Playing in the Mud: Will You Allow It?

by Dani Fake Webb on June 9, 2010


Eckhart Tolle writes quite powerfully about living in the moment. Of course, his message has some intricacies and depth to it, but it boils down to this:

The only time you have in life is now.

This very moment.

It is what you choose to do with each moment that determines the quality of your life.

One of my favorite examples of living in the moment has to do with getting stuck in the mud. Imagine you are walking along, and all of a sudden you get stuck knee deep in mud and muck, unable to move. You have two choices:

1.  Struggle. Fight the moment. Fight the stuckness.  Result: Sinking even deeper in the mud, getting dirtier, and getting angrier (rejecting what is).

2.  Accept. Pause in that moment, and observe, acknowledge, and allow. It might look this:  “Hmm. I’m stuck (observation).  This doesn’t feel good acknowledgment).  But I choose to tolerate this, because it is what it is (allowing).”  Result: Stuck, but not deeper. Calm. At peace with what is.

You won’t be stuck in the mud forever. But notice which option puts you in a better place to make a plan to get out of the mud. Do you want to be angry, dirty and rejecting? Or calm, peaceful and accepting?

Either way, you’re still stuck in that moment.


Oh the Universe has a funny sense of humor. What you just read, the first section of this article, was written several weeks ago. Today, as I sat down to write this article for the eZine, I felt “off.” Annoyed, agitated, pissy. But I kept pressing on, saying, “I’m going to write this article, damnit!”

Then I read what I actually had written, and it dawned on me: I am stuck in the mud, right now. THIS VERY MOMENT, I am in the mud. Do I want to struggle? Or accept?


It’s easier to struggle. I know how to struggle. I know how to be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. I know how to feel bad about myself for not accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish today. I know how to just get through until I can go to bed and sleep it off, praying that the mood will be gone in the morning.

Struggling is familiar and predictable. I can do that.

But what if I want something different?


So here I am, in the moment, feeling crappy. I am not really sure why. I have some ideas, but I can feel myself running from the emotion. Or trying to. So, Dani, stop. Just stop.

Observe. Acknowledge. Allow.

I like the concept of how those words might stop the struggle, but I wondered what it would really look like in action. So, I went through this six-step process in hopes to end the struggle.

1.  Set a timer for 15 minutes. Seriously. When we are struggling in a moment with sadness, annoyance or a bad mood, our unconscious mind will do just about anything to keep us from really being with those feelings. And, what we resist persists. So, take 15 minutes to just sit and be.
2.  Identify the emotion.What are you feeling? Often we are aware that we are feeling something but we can’t quite put our feeling on it. What is the emotion? (Click for a list of feeling words.)
3.  Find it in your body. Where in your body do you feel the emotion? Does your neck hurt? Is your stomach in knots? Are you hunched over? Do you feel it in your chest? Find the place in your body that is holding the emotion.
4.  Consider what it sounds like. If the feeling you are having could talk, what would it sound like? Would it say words (like sh*t, Sh*t, SH*T!)? Or moan? Or gasp for breath? Consider what you might hear. The point is to get with the feeling – to know it.
5.  Be with the feeling. Focus on where it is in your body, and pay attention. As you intentionally relax that part of your body, listen to what that part is telling you as it releases. You might be surprised at what it tells you. **LIGHTBULB MOMENT POSSIBLE**
6.  Write it down. Whatever that feeling is telling you, write it down. It doesn’t have to be a long journal entry. Just a way to validate what is real by engaging your mind and body (thoughts to hand to paper).

To make this real in a way I hope will help, here’s my process for today:

1.  Set a timer for 15 minutes. Done. Off the computer (my main emotional distraction), into my glider, timer set.

2.  Identify the emotion. Dread. Weight. A heaviness. Intense.

3.  Find it in your body. My stomach is tight. I am short of breath.

4.  Consider what it sounds like. “Ugggghhhhhhh…….”

5.  Be with the feeling. I just sat for several minutes, focused on my stomach and breathing. I had thought what I was feeling must be about work. But I realized in the being that it wasn’t about work at all! It was about a difficult conversation I have coming up. **LIGHTBULB**

6.  Write it down. “She is absolutely terrified.  I thought I was OK with this conversation and I now see that the little girl in me is freaked-out-terrified.”

I wrote a few more sentences that I don’t need to share here. Suffice it to say that I discovered that I am not really afraid of the conversation (well, maybe a little), but that the conversation is triggering something much deeper in me.

What a relief! Just having identified what was going on lifted a big weight. So much better than running away.

Now, I am not magically cured of my fear and sense of dread. It’s still there. But I am much more clear on what it is trying to tell me, and it is not nearly as strong as it was. I have continued to feel it as the day has gone on, but when I do, a strange sense of peace follows the feeling. And I am able to use the feeling to remind myself to have compassion on a little girl that holds my fear. She is worth all the love and compassion in the world.

And that feels good.

I hope you will try this process the next time you are feeling down or agitated by something. Take care of yourself. Have compassion. Accept the mud pit. Sometimes it’s downright cleansing.

{ 1 trackback }

Weight Shift Coaching » Feeling The Crappy
June 10, 2010 at 3:01 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cherry Woodburn June 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Well written, informative post Dani. I know that I should just accept and “be” with feelings but, as you know, easier said then done. Having steps to follow, an action plan, so to speak, for “being” is a good idea. I must remember to do that. (Timers are always good) Cherry

Kristin Z June 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Dang – was feeling a lot of pressure this morning in my chest and totally just attributed it to all the school I’ve got going on – realized it was actually about family situations. Frees me up to remember how much I LOVE learning and LOVE working hard doing something I enjoy – and to put the stress/pressure in the family category instead of in the school one.

Dani Fake Webb June 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I like that insight KZ! You may have uncovered a belief! :)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: