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The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions.  ~Ellen Glasgow

I recall a couple of years ago feeling as though I was in a rut.  Let me tell you, it was awful.  The realization came over me as one day I was driving on a familiar street in my town and then it hit me.  Just like that. Suddenly  it occurred to me that I must have traveled down that road literally thousands of times.  Same old houses, same old view, same old route. I could probably drive that route in my sleep.  I wondered if part of me was dying and I didn't even know it, because I've always thought that familiarity can numb our souls if we're not careful.

At times the news features someone with an ordinary job who turns it into something extraordinary, like the dancing traffic cop, for example.Most of us love those stories and maybe we even secretly wish we had the courage to mix it up.  You know, make the routines of life into something not so routine. I wonder if the traffic cop dances to keep his  soul alive as much as anything.

How many times have you been through a check out line at the store and the clerk functions like the walking dead?  Or the lady at the toll booth who takes your coins without an ounce of personal connection or soul.  Routine is part of life.  But routine doesn't need to become a rut and neither does it have to kill us.

Here are some ways to avoid ruts in life:
  • Volunteer somewhere 
  • Spend time with people who are different than yourself
  • Plan regular trips out of your town or state or even country if you can
  • Drive, walk or bike different routes to work or school just because you can.  
  • Start something new and push yourself to stay with it
  • Read a different kind of book than you usually prefer
  • Figure out how to turn the ordinary aspects of your job into something extraordinary
  • Pay attention to the people around you and do something to let them know you see them and notice them.
  • Listen to a variety of music
  • Check your heart often to see if you're just going through the motions in any way.
  • If you discover you are going through the motions, then do something to get out of that rut.
  • Take regular personal retreats

How about you? What have you intentionally done to avoid being in a rut?


  1. Is there a difference between being in a rut and routine? I think most of us get a sense of security by having routine in our lives. Maybe that's because most of us say we want change but change is hard, un-nerving at times, and has a tendency to being out our insecurities. probably why our rountines end up ruts!! =)

  2. thanks, kathy! good to hear your thoughts.

    i think routine is good... it saves us the energy of having to figure out every day how we are going to structure our days. routine even helps us to be more productive. it's when the routine becomes a rut that some creativity is required to mix it up.