Stuck in a rut. Hmm…what does that mean?
A rut: a path, a channel,a track, a trench. When it comes to creating ease, a rut can be a good thing. Those first few runs down the snowy hill with a sled are tough going, but after multiple trips that pack down the snow – wheeeee! Getting into a groove- we want that. In the 60’s “groovy” meant filled with cool, ease and, like man, way fun.
Learning is like that. Establishing patterns is like that. So what happens to make an established pathway, a safe and well maintained superhighway, you might say, feel – er, not so super.
One thing that happens is our life situations change, and while we change and grow along with those situations, the pathway we established to support the “old” us, doesn’t help us anymore. In fact, since other parts have grown and this part hasn’t, it can actually hinder forward motion. This can feel like struggle, frustration, even anger, and this saps our self-esteem.
Another thing that happens is we lose sight of the meaning of the routine. We get complacent. We had set up patterns (consciously or unconsciously) to help us feel safe during change, but the routine becomes an end unto itself, instead of a series of steps to get us though something difficult or on to somewhere new.
Before we know it, we are “going through the motions.” We are no longer participating, but we’re are hoping that the motions will stand in for meaning. Nope. Boredom, apathy and lethargy can be signs that this is what’s happening.
Stuck in a rut can look like a small thing, like realizing that the, walk to kitchen -> make coffee while grumbling, morning routine used to set you up for the day, but now, you don’t even notice the taste of the coffee. Or it could be bigger, like waking up to the fact that the work you dreamed about doing and thought you would be buried doing, no longer makes you feel anywhere near good anymore (that was me two years ago).
What to do? First, change something. Change something small. Have tea. Get a new mug. Practice paying attention. Small changes beget bigger ones. Ask the part of you that dismisses the small thing as pitiful compared to the big change that’s really needed, to please take a break while you play a bit.
This video is artist Levni Yilmaz ‘s take on getting out of rut – it’s funny- and you’ll understand how it applies to you, cause you’re smart.