Getting Unstuck

Last night I was watching one of my favorite “escape” films, The African Queen.

Kate and Bogie were stuck in a swamp, flat out on a mud bar with no path out. “That’s it, Rosie, we’re done for,” Bogie says and Kate starts to pray. The camera pans up and we see that the river is right behind them. All it takes is an evening rainstorm to float them back out on their journey.

It reminded me of one of my own travel memories. I was “caving” in Wales. This means crawling through a wet cave in a yellow Teletubbie suit on your hands and knees. It was my first caving experience and my guide was right behind me when I got stuck in a tight crawlspace. My heart started racing. My body froze rigid. “Oh God, I’m stuck,” I cried.

“No!” she countered quickly. “You’re not stuck. Listen to me. You’re never stuck.” She calmed me and told me that if I relaxed my body would find a way out and incredibly, it did.

I remember her words every time I feel “stuck” in life.

“You’re never stuck, relax and you’ll find a way.” Like Kate and Bogie, just when we think we’re totally in the mud and mire of our lives, we find a way out, a path, an idea, a new goal. We become unstuck and float back out on our life’s journey.

Life often gives us rainstorms that get us out of the mud–life’s little push that says, time to move on. We lose a job, end a marriage or get a high cholesterol rating and a warning from the doctor. That’s the rain filling up underneath our boat, floating us back out onto our own river.

I’ve just spent a month cleaning out five years of writer’s notes and press kits from my house. Even as I grumbled over the task I could feel the water rushing beneath my proverbial prow. Suddenly there was change and movement. Space for something new.

We all long for “escape,” “getaways,” and vacations from the everyday. But in order to truly get anywhere, we first have to get unstuck from where we are. Here’s to the benefits of moving on!

Gretchen Kelly

Escapes Editor