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Quagmire – Getting Out While You Can

Although I’m not big on doing themes or a series with my blogs, my last few have all sort of tied in together. 

First, “Resolution or Realization,” points out that the reality of life is that it “just happens.” It does not matter what our great master plan is, things often beyond our control, just happen.

From there, I asked, “are you following the easiest path?” When life happens, because of our need to control, we often allow life’s “happenings” to get us off our own path and onto the wrong path, which generally isn’t the easiest. Once we get on the wrong path, there, it’s easy to move along through life in a rut, hence where I asked whether  is “your life feeling a little ho hum?” At this point, life seems to hold little excitement and we give into the minutia of everyday life. 

What happens when we stay in that rut?

Quagmire – “a soft boggy area of land that gives way under foot” or “an awkward, complex or hazardous situation.”

This is where ruts can take us. I’ve heard people say things like “being in a funk,” but for me, I think quagmire is better; I’ve always liked the word. Maybe it’s because I think of slopping around in the mud, which may be fun, but not necessarily productive.

I remember a time – actually several times – in my life when work was really good. Of course, this also meant that I was very busy with work. Naturally, this came at a time when the kids’ schedules were impossible to keep up with. And, some volunteer work was really starting to be very time-consuming. 

Each day seemed like a marathon

I kept telling myself, it would all slow down soon. But, then again how soon was soon? I would wonder. When I got into my rut, it didn’t take long for my health to start to decline. In addition to the stress, my diet, exercise, even sleep got totally pushed aside.

… Recalculating …

It would never fail, at some point before crashing – whether it was stress, diet, sleep, a line from one of my favorite songs would haunt me:  “are we (am I) rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell?”

This lyric (from signer/songwriter Merle Haggard) would always cause me to stop and ask myself, what in the world am I doing? Is this really the life I want? It was as though the rolling snowball reached a plateau. Much like our GPS does for us when we miss a turn, it was time for “re-calculating.” I began to use these downtimes to reevaluate. And by doing so, I would recalculate the quickest way to review everything, and that included the path I was on. 

Every day we encounter obstacles that can throw us off course. Remember “life happens.” It happens one day at a time, and because it happens so slowly, it is easy to get knocked off the direction we should be traveling. And that’s where things can get out of control – fast. The next thing you know, like that snow ball, you’re headed for hell (well, at the very least, a quagmire!) 

Reflect. Reevaluate. Recalculate. If you do that when it feels you’re in a quagmire you’ll get back on track in no time. 

Soulful Quote:“Are we headed downhill like a snow ball headed for hell?” (or a Quagmire)

Song: “Are the good times really over for good” by Merle Haggard (Easy song to insert your own lyrics)

https://youtu.be/Gv61zBZacpo

Game Exercise/Life Changer: Reopen your Don’t Be A Cow! and thumb through it. Select a couple of days at random, or like Rachel and I do from time-to-time, start from the beginning. You can use the book over and over as it will help you re-calculate your route to make sure you’re on the only path that matters: Yours.

Okay, I really don’t like so called teasers, but next week is really one of my favorites as it offers/includes/hasone of my favorite days of the year. And that day, holds a secret to avoiding getting into ruts and quagmires to begin with. Can you guess what day it is?

Please share your thoughts and comments.

Your Life Feeling a Little Ho Hum?

As a forester, navigating dirt roads this time of year can be quite the challenge. This is one of our rainiest times of year and coming off a wet 2018 has made matters even worse.

When dirt roads get soggy, they get soft especially in lower lying areas. When they get soft, tires will leave impressions or ruts. The soggier and softer the road, and the bigger the tire, the deeper the rut.  Depending on the road (path) you’re on, avoiding ruts can be a real challenge. Often, life works in much the same way: It sometimes becomes a little soggy and we can end up in a rut. As with these dirt roads, these ruts can be difficult to avoid, and even harder to get out of, once you’re in one.

Now, you may be wondering what I mean by “life becomes a little soggy.”

Dog lying on bed with bored look on its faceThinking back to a rainy day. Now, think of several rainy days back-to-back. It can make one a little stir-crazy. I know that this affects those of us who love the outdoors more than others who aren’t so inclined, and I also know many people who love this type of day because it gives them the excuse to watch movies and/or sit around and read books; however, after several days of rain it can be a little depressing and mundane. Shall I say life becomes a little ho-hum?

Let’s say on day five, the sun reappears. If we are not careful, though, the “ho-hum” feeling will linger. I like to think of ho-hum as ordinary, nothing exciting going on. And let’s face it, sometimes “ordinary” can get downright boring. This is what I call being in the “rut of life.”

When you’re going about your day-to-day life, it can become hard to recognize you’re in a rut. Generally speaking, as with traveling down a dirt road, the longer you’re in a rut, the harder it becomes to get out of it. Makes sense, right?

So how do you know? For me, below are a few signs:

  • if you stop and think about it, you probably are.
  • if you wake and follow the same routine with the same attitude without excitement.
  • if you feel your life ho-hum or lacking originality.
  • if you are bored, you may be in a rut.
  • if you find yourself complaining about more and more.
  • if you frequently use the phrase, “I’m living the dream,” you are likely in a rut.

How do we get out of these ruts?

As with being in a rut on a dirt road, we just need to shift to another gear and brace for a bump. Metaphorically speaking, that other gear in a truck might be a lower gear or it may require a more drastic move such as shifting into 4-wheel drive. When these don’t work, we may need a little help from a friend or a passerby to give us a little push or tug. Below are a few suggestions that have helped me:

  • change the way you go to work.
  • change your daily routine.
  • try a different form of exercise, if of course you exercise.
  • change your diet; I find that we generally eat the same few meals week after week.
  • spend days off doing something different.
  • Take a long walk or hike out of doors.
  • talk to a friend or family member that you haven’t spoken to in awhile.

Related: 8 ways to get out of a rut

When we change the physical things we do in life, it can causeour brains to think a little differently. Those physical things change our perspective and when we change our perspective, we change our lives.

Stay tuned next week when we discuss when our ruts can lead to a !

Soulful Quote:

“Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Song:

Readers’ choice. However, you must choose from a genre you don’t normally listen to and you have to do it for more than one song. Listen to several, over several days.

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Change something about your daily routine.

Don’t Be a Cow!