Stuck in a rut: Shock yourself alive

Being stuck in a rut.
Like this metaphor of the rut, like this hole in the road, a warning track, in a muddy road.
You’re going down the road in your cart, and the wheel gets stuck in this rut.
You can imagine this going down the road of life, and you just feel like you’ve stopped, and you’re just sitting there on the road, stuck in a hole.
And often it seems to express this idea of being stuck in a routine, being stuck in this feeling like everything is just repeating.
Everything is predictable.
And that’s one of the worst things, is this idea that “I can predict everything that’s going to happen to me.”
And to some degree, it’s good.
It’s nice to know that I know where I’m going to sleep tonight.
I know what I’m going to eat today.
Having these basic things taken care of: that kind of predictability is great.
You can remove so much of the potential chaos that we’d have if we didn’t have that kind of predictability.
But if we get into the feeling that life itself is predictable, that our lives exist within this narrow band, and there’s nothing else that could possibly happen, nothing can change: that is really boring.
It can start to feel like life is going nowhere.
life is a pointless repetition of events that add up to nothing.
And so this being stuck in a rut: how do we get out of it?
How do we get a fresh new look at life?
And there’s all this kind of mindset stuff that we can do.
We can think about different ways of looking at things.
Have your gratitude, go exercise, get some fresh air, and all these ways of trying to get a new perspective on things.
But I think there’s a limit to how far we can actually think our way out of it.
Especially since a lot of these ruts come from too much thinking, too much analyzing and interpreting.
Everything that happens, we interpret, “Oh, that’s because this and this.”
“That’s happening because this and this.”
“I can’t live the way I want because of this and this.”
All these kinds of thoughts and analysis and interpretation can get us twisted into knots, where we can can’t move anymore.
So sometimes it seems to me like what we really need is a shock.
We need a slap in the face.
We need something like a splash of cold water dumped over our head.
We need something that just wakes things up, that makes it impossible to continue thinking in the same way.
So if you’re in that kind of dumpy state of mind of just sort of analyzing “Oh, how, why, I’m so limited, and these are all the reasons I’m limited, and this is how things are always going to be”: well, then you get cold water dumped over your head, suddenly you have to think differently.
Suddenly like whoa, suddenly you shocked into a new way of thinking where you have to respond in the moment, and you can no longer just carry on this routine way of being.
It could be the sudden shock of seeing a wonderful sunrise.
Go travel and see a view from a mountaintop.
And then just this joy of wonder.
Seeing a newborn baby.
Seeing the open ocean.
Things that bring out a sense of wonder that can shock you out of some kind of narrow view of life.
So that seems like the ideal way to get a get a shock, a shock of wonder at what’s possible in the world outside what I expect the world to be.
But then sometimes, what really works is some kind of negative shock.
We have some kind of a health scare.
Oh, suddenly I can’t just keep going on and on.
I got a health scare, and suddenly I have to adjust.
I have to adjust my view of what life is.
Narrow escape from death.
Crossing the street, I almost got run over by a truck?
OK, that makes me suddenly get- that moment of shock forced me out of some kind of routine thinking, where I have to suddenly process things in a new way.
Now, of course, I may just go back to the same old way.
But that shock at least gives a moment of being forced out of the rut.
And maybe for some people, maybe if our lives are full of chaos, if our lives are full of shocks everywhere, if this is the routine to be shocked by extreme things happening all the time, then maybe the shock would be simply a day of peace, a day and night where nothing happens, nothing interrupts us, no drama, no surprises, just a quiet day.
Go for a walk in the park, read a book, have a quiet day.
I mean, that could be a shock.
So whatever it is, I think there’s a value in sometimes, if we feel too stuck in a routine, to just do anything that results in a shock.
Something to surprise us and jolt us into a new way of processing life, so that we can always be reminded that whatever we think life is, there’s always more outside it.
And if it takes a heavy shock to remind us of that, then maybe that’s what we need.
So I’d be curious to hear what you think about this.
Is it actually a good idea?
Or is a shock just going to cause more harm than good?
And what would you recommend as a useful kind of shock that we can use to shake up our routine?

#stuckinarut #shockyourself #shocktherapy

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