Last month, I found myself parched and deflated. I was lacking inspiration, motivation, and felt like I was just going through the motions of my daily routine. I felt stuck, unsure how to get out of it. With the onset of Spring, I felt a desire to move and create and get out of my rut. But, I didn’t know where to put my energy, no matter how clearly I felt, something.
So, I waited. Surely, the magical bolt of inspiration was right around the corner, right? As you might guess, it was not. So, I thought, how do we get the proverbial ball rolling when we’re not sure what direction to go in? How do we get ourselves out of a rut that feels oh, so comfortable (but not really)? How do we create our own bolt of inspiration?
As I pondered this, a TED talk from Elizabeth Gilbert came to my mind. I will link the talk here (I highly recommend) but the bit that stuck with me was about the power of simply showing up. For her, it was showing up to her writing, whether or not she felt particularly inspired. Then, the creative genius could come or not, but, at least she had held up her end of the bargain. I thought about how I could apply this to my life in general. I felt like I was already showing up, putting one foot in front of the other, and carrying on even though I was feeling less than inspired. However, after thinking about this (and talking to my fabulous therapist), I realized I wasn’t really showing up fully. I was, like I said earlier, simply going through the motions. I wasn’t giving my life any fat to chew on (so to speak) so, naturally, nothing new was growing.
So, I decided to make some changes. Not giant, monumental changes. The quiet, every day changes that, with time and practice, become monumental. I started to recommit to my yoga practice. Not in some unattainable way I’d give up on in a few days. I committed to one class a week that was so convenient I would have to put more effort into not showing up than if I just went. It's also a completely wonderful and inspiring class I genuinely look forward to (most of the time anyway). I knew I needed to get more nutrients into my diet so I started to experiment with healthy smoothies. I found it a great way to get more veggies into my diet in a, to me, more tolerable way. Dare I say I look forward to that green or blue or purple concoction of fruits and veggies and I truly feel better in my body.
So, those were my daily life adjustments. I also had a mental list of things that I wanted to do or was interested in but for one reason or another, I hadn’t done them. I had a few records I wanted to pick up from Providence to further my genealogical research. I had made up such stories about the traffic and the parking and the hassle that I made myself afraid to do it. When I finally went, not only was the process easy as can be, I was able to add three generations to a branch of my family tree with the information I gained.
Another thing I always thought “wouldn’t that be cool to try” was some kind of self defense or martial arts class. It was scary because it was totally out of my comfort zone, a totally new world with different movements and customs I felt completely foreign to. I would also probably be “bad” at it (something I am not naturally comfortable with). But, I reached out, found an awesome studio owned by an awesome husband and wife team, five minutes from my house. As I write this, not only am I taking classes, I know have an opportunity to teach there.
Along with all of this, my life in general has really opened up. Since beginning this experiment, I have been given several opportunities to travel. That is something my life and my soul had been missing for a long time. Again, as I write this, I have gone to Florida, Maryland to see dear friends, and am preparing to go to Colorado, a place I have never been but am eager to see.
The moral of this story, to me, is that you don’t have to move mountains or turn your life upside down, or, even know where you’re going. However, when you truly commit to your self care and self improvement, even in small and mundane ways, life will open up to you. Every wisdom tradition says this in one way or another but, if you’re anything like me, experience itself is the best teacher. If this resonates with you at all, if you feel like you’re in a rut or if you’re feeling directionless, consider some small change or shift that is true to you. Maybe it’s a lifestyle shift or something new you’ve been dying to try but find what it is and do it. Without expectation, as you dive into whatever your practice is, be aware of your life and see if anything about it feels different or uplifted. I would love to hear your thoughts on this so please feel free to leave a comment below. Until next time, I hope you have a wonderful May and enjoy Spring!