Do you ever feel stuck and frustrated with habitual patterns that surface time and time again?

We all have our personal bug-a-boos. Procrastination, overcommitment, exhaustion, fear of commitment, fear of failure, the list goes on…

Our instinct is to chastise these parts. But getting to know them — with kindness — is actually the key to understanding why these patterns arise and how we can disarm them.

One way to get to know our bug-a-boos is through a tool called the Sensitivity Cycle.

Developed by Ron Kurtz, the Sensitivity Cycle is an aspect of the Hakomi Method, a mindfulness-centered somatic psychotherapy modality.

It focuses on four elements: Clarity, Action, Nourishment, Rest/Reflection.

When all elements are working in harmony, we move through our lives with ease. When one or more of the elements are out of wack, we can get stuck.

Sensitivity Cycle

Let’s look at each element of the cycle.

  • Clarity: The ability to learn from an experience and gather enough information to be confident about what comes next.
  • Action: Using the clarity you’ve gained to take action and create change.
  • Nourishment: Experiencing the effectiveness of the action and taking in satisfaction or recognizing depletion.
  • Rest/Reflection: The ability to process and integrate experiences by holding time and space for yourself without moving into next action.

For me, I notice that I get stuck on clarity and rest. I can move mountains (no action barrier here) and I can enjoy the fruits of moving those mountains (I like a good celebration). But I don’t often rest before starting my next project. And I struggle taking the time to get clarity on where I really want to devote my energy next.

I get stuck feeling exhausted and out of alignment with my purpose.

Another example… a friend of mine knows exactly the professional shift he wants to make. He talks about it. He journals about it. But he struggles taking the actions that will get him there — taking a class, setting up informational interviews, building a portfolio.

He doesn’t have a clarity barrier. He seems very lit up about where he wants to go. But there’s some action barrier getting in the way.

The elements of the sensitivity cycle can help you diagnose where you might be getting stuck. Once you identify those places you struggle, you can start to work with them — getting to know them and surfacing other options/choices you can make.

We all have bug-a-boos. But they don’t have to control us. As we learn more about them, we can loosen their grip.