Forward Living: When at a standstill it helps to shift gears

Although the highway department did a magnificent job clearing the roads during and after the “snow challenge,” I found that getting around town was still a job. And as an added bonus I got stuck, twice. Yup, twice!

I drove a friend home, pulled into her driveway and smack into a snowdrift. Her neighbors came to my aid, but nada! Finally, a guy driving a truck carrying Porta-Potties pulled up and got me out. I don’t make this stuff up! 

Returning home from my yoga class and feeling Zen-like, I made a wide turn into my driveway and landed on a pile of snow and ice. Don’t ask! Don’t know! Blame it on the driveway. My car stood still while my wheels kept spinning. I was going nowhere, and fast.

I called a friend and, while waiting for him to arrive, I became increasingly agitated. I live on a cul-de-sac that is devoid of street lights. (Usually I like it.) I had forgotten to turn on the outside lights that would have illuminated my driveway. Poof! My Zen-like calm vanished. I began to obsessively spin my mental wheels — and you know where that got me.

Shortly after the “ice and snowdrift challenge” I had tea with a widowed friend. She asked how I managed to move on. (I guess my dubious status of being widowed twice makes me an expert!) I commiserated with her and agreed it was indeed the “worst of the worst.” My woe-is-me-why-me and damn-it’s-not-fair mantra began to grate on my own nerves. (Imagine how I exasperated others?)

I confided that the pain was too great to continue to be stuck in neutral; experience told me to change gears. I put myself in “drive” and ventured out on a very bumpy road. After much travail I arrived at a beautiful town called “Peace.”

Ah, me. We humans get stuck frequently, right?

Being stuck in the world of “never again” is a biggie. Life or a person may have hurt us; I get it. To save ourselves from feeling vulnerable, we put up our guard and dig a moat around ourselves. Then we wonder why we’re lonely. We put distance between ourselves and the good that can come into our lives. Miraculously, there may be a brave soul willing to cross that moat and lead us across to the land of the living.

Many are stuck in jobs they hate because they fear the unknown. I read an article about a gal who, when she returned from work every evening, would head to her computer and type the phrase “I hate my job” until she filled a whole page. Talk about spinning wheels! I would venture to guess that this gal was not only spewing negative energy in her place of employment, but was living a miserable existence.

Sadly, many folks are stuck in unhealthy or abusive relationships — and they know it. I have always used this Ceil-ism with anyone who asked for my advice: “You’ll always find poop in the toilet. It depends on how many times you’re willing to flush.” Usually, after it overflows a few times, it’s time to call a plumber (very expensive) or move on!

No one enjoys throwing their lives into chaos and uncertainty, but being stalled is equally frightening. Life is continual movement, whether we like it or not. Seasons change, stars and galaxies change, people change, lives are brought to a grinding halt by things we cannot control. To be stuck emotionally is a sin against oneself. It’s akin to spinning our wheels and remaining in neutral. We can’t move forward or back.

The poet Robert Frost wrote: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

And so it does. Question is: Are you gonna stay in neutral or shift gears? If you choose the latter, I’ll see you down the road …

Iannelli_CMs. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.