Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Breaking Out of a Rut

Ever find yourself stuck in a rut?  Do you even know what a rut is?  According to the first definition in Webster’s Dictionary, it is - a state or period of sexual excitement, especially in a male deer.  However, that’s not the definition I’m aiming for with the blog post.  It’s the second definition which Merriam indicates to which I refer - A track work by wheels or by habitual passage of something; a usual or fixed routine; a ditch with no end.

Every writer, or even regular folk for that matter, at one time or another finds themselves in a rut; a place where we are mired in the same state of being, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.  We were not created to remain in the same state.  We, humans, were made to be in a constant state of transition; change.  This is first evident in our physical bodies from the time of conception.  Our bodies are in a continual state of growth, cells working their little butts off multiplying, growing and giving life to our bodies.  That is until we reach the point of maturity, usually around the age of twenty-five to thirty, and then amazingly, we begin to slowly die.  Our cells go from multiplying to dividing.  YET, we are still in a continual state of change.  We are either growing or dying.  I have yet to meet someone exactly the same physically after a period of time.  No matter how smart you think you are, no one has found that fountain of youth, and we’re all subject to the same natural laws of life and death.

On an emotional scale, if you’re anything like me, we can change in a split second depending on whatever circumstances we find ourselves mired.  We can be happy, sad, angry, frustrated, hopeful, afraid, delighted and eager … all at the same time. (At least women possess this super power.)  Too often, I believe we are guided by our emotions, instead of our reasoning, and these emotional tendencies not dealt with, most often lead to emotional ruts.  We keep dealing with the same things over, and over, and over. We should be learning, adapting and overcoming some of the emotional ruts in our lives, but many times they’re allowed to handicap us and keep us from evolving, especially in our gifts – like writing.  Even here, in the emotional realm, we are either growing or learning, or we’re dying and retreating.  We should be vigilant to increase our knowledge.

The last scale, the spiritual one, is also the same as the physical and the emotional.  We are either growing spiritually or dying, but we’re always in a continual state of movement.  But, let’s apply this concept to our gift of writing.  If we find ourselves in a writing rut, we are dying in our gift.  It is up to us, to modify our behavior, and stimulate the gift within us, spurring it into a state of growth.  We may not always be in the process of writing the next great novel, or working on a thesis that will change the world, or bring about peace, but we should always be sharpening the tools we have been given, which should be ‘writing’.  It doesn’t matter what you write, just write something every day, whether it is one line, one paragraph or one chapter.  Write a blog post, a poem, a letter to yourself or a friend, a note of encouragement, a to-do list.  

When you put pen to paper (or perhaps fingertips to keyboard) and you find yourself stuck in a rut, remind yourself your gift is either living or dying.  The next step you take will be up to you.  Whether it lives or dies – it’s all in your hands - literally. What’s your choice?  If you choose to spurn your gift to life, you may just find the first definition of a rut in some fashion of manifestation. Maybe ... I haven’t had a chance to study that particular theory.

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