Collage of pictures on theme of being stuck in a dilemma to surmounting to flow and creativity.

Surmounting dilemmas and conflicts to free productivity and flow

Indecision and fear are the roadblocks to success and well-being!

Getting stuck in a dilemma

A dilemma is when one gets stymied in choosing between two unsuitable alternatives. It is frustrating to be stuck and unable to move forward to completing a project or task. The desirable ending might be as significant as survival or as minor as making a healthy decision for something that will be positive or sustaining for one’s health and well-being.

Fear of Being Duped by a Fraudster—a Dream brings insight.

I was checking my emails as I dutifully do. One new bill arrived. I receive most of my bills by email and periodically pay them online before they are due. Soon, unpaid bills are placed in an easily accessible file to be paid on time. I did not expect that the one new bill with a slightly distinct look would perplex me and set my brain off with its problem-solving mode, which caught me in an aggravating dilemma. It got me going back and forth about whether to pay for it or to investigate it. The invoice bottom was odd, as it had the name of my business and address where the name and address of the vendor or biller would usually appear and to whom and where the bill would go for payment. I would get busy with other things but come back to trying to decide whether to pay the invoice with an unusual appearance or do further time-consuming research. I wasn’t sure how to proceed with an investigation or where to make inquiries. I was frozen or stuck in going forward with it and fulfilling my responsibility to make payment for a purchase I had apparently made.

As no simple solution was in my grasp, I would put it aside and then return to it, like a vicious obsession in my brain to complete what I felt pressured to do. In one of these cycles and attempts to bring resolution and completion of the task, my mind took another direction with the thought, “Maybe this is a scam that you read so much about; maybe some criminals are using AI had figured out my patterns of bill payment and had come up with a devilish scheme to con me into sending money to a familiar address with money getting someway diverted to them.”

Interference with my restorative sleep, but a gateway to insight

Thankfully, it was just a nightmarish dream that interfered with my early morning restorative sleep. The dream content was, however, suitable material to reflect on in my insight dream journal. The interesting point was how parts of our brain and psychology work and the realization of how we easily get hung up in perplexing situations that can put us at risk and interfere with our productivity and flow. And maybe for me, it signaled how I am vulnerable to getting caught up in the details, missing out on the larger picture, and getting drawn away from what is really needed or perhaps apparent. The red flags were a warning to be aware of high-tech, AI-derived, and sophisticated scams. I had in the past been nearly drawn into a sophisticated criminal scam from which I was saved by figuring it out before it was too late. See my article about the scam by a criminal syndicate.

The brain working, but sometimes out of balance!

Part of our brain works for us in defining and labeling things, allowing us to make choices for healthy achievements and sustainability. Another reason for the distinguishing process is distinguishing between danger and things that are safe, gratifying, and beneficial. According to neuroscientists, the left part of our brain creates patterns or constructions to give meaning and organization to all visual and sensory data from our external environment. The processing of data can, by the specialized brain areas, make simple or complex data into patterns of behaviors or objects. These patterned formations allow us to carry out or perform, as having to flee danger, hide, or fight for survival, as in gathering food, seeking security, or accumulating wealth for times of drought or lack.

Usually and optimally, all parts of the nervous system, such as the right brain areas, try to coordinate and keep the balance so the left brain’s specialized operations for utility and accomplishment can be successfully performed. If the left-brain activity overly dominates, other vital operations may be suppressed as the right-brain perspective-giving function. There needs to be checks and balances to allow for human sustainability. There always had to be protection and a balance of mental operations to maintain perspective, awareness, and wisdom for any action or endeavor considered or taken. The other brain areas bring in and provide novel incoming information from our memories of experiences. The left brain areas will suppress the input from different areas of the brain when the accomplishment of an operation is deemed more significant or priority over anything else, as when there is the felt need to survive when danger is perceived. It appears to be a reasonable way of operation. Still, when left-brain dominance becomes too much in overriding the need for perspective and appreciation of the larger context or bigger picture, it can leave one in a vulnerable or “operating in the dark” situation. Trying to operate without the needed and valuable coordinated working of other brain areas places one in a quagmire of indecision and dilemma, interfering with making safe and wise decisions and progress. When our mental operations are healthy, balanced, and coordinated, it enhances awareness, preparedness, and flexibility for complications or obstacles.

Extreme fear from past trauma and the “double bind.”

Sometimes, there is extreme fear, especially in one who has had earlier life trauma, as in someone who has post-traumatic stress disorder. The mental operation of an overly fearful individual can quickly become left-brain dominated to be excessively cautious, selective, extraordinarily focused, and hesitant in doing anything that might put one at risk for repeat trauma. Fear and dread of any outcome can cause one to be stuck and avoid anything requiring a decision or choice. Someone may become excessively introverted, fearful, withdrawn, or avoidant.

A popular expression from the past was that people get caught in a “double bind” where any choice or decision is fraught with dangers or difficulties. A person can become severely compromised, stymied, and at risk when profoundly stuck in indecision and blocked from doing much of anything that might be productive in improving one’s situation, sustenance, or well-being.

How does one avoid getting caught in a double bind, persisting dilemma, and immobilization? Or how does one free oneself when stuck and desiring to move on and be free from anxiety, worry, and fear, to get beyond all these obstructions to allow flow and prosperity again? The best saying that perhaps captures the solution is to be like water that flows in a river. There are obstacles, rocks, and obstructions, but water is fluid, flexible, and moving around obstacles. Another similar analogy from nature is how a supple and flexible tree will bend and sway with strong winds or a storm and not break. Tips that come to mind, or at least to consider when stuck, might be as follows.

Tips and Points to Ponder

1.     Maintaining a consistent health program includes getting enough rest, relaxation, recreation, exercise, optimal nutrition, and restorative sleep. All these elements maintain both body and brain health to better function and maintain better perspective, insight, and problem-solving.

2.     If something doesn’t feel right or seems askance or suspicious, seek better understanding, get a consultation from a trusted or professional source, or at least find a connection with someone to have a constructive dialogue to gain a better perspective. If done, being victimized by scams in this high-tech age hopefully can be avoided. It also may be an aid to recognize better when you are caught up in an unhealthy cycle of stress and conflict, pulling you out of balance. It is the time to take any steps necessary to avoid damage or a downturn in your mental and physical health. It is time for you to identify the issue and find remediation or help from a valued source.

3.     I find insight dream journaling a valuable tool to get necessary insight and perspective on important things that might lurk below the surface of our thinking, planning, and calculating mind. (Put reference in about my insight, dream journaling article.) Try it; you may find it fun and helpful.

4.     Suppose we don’t constantly strive for awareness and perspective. In that case, it is easy to get too caught up in our left brain or restricted way of thinking, planning, and perhaps scheming that may lead us in the opposite direction of our best interests or lead to unhealthy stress, conflict, and unproductivity. It is a path away from health, happiness, and well-being. Getting caught up in scams, deception, dilemmas, immobilization, and inflexibility often results from a lack of self-care and awareness or over-thinking or planning something in isolation or away from potentially helpful others as social connections. For many, the root problem may be the disadvantage of lack of resources and the disadvantages of poverty or those that are victims of discrimination.

5.     Your ideas are welcome; two or many heads are often better than one.

For the full original article, video go to; for the audio podcast, go to

For a consultation with Dr. Parks, for help in gaining clarity and perspective, go to

I appreciate your interest. Please share with others. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter and podcast at All content is created and published for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional or medical services or guidance; Always seek your healthcare provider’s care regarding medical or mental health conditions. This communication is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. Thank you.

anxiety, conflict, integrative approaches, Integrative Psychiatry, productivity, PTSD, trauma, well-being


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