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When You get Stopped by an Iceberg, Go Deep, Go Around It, and Go Up.

By Sherrilene Classen, PhD.

Every journey around the metaphorical iceberg, which can be seen as a major obstacle and a terrible blow in life, bringing one to a halt— has definite steps along the way. These are Actions, Negative sensations and feelings, Fear, Love for self and others, Perception of opportunity and liberating belief, Positive feelings and sensations, Self-coaching and conscious behavior. I am reflecting on each, next:

Actions: So, as I was (over)using my body, I have seen the iceberg about two months ago—not recognizing it as such—and kept on going. I did not overlook it, but rather ignored it, or perhaps even dismissed seeing the icy hummock (top of iceberg) with its signs of lingering danger. Then— I hit it—and I was stopped, literally, in my tracks.

Negative sensations and feelings: The pain in my body was excruciating, numbing, sharp, and throbbing—at the front, side and back of my left hip. Unhelpful self-talk ensued, as a regret of pushing through, and limiting beliefs started to unfold. How am I ever going to get through this?

Fear that needs will not be met: The next experience was FEAR – yes, I know, FEAR=False Evidence Appearing Real! And yet, this fear is very real, if you are in the abyss surrounded by the bummock (submerged part of iceberg). And this of course, send you deeper—to the keel (most bottom-part of the iceberg).

Love for self and others: Then, just before desperation, I started maneuvering around the keel. In this process, I realized that the question is not WHY this has happened—but WHAT are the next best steps for moving towards positive action. The WHAT is recognizing that every iceberg that we hit, has a spiritual reason underlying it. Whether the challenge is, physical (as in my case), emotional, social, or mental—we MUST return to loving ourselves and to serve others.

Perception of opportunity and liberating beliefs: So, in loving myself, I realize that I have to make personal changes—celebrating (not overusing) my physical prowess, respecting my limitations, understanding the patterns of behavior underlying this trauma, and trusting the physicians and surgeons. Walking more than 5 million steps per year (3.5 thousand miles), every year for three years (15 million steps or 10.5 thousand miles), and teaching multiple fitness classes, are not sustainable for anybody’s body. The change is, of course, to better manage the impetus (stress, over achievement, beliefs surrounding inadequacy) for all the walking. Hmmmm, upon this reflection, liberation is starting to set in!

Positive feelings and sensations: So, I am still in the dark about the exact treatment and intervention. However, the cortico-steroid injections and prescription NSAIDS, as well as my dedication to my physical therapy program, are bringing some relief and hope. Positive feelings and sensations are starting to manifest.

Self-coaching into conscious behavior. Of course, the better way to deal with all the stressors of life is to feel the feelings, recognize the reactive patterns, and to make time for restorative activities, and new behaviors, that will ensure, sustain, and promote healing. You see, I come to realize, what got us here—will never successfully and effectively get us there—especially when you hit an iceberg!

Photo credit: Rebecca Moore- Ship 30 Collection.

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Melissa Rocci
Melissa Rocci
Oct 10, 2023

Thank you for including the hyperlinks for more information, ie. the examples of reactive patterns, and the link to Sage powers in the other blog.


Nancy Baumann
Nancy Baumann
Sep 20, 2023

I loved your explanation of each of the steps, how you used this for your own exploration of your life situation. It became more than a theory, it became real and understandable.

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