Stuck in a Rut

I wrote this a while ago… I was going to write something new for today, something similar to this, but then my mind reminded me that I had already been there and done that so why not just use the words I had already expressed to say what I was going to say.

This theme of being stuck, whether it is in a rut or a loop or a wound or in the mud… the latter being a game I used to play as a child with friends, which I absolutely hated and only played it because my friends wanted to do so and I loved them… keeps drawing my attention to it. This is partly because I am attempting to break out of a repetitive pattern of thinking, of attitude, and I have almost succeeded but not quite.

Once more around the circular path I must go, to see what it is that I missed before…






Whenever someone tells me a story, especially when it is personal, while a part of me listens to what they are saying, another part of me is searching for the things that they are not saying.

I do it with myself too, especially when I write. I look for the thoughts, emotions, and feelings behind the words. Not the those which are at the forefront of my mind, the ones which think they are running the show, but those which are hidden. Subtle forces at work.

There is something bothering me right now, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I was hoping that by writing something about it, it would reveal itself, but it is being elusive. My mind keeps blocking me. Intellectualising things. Distracting with mundane distractions.

The night before last, I had a series of dreams, back-to-back clips of almost every nightmare I have ever had. Not scary ones, just frustrating ones. Teeth falling out. Shopping, but not finding anything. Packing, but having too much stuff to fit in the bag I had to pack. Searching for a place, but not having a map, and getting lost. Carrying a load too heavy to carry, but not being able to put it down. Being tired, but not being able to rest. Being pursued. Pursuing. Missing a bus, catching up to it, only to find that I did not have enough money to buy a ticket. Frustrations and irritations.

Last night I dreamed that my shoes didn’t fit properly, they were deforming my feet. And I planted a garden where I knew it would eventually be trampled.

Interpreting those dreams is easy. I’ve had them before. And they are fairly obvious to decipher. But I don’t think that that which seems obvious is the actual interpretation. Not this time.

When I started writing this piece, I was thinking about a friend who keeps telling me the same story, over and over again like a broken record. Each time they repeat it, they seem to think that it is the first time they’ve told it to me. That they are revealing something deeply personal, a secret. They ask for my help in answering some of the questions which the story has aroused. We discuss it. Possible answers pop up during the conversation. They have a moment of realisation, seem inspired, seem to have found a solution, a way out of the rut, free at last from the obsession. They leave full of ideas. A few days later they reset themselves, and the whole rigmarole starts again.



john greenJohn Green


I was confused by their behaviour at first. I wondered if perhaps I was the one who thought I had heard the story before, but hadn’t. But it didn’t take long to know that that was not true, and that they were indeed stuck in a loop. It puzzled me. My friend is very astute, not prone to being so forgetful. What on earth was happening to them. Then I recognised what it was. I’ve done it too, although not quite as blatantly as they were doing it. I usually tell the same story with different clothes, new protagonists, another time and place. It is still repeating the same plot though. The same pattern.

They are picking at the scab of a favourite wound, scared to let it heal, because the wound is safe, familiar, a friend. If they let it go, then they will have to move on, and that frightens them. Life is pushing them to move on, increasing the pressure, which is increasing their desire to stay put and cling to what they know. However uncomfortable the comfort zone is, it still has more appeal than the unknown which lies ahead. They are afraid of being hurt again, being wounded again, worse still, they are fearful that they might end up happy. They are not used to being happy, whereas sadness is their security blanket. And if they allow themselves to be happy, then what. What if it all gets ripped away. If they are going to end up where they are now again, why not just stay put.



fear of happiness


Is that my story too. Am I clinging to the old out of habit and fear, and it needs to be released so that I can experience the new that life is offering me. Is that why this friend keeps telling me the same story, again, and again, and again, because it has a message for me as much as it has for them. And just like them I am not hearing the message, and until I do, it will keep nagging me.



John green - liberating



There was much which I did not say in this post when I wrote it… I was listening to what I was not saying, but not to why I was not saying it.

Sometimes we need to revisit our own words for therein lies our story, a piece of the puzzle of ourselves which we are trying to put together, our own wisdom attempting to guide us.

Sometimes we revisit the story as a way to let it go, so that we can move on.

Sometimes… everything is so incredibly layered.