Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Ruts Happen

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

I heard that somewhere once and it has always stuck with me. Some would say it is a depressing quote to keep around in the brain file, but I like to think of it more as a good swift kick in the butt when I need it. It reminds me that things do not have to stay the same. Most importantly, it tells me that if I allow myself to lay in the rut, I will die there.

It doesn’t matter if it is a rut of my own making or one where I just looked around one day and realized I was on the path. It doesn’t matter what area of my life the rut is in. Ruts happen. I think they are part of every life. Some are self-imposed and others feel as though they have been forced upon us. Both kinds can feel as though they are suffocating us.

The beautiful thing is that we do not have to stay in the rut. We have the capability of dragging ourselves out of the mud and putting one foot in front of the other down a completely different path.

I will not lie. Putting a rut behind you is a messy thing. It can feel like torture to change a habit or thought that led us to our deep rut. It can be downright painful to choose another path. It is almost certainly going to scare you. Change always does.

But it is in this fear that we find the juicy bits of life. Stepping out on that ledge and reaching for the low hanging fruit on the very tip of that limb is always scary. And that fear is exhilarating!

No matter where you feel stuck in your life, take five minutes to write down one thing you can do to break the cycle of stagnation and point yourself toward a new path. If you can’t think of a realistic thing, by all means, make the idea as far out as you can. Just get something down on that paper.

Now you have two choices. You can either mull it over for a bit, or you can take that first step. The one thing that you cannot do is to continue lying in the shallow grave you have been in. You may not see a lot of forward momentum yet. But I assure you that once the idea is out there you can never again go back to the way you were, complacent in your rut.


  1. Rosemary Reader and Writer

    I’ve been in a sort of rut for years, Cheryl, and the world above the level of the rut can appear very scary indeed. I’m climbing out of it very gradually. What keeps me going is seeing other people get published and thinking my novel should be out there too, but it won’t be until I finish writing it.

    • Rosemary, you are on the right path! Hang on by your fingernails if you must, but hang on!

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