The word snag was the standout prompt from Paul this week. A snag is usually a sharp point or projection that is in the way, that you usually are not aware of, and is something you can easily get caught on. Once snagged you are more than likely to be immobilized, and in some cases thrown backwards. Because snags are usually unexpected or hidden, you have to be able to find what’s holding you in place before you can set yourself free. And there are times, when you need help in order to be set free. Some possible snags could be a tree limb right below the surface of the water, or the edge of a nail sticking out of a wall.
As I began to write about snags, I thought about some of the setbacks that I’ve encountered in my life. I’m talking about events and issues that kept me from moving forward, and in most cases held me prisoner until I could see what I was caught on. I don’t always know when I’m stuck in one place. It seems sometimes it takes a while for me to realize that I’m no longer flowing down the river of life, and that I probably need to look below the surface to see if I’ve gotten hung up on something. As important as identifying the snag, is figuring out a way to set myself free from the obstacle.
One snag that I’ve found myself caught on more than once is knowledge. I’m not talking about just having a lot of information, I’m talking about knowing something in my gut to the point that it becomes part of my truth. This type of deep knowing is amazing and powerful, because it is usually the impetus that propels me forward in life. But, like a two-edged sword, it can also be dangerous because it’s easy to think that what I know is all there is. The danger is when I forget that this is my personal truth and is not necessarily absolute truth. It’s been a long, arduous lesson for me to keep learning and re-learning that my knowledge is my truth and is for me to use in my life, but it does not necessarily mean everyone has to live by or even understand my truth.
An example of what I’m talking about is the mindset and teachings of the religions of the world. Each religion thinks it has a corner on truth and anyone who doesn’t follow what they know to be true, is wrong. Being snagged in this belief creates division among people and fosters separation, because it’s an “I’ve got it, you don’t” mentality. There can be many different ways to get from A to Z and all the ways may be okay until someone makes every way but their way wrong. I may be on road D and you may be on road W, and if we’re both headed for Z and we’re on the path we’re meant to take, who’s to say that because the paths are different, that one’s right and the other’s wrong. They’re just different. When we insist on making it about right or wrong, we wind up with division, sometimes even in families and among close friends. This snag is like being caught by a huge tree limb with many branches, lurking right below the surface and holding you in its’ grasp.
How do we set ourselves free so we can continue to flow down the river? We begin by paying attention to life. When I think my way is the only way and if others are not doing it the way I’m doing it, something must be wrong with them, chances are I’m caught on a pretty big branch. Seeing that I’m stuck doesn’t mean I need to give up what works for me and what I believe to be true, what it means is I probably need to give up believing that you have to believe what works for me. Giving others space to live their choice of beliefs is what creates loving, connected relationships and does away with separatist attitudes
Another snag that I’m learning to recognize is frustration. When I’m frustrated I get stressed, which affects me physically, mentally, and spiritually. It stops me in my tracks and turns me into a shallow breathing, nervous, anxious, ticking time bomb. I find it very easy to get caught up in the feeling of helplessness that creates frustration. Feeling lost, and not knowing which street to turn down or which word to write next, having my computer not work in the middle of writing an article, calling about a technical problem with my credit card machine and getting a person from another country on the phone, who I cannot understand, all have the potential to turn me into something just shy of an ogre.
Here’s what I know to be true for me. If I can walk away from whatever is happening that is creating my feeling of utter helplessness, or if I can remember to ask someone to help me, I can untangle myself from this snag in a clear, calm matter. However, I’ve noticed that there’s this side of me that goes into an, “I’ll do this come hell or high water” attitude which helps to feed the flame of frustration. When I’m conscious enough at the moment to see what’s happening, I can be clear-headed about the situation and work on having a successful outcome. But, if I’m in an unconscious state, before I know it I’m on the verge of losing it and dissolving into a puddle of tears on the floor.
One more snag that is a big gotcha for me is my thought processes that either begin with “I’m too” (fill in the blank) or “I’m not “(fill in the blank). The ‘I”m too’ thoughts range from talkative, fat, old, puny, slow, picky, tired, etc.,etc., etc. The ‘I’m not go’ from smart enough, pretty enough, good enough, young enough, strong enough, aware enough, etc., etc., etc. I’m sure you get the picture. Sometimes I catch these snags at the same moment they catch me. Then there are those times when I take myself out of the running and suddenly I turn around and notice the snag. Thank goodness, my thoughts can be captured and changed.
What am I going to do about these snags and all the others that are too numerous to mention? For starters, I’m going to keep reminding myself to stay awake. It’s not the end of the world to be snagged, but it sure does seem like time is standing still when I don’t see what’s catching me and wind up being stuck. The second thing I’m doing is saying “thank you” to my beloved husband ♥ for reminding me about those little things in life that can turn into big issues if ignored. Thank you Paul, I love your prompts.