Part 3: Take a Close & Honest Look Within

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
— Arthur Ashe, Professional tennis player and three-time Grand Slam Winner

How do we start pulling ourselves out of the rut?

Being in a rut was a disaster for my daily practices. It felt like I lost all the progress I had made. I often punished myself for letting myself down. I used to be fitter. I used to feel on top of things. I used to feel like I had a sense of control. When I was in a rut, I lacked the energy and discipline to do anything. Internally, I felt I was letting my family down, letting my children down, letting myself down. To the outside world, everything was great and wonderful and busy. The disconnect was what caused the brain fog. There was no harmony between my internal world and my external world. In the end, all that mattered was where I was at that point, and where I wanted to go from there. 

The third step in pulling yourself out of a rut is accepting where you are, reevaluating where you want to go, and adjusting the direction and the pace of how you want to get there.

I realised that if I was always feeling like I was coming up short, then maybe I needed to take a long look at myself and where I actually was. Could I accept where I was and break down my goals into smaller steps? An important part of this process was acknowledging to myself that I had no idea what the end goal would be. I saw a general direction of where I wanted to head and decided to proceed anyway and figure it out along the way. 

Another thing that came up for me in a big way was that I was always putting my personal needs on the back burner. Of course I wanted to mourn for the time wasted, and yell at myself for not recognising my needs sooner and waiting until I was feeling horrible to face it. So I gave myself a short time to grieve (which is important). But I also realised that I had to let that part go if I wanted to move forwards.

Being in a rut and unmotivated, it’s really hard to start something on your own. We need some type of support or commitment to start and stick to something. So I enlisted the help of trusted friends and family. I decided to go change things up and do one thing a day, just for me. I planned the things to be really easy and simple and quick, and my support system to keep me on my toes. If I could stick to it, I would be able to gradually build up. I would not have been able to start this process until I was truly accepting of where I was and acknowledging that I needed to take a few steps back before moving forwards again.

Some ways to cultivate acceptance for your current situation are: 

  • Know that accepting a situation is not the same as liking it, approving of it, endorsing it or choosing it. It’s just acknowledging a situation in a current space and time.
  • Acknowledge that life is full of ups and downs.  Resisting the difficult parts only causes more suffering.
  • Cultivate the attitude that you need not feel embarrassed or ashamed to be in a bad place. Everyone has them (and hides them) but you are definitely normal.
  • Closely examine exactly what you do and do not have control over. If change is what you want, then you can look at the things you can change and work towards it.
  • Patience and compassion for yourself and others as you navigate through your path forwards
  • Avoid haters and judgers and find someone who has walked this path before and come out the other end.

Sometimes we recognise that we are in a rut and then turn to external sources of guidance, but the way our information is shared today, there is so much expectation and mixed messages of how our lives need to be lived, that we often get discouraged or down right confused. Your inner guidance is usually the most accurate.

In your next journal entry, take a moment to reevaluate your current position in life. Are your internal and external worlds aligned or harmonious? If not, where is the disconnect? Where are the gaps that need bridging? What opportunities do you have in front of you and what barriers are in the way? Your inner-guidance will reveal itself as you write. 

Many of my students have also expressed that they do not know what their life's purpose is and therefore feels stuck. It takes a dose of humble honesty to truly look at yourself clearly and access your inner guidance. More about how to access this inner guidance in the next post.