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Getting Unstuck
     

Getting Unstuck

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by Karen Casey
 

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In Getting Unstuck, Karen Casey presents a step-by-step program, based on the principles in her bestselling Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, for readers to take care of themselves.

If you're stuck-can't get beyond a hurt or let go of destructive behavior or can't move forward-this is the book that can help you help yourself.

Learn where to draw

Overview

In Getting Unstuck, Karen Casey presents a step-by-step program, based on the principles in her bestselling Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow, for readers to take care of themselves.

If you're stuck-can't get beyond a hurt or let go of destructive behavior or can't move forward-this is the book that can help you help yourself.

Learn where to draw boundaries between yourself and others.

Stop holding others emotional hostage.

Let loved ones find their own Higher Power and way.

Avoid turning caring for yourself or others into control.

Find your own free and peaceful life.

Getting Unstuck introduces readers to what it feels like to experience the peace of being responsible for what they can control and letting go of the rest. The gentle, yet probing, questions Casey poses allow readers to explore what's causing them unhappiness or stress and to develop the wisdom, strength, and strategies to become unstuck.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781573245487
Publisher:
Red Wheel/Weiser
Publication date:
05/01/2012
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,338,082
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

getting unstuck

a workbook based on the principles in Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow


By Karen Casey

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2012 Karen Casey, PhD
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57324-548-7



CHAPTER 1

let go

Tending your own garden is a soul-searching commitment.


I have found that it's very easy to deny how "attached" we are to the presence of the others who are journeying with us. It's surely never wrong to be attentive to the presence of the many others around us. In fact, being attentive, witnessing the lives of others, is the highest compliment we can pay them, and one we should make. But letting anyone else take center stage in the drama of our life is the very thing that prevents us from actually living our own life. Letting any one of the many others journeying with us have the central role on our stage means we live in the wings of their life. Remaining central on our own stage is the goal of a life well lived.

Accepting that other people are instrumental to our growth and our personal discoveries as well as our joy is far different from dancing around them and thinking that's the purpose for which we, and they, were born. But if dancing too close to others has been your primary focus in life up until now, get ready for a great ride. There is another way to live, and with the help of this book and the guidelines it offers, you are about to begin the practice of that new way. I think you will be thrilled by the changes in perception you will begin to experience. Remember, it's not about leaving any particular person behind, or any relationship behind. Rather, it's about daily discovering and then maintaining the right balance of anyone else's presence.


Changing Old Behaviors

The cultivation of new behaviors can only make sense if we have a clear picture of our old behaviors. So that's where we must begin. We will look closely at ourselves to see and appreciate all of whom we currently are. Just because we are intent on making changes doesn't mean we should disgustedly discard the person we were before we committed to change. We can only be where we are. Where we go next is the purpose of this undertaking. As the saying goes, "Wherever we go, there we are," but we "are" who we want to be in the next moment if we are intent on becoming the corn or the butterfly rather than remaining the seedling or the cocoon.

I want to reiterate, the intent of this workbook is not to make us feel ashamed about who we were last year or even yesterday. We were the best we could be at that time. But that was then. We are in a new space, a new moment, now. This book drew your attention, so the time is right to make some changes in how you think and act.


Look at Your Old Behaviors

Let's begin our investigation.

Who do you think you need to "watch over" right now? Your spouse? Your son or daughter? Maybe a good friend who has always clung to you? And why?

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What do you think would happen if you walked away from those people and gave up your suggestions about how they might live (which, to be honest, is a subterfuge anyway)?

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Expecting them to do your will—in other words, do exactly as you have planned—is actually your agenda, isn't it? What would happen if you let them sort out their own plans or goals, or solve their own challenges?

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Are you afraid they would be lost to you if you turned them loose? How would that look?

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Are you concerned that without your attention to their life, they'd discover they don't need you?

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Are you afraid they would seek a new "caretaker"?

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What are your most common behaviors with them?

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Do you make unwanted or unnecessary suggestions?

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Do you try to subtly manipulate what they might be thinking or planning to do?

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How do you feel when confronted about your actions?

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Fostering New Behaviors

Envision how your life could or would look if you paid more attention to it, rather than to the life of someone else. Might you change careers, go back to school, downsize your home, pick up a hobby that you have always secretly longed to do but for which you felt you had too little time? Dream big. Be daring with your thoughts. Dreaming doesn't commit you to fulfilling the desired change yet, but it is the hook that can pull you into forward motion.

I have a friend who decided to take up ballroom dancing a few years ago. Her spouse wasn't interested, but she decided to live out her dream anyway. Her shifting her focus to her own life actually improved their marriage. Another friend joined a fiction-writing group. She doubts she will ever publish one of her short stories, but she has gone on to take many classes and loves the connections she has made with the men and women who, like her, write for the love of it and then read to one another in weekly groups. It has given her life a structure that had been missing ever since she became an empty-nester. A third friend, a former flight attendant, decided to volunteer in the schools to work with children who were failing in reading. In the process, she discovered a new talent. She could motivate children to learn, so she organized an after-school reading program that has been a great success. I took a watercolor class two years ago and now have three of my paintings hanging in my kitchen.

What we envision can take many forms. There isn't a right one or a wrong one. It can be a solitary pursuit or one that includes others. But if you know in your heart you need to move your focus off of someone else's life, having no vision is the glue that holds you in a waiting pattern. We can't become what we can't clearly see in our mind's eye. Don't be embarrassed by your dreams. They are God given, I believe. I think God can read our hearts even when we don't voice our thoughts. He is ushering to our minds what we have yet to say out loud.


Begin Your Plan for Change

Close your eyes if it helps, go to that favorite place in your mind, and see yourself at play, or maybe in a play, or working in a new job, or sitting in a classroom. Don't let my suggestions limit you in any way. Let your desires drive your dream.

Dream in the space below. It's not for public consumption but your own edification. Be as specific as possible.

I can see myself ... And it would look like ... And I would feel

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Staying Out of the Center of Someone Else's Life

Being central to the lives of others has been our self-proclaimed job for far too long. As I pointed out in detail in Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow and again in It's Up To You, being a partner is one thing, but being the main cog in the center of someone else's wheel, or vice versa, is not why we have partnered up. We have joined the lives of others because of the shared experiences we are meant to have, experiences that were decided on even before we actually met one another here in this realm of worldly existence.

The life experiences we selected before arriving here have allowed us to make the very contributions that were intended for us and those who walk with us. Because we more than likely forgot those selections we made (at least according to Caroline Myss, a spiritual intuitive) and their concomitant choices in this worldly realm, resistance to what drew our attention hindered us on many occasions. But the inkling to make the choice lingered until we finally surrendered to it. That's the fortunate aspect to this journey. Our lessons linger within our choices until we succumb to them. They will wait patiently until they get our attention. They won't shame us or haunt us. They will make no demands. They will simply wait in the wings until we are ready for them.

For many of us, one of the selected primary lessons was to give up hostage taking. Simply put, this is minding someone else's business so that they will have no business that is separate from us. Making this our focus means we never have to experience life alone, or so we think. Nor do we want those individuals to live a life separate from us. The irony is that those people we take as hostages will find a way to leave us eventually. This is a certainty. And it's then that the real lesson is learned. We are alive for the purpose of walking with one another, not for one another.


Hostage Taking

Because this is such an important area for most of us, let's carefully inventory our past relationships. Let's look at them in great detail, going back to childhood, if necessary. My own clinging had its roots there. The same might be true for you. Let my words prepare you for this part of the journey into your past.

This is a very important exercise. Don't cheat yourself of the growth it will allow you. You are the one seeking growth and peace, both of which are guaranteed if you do your work. What's important is to recognize the similarities in the hostages you felt compelled to take and the feelings that drove you to this obsession with them.

Read through the questions below and meditate on them before answering. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you as you look into the window of your past. After you have had a chance to open your heart to the Holy Spirit within, write for a while about the hostages you have taken over the years, those you still hang on to, and those you have released or are ready to release. Give this plenty of time. Take each question that is posed below separately. Delve deep. Include all that you can think of from childhood on.

Envision your earliest friends. How did you relate to them?

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Were you filled with gladness or fear? Give some instances. What prompted the fear, if that was paramount?

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To whom did you turn for comfort or support for your feelings? How did that look?

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As you progressed in years, did your behavior change? If so, in what way, specifically? Did you cling? Do you still cling? To whom? How did or do you feel about this? Did fear rule your feelings? What still needs to change?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Are you content with your primary relationships now? If one or more of them still mimics some of those in the past, in what ways?

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Can you envision your primary relationships as peaceful? How would they look? How would you feel about them? About the rest of your life? Be specific with an instance that you'd like to change.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Write a paragraph describing to a potential sponsee, or simply a friend who is troubled, what you have learned about the emotional repercussions of hostage taking.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Affirmations can be helpful if you find yourself back in this situation again. Here is an example:

I remember that my companions walk beside me, not behind me or in front of me. They have been sent by God.

Now write three affirmations that meet your needs. The affirmations can be as simple as a slogan.

Affirmation 1:

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Affirmation 2:

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________


Affirmation 3:

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Consider this exercise of paramount importance. Repeat these affirmations to yourself in the early morning and throughout the day, any time you are filled with doubt about where to place your focus. Let them permeate your soul. I have found that carrying affirmations in a pocket is helpful. They stay close to my recall then.


Life without Hostages

What does life without hostages look like? For many of us, such a life seems unfathomable, initially. Our whole reason for living, we thought, was to be in charge of someone else's life. A Life of My Own, a book I wrote a number of years ago, contains 366 daily meditations about this very topic. I wrote that book as a way of trying to help myself, of course—the reason any author writes any self-help book, I think. I'd like to include one here as an example of the point I'm trying to make:

Live and let live is good advice.

The more comfortable we are with the knowledge that each of us has a unique journey to make, a specific purpose to fulfill, the easier it is to let other people live their own lives. When family members are in trouble with alcohol or other drugs, it's terribly difficult to let them have their own journey. Because we love them, we feel compelled to help them get clean and sober. In reality, all we can do is pray for their safety and well-being. Their recovery is up to them and their Higher Power.

For some of us, it's a leap of faith to believe there really is a Divine plan of which we are a part. And perhaps it's not even necessary to believe. But we'll find the hours of every day gentler if we accept that a Higher Power is watching over all of us.

Being able to let others live and learn their own lessons is one of our lessons. The more we master it, the more peaceful we'll be.


Daily Meditation

A daily meditation that focuses on acceptance of others might help your day go in the right, more peaceful direction.

Take a few minutes to respond, in writing, to the following meditation. How does it call to you? If it's helpful, explain how. Are there soothing aspects to it?


I have enough to do just living my own life today. I can let others do what they must.

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Write a mediation that's specifically for yourself. If there are particular people you are trying to let go, name them. And seek the help of your Higher Power. Use the following title to help you focus your attention.


Letting go is my opportunity now.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

CHAPTER 2

getting unstuck

Being focused on the problem prevents us from being open to the solution, making it unavailable to us, but we can learn how to refocus.

This is the work of chapter 2: learning how to open our eyes and our hearts to a new way of seeing and feeling. It's not difficult work, but it is intense in the sense that it takes more than just a little willingness to want to see the solution rather than wallow in the problem. Wallowing in problems is how many live for most of their lives. In fact, we all know some people who never choose to live any other way. And there's a good reason for that. Being open to a solution makes it hard to avoid taking the next step, which is to execute it. Execution means change. For many, change of any kind, be it large or tiny, is formidable.

We all know individuals, and maybe used to be those individuals, who whined about a problem incessantly. Never being open to suggestions for seeing a situation differently is a common defect. The "Yeah but" syndrome, it's called. I well remember in the early years of my recovery calling my friend Rita with the same poor-me complaint, nearly every day. More than once a day even. And finally she had had enough. I had not seriously considered any of her previous and frequent suggestions. "So what," she disgustedly said one day. Stunned, I hung up, both hurt and miffed. Little did I know in that moment what a favor she had done me. I was stuck, and her dismissal of my stuckness helped me see what a whiner I was. It also helped me consider that just maybe there was a different way to live.

I thanked her many times over the subsequent years of our friendship. That lesson showed me two things: the value of a friend who will be straight with you and the importance of finally giving up an old paradigm. We live too easily in the grips of old paradigms, but until we are willing to consider that there is another perspective, we simply don't move on. We don't grow. We don't become who we have been sent here to be.

My paradigm was that I'd always be abandoned. I had felt it with my childhood girlfriends, my first significant boyfriend, my first husband, and every man after him and before my present husband. I am happy to say that fear no longer holds me hostage, but I was in its grips for decades. Naming it and learning what had given rise to it gradually released me from it. I want to share the story of how my release was triggered, as it might help trigger a similar release in you. What this workbook is about, after all, is changing how we see ourselves so we can develop into the man or woman we are "scheduled" to become.

My fear of abandonment was crippling, at times. I watched others like a hawk to see if I could discern their thoughts about me. Did they like me? Did they want me as a best friend? In the sixth grade, when my best friend, Marcia, became best friends with the new girl at our school, Mary, I was devastated. What about her loyalty to me? Day after day, I raced home from school to get my bike to ride as fast as I could to Marcia's before she had a chance to ride off someplace with Mary. And day after day, they had already gone before I got there.

I can still vividly remember crying to my mother, whose response was anything but understanding. It wasn't even particularly gentle. I think my pain might have been too close to her own pain for her to easily comfort me.

This scenario played out repeatedly in other relationships, not in specific content but in form. I felt as if I was on the outside looking in and others were oblivious to my presence. In desperation, I finally spoke to a therapist while in early recovery, and she said she sensed I had been abandoned in the womb. I was mystified, but intrigued, by her words. It was her belief that this was at the root of my unyielding insecurity, particularly around men.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from getting unstuck by Karen Casey. Copyright © 2012 Karen Casey, PhD. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


Karen Casey is a popular speaker at recovery and spirituality conferences. She is the author of 19 books, including Each Day a New Beginning which has sold more than 2 million copies. She and her husband spend their time between Florida, Indiana, and Minnesota. Visit her at karencasey.com or http://karencasey.wordpress.com

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