such as solving a computer programming task. Use the mind for tasks appropriate to it.

    Moving into a healthy heart centered awareness is what it takes to trust our knowing and ability to perceive.

    I suspect living in fear is actually the biggest trap on this planet.

  5. kl


    Loved it.

    You accurately described the “Writer’s Block” I’ve been suffering for literally years. A plethora of ideas and enthusiasm to write, the ability, the energy… but an inability to stick to one concept, one story, one idea due to a lack of heart-centredness.

    I’ve given myself a self-proscribed prohibition on creative writing until February next year… sick of starting and never finishing. Instead I’m focusing on chopping away that thicket.

    Agree with you about living in fear – it puts us all in our own private hell and we don’t even know it until we switch to living in love and feel the difference.

    Lovely to be on your blog!

  6. Cathrene Gehue

    Lately, I’ve been pondering heart vs. mind, and on a whim decided to visit your blog, Lexi. Thank you for writing such a wonderful post and thanks to all the comments. Some of my best writing in the past happened while writing from the heart, and interestingly the mind followed, offering up logistics and reasoning which kept the work coherent and cohesive. I’m in the process of getting back to that experience!

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