When we hit a so-called rut, we automatically reach for a frying pan to bash our heads with. Panic sets in, we internally clammer for a glimpse of recess before realising we’ve walked into one.
If you’ve ever tried to get yourself out of such stasis, more than likely you’ve googled how to. The results are probably something of a repetitive string, instructing you to rise early in the morning, so as to work at your best when not even a mouse can be witness to your new habit. And although there is nothing wrong with this, we are most probably missing out on the best way to de-rut ourselves. Doing nothing.
Stirring to fully charge into a day, waking the inner sanctums of production can be a good thing. But this highly depends on what stage of the rut you are in. And if you’re in a place where you have just entered it, the chances are high you have attempted this tactic. But the rut is part of a process, a belt we should all embrace.
It can be easy to slip into a moment of sheer panic and dismay – troubling the mind with a hybrid thought that did not exist before. But the truth is, the rut is a process that must occur. Without it, we cannot be humbled, we cannot learn and above all else, we cannot supplant works that came before or reinvent ourselves. We must constantly supersede our identities in order to expunge new messages and ways of being.
Sometimes, we should do nothing. Doing nothing is part of a process allowing us to breathe in air of a different sort. I’m not saying you shouldn’t cease to move forward, but when it’s time to de-rut, then it’s time to have fun in the rut. Ruts can be muddy, dry or whatever you choose, whatever you want to make them. When you are stuck in a rut, it’s your rut. It belongs to no one else, and you can entertain it in a way you see fit.
In James Webb Young’s book ‘A technique for producing ideas’, he argues these stumbling blocks are part of a process, a technique for building patterns that can potentially augment ways of thinking. Rather than frustrate yourself with fleeting moments of involuntary deferment, it would seem the so-called rut is a time for play in a child-like sense of wonder. A holiday of sorts for the mind, where you can gather materials like ingredients for a yet-to-be-known recipe.
“Now, assuming that you have done a work-man-like job of gathering material-that you have really worked at the first step – what is the next part of the process that the mind must go through? It is the process of masticating these materials, as you would food that you are preparing for digestion”
This can be done in a myriad of ways. You should follow your gut and trail a path that happens to gently whisper in your direction like the waft of freshly baked bread.
Be humble, be pretentious, be anything you want. This block is for you and no one else. It’s a spa for the mind where you can care less about what others say or what others are doing. Turn your back on social media and the pulse of keeping up with the Joneses.
Switch off your phone to prop up a mind of child-like demeanour. Your mind has no bounds, and critiquing yourself can be an exhaustive process that can overheat mindful revelation, pigeonholing you into expectation rather than your ideas, devoirs and cavernous expressions.
So, hold onto your hats and learn to rediscover the point of being you – by reexploring the inner workings of your mind and reducing the clutter of automated digital substance abuse. Not long ago, I argued how our minds are not our own when smartphones enter the equation, and when we are in a rut, we can use this time to temporarily part with it and recalibrate a division we created.
On mornings of waking to cortisol, use this time to sit, relax, be mindful and stretch your head into all types of ways like PVA glue stuck to your hand in primary school. Write down your ambitions, put them aside temporarily and enjoy your time recalibrating. This is a time for hibernation. A time to dig your cosy nook, climb into it and snuggle for a while as your mind warms to the idea of playful ambition and composure. When you elevate wellbeing, it in-turn feeds back into a palette of playful, instinctual invention.
Featured photo credit: Nationaal Archief