Being stuck in old patterns

Categories: ConsciousnessBy Published On: 19 September 20214 min read

The feeling of being stuck

Do you regularly feel that you are stuck, as if you are swimming against the current? That it seems as if everything is going difficult? Maybe you feel unrest or can’t see a way out?

During a meditation I continuously got the phrase “be like a river”. I grabbed a pen and paper and started to write. I discovered that a river contains beautiful life lessons. In fact, it encounters the same things that we as humans have to deal with. Contrary to human inclination, a river remains true to its path and the water continues to flow. No matter what…

What can we learn from this when it comes to difficult situations, transformation processes, setbacks, emotions and difficult thoughts?

A river has ups and downs

In some places it flows calmly and ripples down a bit at its own pace. Another moment there are raging waves and the water thunders along the shore with primal force. It is dynamic and flexible. Isn’t that exactly what makes a river so beautiful? All the different aspects?

If we would not experience the emotions, we would also block the feeling of being ‘alive’. After all, you also shut yourself off from pleasant feelings.

Often, when we feel good, we want to cling to the feeling of harmony. But the more we fight against lesser moments, the more we get stuck. Embrace all currents within yourself, let it be. After a raging wave, you will automatically return to calmer waters.


After having been in a certain stream for a while, the water suddenly falls a few meters at high speed. Once it has arrived at the bottom, it continues on its way on a new path.

Without transformation, we always remain the old. And monotony and only certainty do not make us happy. At some point, that gets boring again…

Our soul wants adventure! It wants to have new experiences and learn new things. And sometimes we’re stuck in situations that won’t help us any further in life..

It’s time for something new!

If we let this process run its course, we may learn to surrender. We often resist that transformation because it feels so scary. Sometimes it literally feels like we’re losing ourselves. All certainties are suddenly no longer so certain.

We resist a profound change of perspective. In the midst of this process of letting go of illusions and old beliefs, it still feels chaotic or shaky. However, we do not yet know that the sun shines behind it. It’s lighter there.

My motto is: be like the river. The water just drops and lets itself be carried away. It does not know where it will end up, but trusts that it will be guided back on the right path by itself.

The water comes across obstacles

The water is flowing and you can already see a large rock in the distance. Does the river then reverse and decide to avoid the boulder? No! It involves confrontation. Inevitably and without hesitation, he defies the rock. And after the confrontation it just flows again.

He thinks nothing of it. It was an adventure. On to the next. What does this mean? When challenges come our way, or we encounter strong emotions, we often avoid them. We don’t want this, because our ego likes monotony and certainty.

The result is that the flow stops. Only the (true) flow wants you to turn it on. Frontally and without finding anything. We may learn that we may embrace and fully feel and experience emotions, feelings or difficult situations. Then it does not settle as a blockage in your body.

After we have felt it, it will let go by itself, and we can continue with the flow. In this way the ballast (the rock) remains behind, and we do not drag it with us in our luggage.

Thoughts and beliefs

The river is challenged every time. Everything floats in the water and comes across everything. Thick branches, dirty leaves… But it flows quietly, and just lets everything float. It doesn’t try to fight this, nor does it care.

I see the branches and leaves as thoughts and beliefs. The human tendency is to fight against this. We give them attention, we want them gone, or we enter into a discussion with them.

But: everything you fight gets bigger and stronger. The solution is to simply observe thoughts and beliefs that hinder us. As the river would. Don’t give too much attention. Do not engage in conversation. Focus on the flow you are in. Let those thoughts flow. And just try to smile at it.

As soon as you take your energy out of it and stop struggling with it, you will automatically see that it decreases in strength. And before you know it, the branch (thought) is suddenly stranded on the shore, without you having to do anything!

So, the next time everything seems to be going a bit rough: breathe in and out deeply, and flow like a river…🙂

Looking for guidance in this process? Take a look at my private- and small-scale group retreats in Sweden.