The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
M. Scott Peck
Steve Arterburn, a radio host for New Life Live, said to a caller one day who claimed they were in a rut, “That’s great! A rut has two open ends. A grave has both ends already filled in.” I love that. A rut is not final. There are ways to get out of it. When I lived in Louisiana, we’d get stuck in the mud all the time. We’d try to back up and forward to get out, and eventually we’d be stuck in a deep rut. In order to get out, we had to try something different. Sometimes, we might put a board under the tires for extra support. Other times, we might have to leave it and come back another day when the ground was drier. Other times, we could pull it out with another vehicle. But, the only way to get out of the rut was to add something new to the mix: time, support, or better conditions. The rut wouldn’t disappear on its own.
In the year 2000, I had come to the end of myself (the first time). Unfortunately, I don’t learn everything the first time. But, this time, I had just broken off an engagement with a man from Seattle, was in some financial strain that wasn’t letting up, and I lived up North where I hadn’t made friends or settled in to the community. I was lonely, scared, broke, and, quite frankly, wanting to give it up. I realized one morning as I struggled to make it out of bed to face another frightful day that I had gotten myself into this. All of the decisions of my life had one common denominator. I made them. And, I knew I was a smart woman. But, somehow I was failing at this.
I sent out a note to several women that I knew, most of them acquaintances, but nice people. I asked for their prayers. I asked them to pray for some guidance for me. In reality, I didn’t trust myself and my own instincts anymore. I felt like Henry in Regarding Henry. It was time to say when. I just wanted some direction from somebody who knew more than I did, and, even though I wasn’t very faithful at that time, I knew that was God. The next day, answers started coming. I won’t get into a great amount of detail here because that’s not the point. As soon as the answers started coming, and new people started showing up in my life, I started to balk. I was in a rut, and being in a rut means you keeping trying the same things over and over again. And, I was scared to try something new. Because I am analytical, I have to evaluate everything ad nauseum.
It occurred to me that in order for me to try something different, I needed to go against my grain. I really believed that my best decision-making ability had gotten me to this place. That didn’t bode very well for changing my life. But, I figured out a way I could use that to my advantage. I continued to use my decision-making ability to make decisions on what I would do with all of this information that was starting to present itself. And, when I made the decision on what I thought was right……I did the exact opposite. That’s right! I did the opposite. I just committed to myself that whenever a path or decision presented itself, I was going to do exactly what I didn’t want to do. No matter what it was.
A woman approached me to room with me. She lived and worked part-time in St. Joe, and she needed a place to live 3 days a week. I didn’t want someone living with me. I had lived by myself for quite some time, and I just didn’t want to deal with a roommate and all that might entail. So, I said…..YES! ……that was hard. But, it helped me out of my financial predicament. And, she brought with her a whole community and lots of knowledge on spirituality and healing.
I didn’t do this forever, of course, but I did it for a few months. And, my life began to change. The people that were coming in and out of my life began to change. And, with it, they brought new energy, new solutions, and a new perspective. A new group of women started hanging around my life. I never really cared to hang out with women all that much before, but I made myself do it. BECAUSE I didn’t want to. I was born a rebellious act, but this time I rebelled against myself, and I had fun with it. My little girl inside sort of came to life when she could say, I’m not doing that! or I don’t care what you think, I’m doing that! And, I got out of my rut.
I learned a lot about making choices during that period. For one thing, I realized that there are no good or bad decisions. There are only choices with different outcomes. I’ll have different experiences depending on which path I choose. I tried some things spiritually, physically and intellectually. I learned that I could flounder with something and still have fun. Most of all, I learned that I liked women. That was huge for me, and women became an important part of my life from that time on. I always have my little Board of Directors, no matter where I am. I still get into ruts every now and then. When you play in mud, you’re going to get stuck. But, I know how to ask for help and find a creative way around a problem when I get tired of sitting in a rut. And, one of the biggest things I learned during that period is that I can trust myself. I’m actually pretty good at managing my life. And, I can create something different by changing my perspective.