07 March 2010

Digging myself out of a Rut

I don't know if you have noticed, but I am in the process of change. Deep personal change. A reconstruction of how I see myself in this wacky world. I am digging down deep.

It isn't that sudden heart-stopping explosive change that happens to you when you leap headfirst into the chasm. Its more like a gradual inner realization, the opening of a flower and everything that can happen because of it.

My inner eye has been attracted to positive energy lately, an attraction I have never experienced before on such a level. It is feeding me in a place that is starved and shrivelled. And I am still hungry.

Coming from a crusty, sarcastic queen like me, this is quite something. Its cramping my style.

It might have started when I was up in the CN tower in Toronto on New Year's Eve, in the wee hours before 2010. I was with all four of my boys on the observation deck observing the city from up high, we were glowing alternately with red and green light as the lit tower transformed itself for the city.

As we went around and around the circular deck, the lighted contours of the city down below, I would see my kids ahead of me, completely washed in red and then gradually in green taking in the view. And it struck me how that wash of colour changed things. When they were washed in green it felt fake (this is Christmas tinsel green - probably the worst shade of it) and slow and, life-sucking, but when they were washed in red, there was a feeling of energy, possibility...

And thats when I had the "aha". Strange to have an "aha" in the CN tower... of all cheesy things to happen...but when do "aha's" happen on beautiful mountain tops? Its usually when we're picking out shampoo. Or seeing the world not from a mountain top but from a tall, cheesy space pod shaped building.
The universe has a superb sense of humour.

I had been ruminating (as I am wont to do) about my career future, as I've been in school forever and was at the beginning of the last semester of my ESL teaching program at U of T.  I needed to get a job - and was thinking of the prospects of getting a decent job teaching academic English to foreign students here in Toronto, and from my perspective, my chances were bleak compared to other people in my program, I had no experience teaching, nor do I have a masters degree, nor do I...

I was in the old rut, a very familiar rut of despair, of giving up. From this rut, I then had the "aha". My weather beaten, trusty old rut of despair, as familiar and cozy as it was, was getting a little suffocating.
I realized that what had to change was not what was out of my control, but what was in my control. Not a knew concept to me, none of this was, but it all knit together into something new - i think thats how "ahas" happen - an accumulation of events and thoughts, feelings and experiences that come to a head with one trigger -  like seeing red for instance -.

I knew down to the bone that it was all about how I chose to see the world. It was my choice entirely. I had that kind of power. I was not a victim of the world and its goings ons.  That old rut  was doing the poisoning - and only if I let it.

It had, in the past, for as long as I knew, caused me great suffering. The fact that I was an introvert growing up in an extrovert-prizing world didn't help either, but I thought I had rooted it out when I realized that it had helped feed my string of mini depressions. They're long gone, as I had managed to at least control how long I would sit in that rut before the big "D" would set in it's talons.

But that didn't fill in the rut. Despite my more sunny mentality in the last years, I have not broken my habit of stepping in that rut long enough to sell myself short. It did not dawn on me that I was clinging to an old form - and that imbedded sarcasm was one sign of this - a sign of anger over being powerless - a victim of circumstance. I see this now and I am embarassed. temporarily. will   not   step in   that   rut.

I went back to school this January with the residue of that image - the glow of red, and within weeks I felt that, yes, I think I can do this, yes, I think I am more than qualified with other alternative teaching experiences, yes, my skills in flexibility and facilitation, my background in cultural studies and conflict studies - I am going to focus on who I really am - all the positives, and I am going to make them grow. I am going to reign in all the manufactured negativities and instead, cultivate the habit of seeing with red positivity. as strange as it is to do so.

Its like I have entered a new room, and so far, I like how this strange new room feels.

I am going to aim high, and gradually get there - step by step, twig by twig, obstacle by obstacle.

Steering clear of that rut until it slowly fills in, inch by inch.

Then I'm going to plant a garden, right on top. With a little red seat so I can take it all in.
Got any ruts you have to dig yourself out of ? 

(My Aunt Hilda's Garden, 2006)


  1. Wow. Yay. Amazing. Lovely. Beautiful. Awash in red.

  2. But how do you "hear" it when it comes? That Aha. I need one, long for it, keep waiting for it....for years. How do you finally hear it?

    Am I just not listening?

  3. mmichele - i love you too my red friend.

    Marla - I don't think you listen for it at all (in my humble experience)
    it just happens afer things percolate

    know what I mean?

  4. Marci,

    Wow! What a great post! I would have never ever pictured you as sarcastic or pessimistic. You are such a beautiful lady and your posts always strike me as very positive. I love the way you described how your views have changed.

    In terms of your teaching job, I truly believe in the power of positive thinking. Make up your mind to find one. It's out there somewhere!


  5. thanks VKT - its been a slow process of positivity over the years - and I am still learning...

  6. From one introvert to another-I'll come and sit on that seat with you some day! Nice to be journeying along with you as well. Your words inspired me!

  7. Lovely post. I'm an, almost ex-introvert, myself...I know how slow it is to get out of the rut.
    Lovely the story about the lights...I've had an "aha" from watching the trash brought in by the sea once...
    I wish you all well and yes you'll be a fantastic teacher!!!

  8. Heather - there's plenty of room on that seat for my fellow introverts :) We can talk about brain plasticity and how it's possible to develop our inner extrovert - ha!

    Marika - I think I know what you mean by ex-introvert - we need to develop that extrovert side too - there is a good side to introversion, and I think Exroverts really have to develop their intoverted side:)

    You will have to write about that AHA via garbage - that made me laugh!

  9. Marcella-Great to hear that things are "percolating" for you! It sounds like you are most certainly "out of a rut." It takes time for things to show up in life, but when you've put in the WILL happen. Just wait (not my strong suit) and you will see it all unfolding before your eyes!

  10. Marci - you're talking to the hermit crab, you know the ones on the beach that scamper! Dat's me. Your aha has echoed quite far and energized other little scampering hermits hiding in our holes. The gulf is calling us all and we're ready to play on the beach, ride the surf and watch the sun rise with you. Your energy is magnetic and strong, trust it, better yet, make it a raft and surf it.Whoosh Whoosh!

  11. Kathy - I can wait - sure - but I am not good at keeping positive while waiting...!

    Beth - i find energy is something thats easier to give in the written word sometimes...:)

    and that raft, well, I'll have to pick you up on it when we swing by Minnesota on our way to the Gulf!

  12. You've got the power baby!! Go for it.

  13. I think you have already reached the GARDEN of your SOUL which is temporarly in your mind.
    I wish you to fly high spreading your wings out


  14. Kristin, Lorenza
    I will
    I will!!

  15. So interesting. My seven year old was focusing on the negative of the day so we had a discussion about looking at the glass half full or half empty. She didn't understand until I explained the saying to her. It was as if a veil lifted from her eyes as I told her it was up to her to decide how to see the glass. It was a great moment. I suppose it would be a good idea to blog about it. Hope your glass continues to look full.

  16. I think everyone needs to find an aha moment. if we sit and wait for it, it might never come. we struggle day by day to make sence of it all and at the end of the day we are back to square one. i also believe if we fill our day with positive images, people and change our way of seeing you mention step by step we will be happy. i only dream to be able to one day write like you it inspires me to keep on going and never give up. my heart was sad it has been sad for a couple of days now. my mind knows i need to be more positive and snap out of it but my heart does not listen. i came across your blog, i read it and i realized my heart needs to synk up with my mind. thanks for your oh sooo creative words.

  17. Dear Bungalow :)
    I need to keep reminding my kids in my bungalow that its all up to them - and the half full half empty scenario is still, even though old, such a good image to teach it with isnt' it?

    Anon: I wish I knew who you were, but then again, sometimes more can be done if we didn't - my heart is sad everyonce in a while too - I think sometimes you can try too hard to be sunny and postive - you can't really force yourself - but you can grab a hold of some bit of positive - whatever that might be for you, and let it carry you to the next step - what you have to do, change etc to make yourself happier with your life. Thanks for your comments! I wish you well!

  18. Read your latest on Writers Rising and had to come back and read this one. Yep, same comment as I left there:
    You have taken the shovel used to dig out of the rut and turned it into a sword of strength leaving me naked and awed. Thanks for cracking the husk.

  19. Oh BETH! you and your lovely metaphoric mind...!
    Enjoy the warm spell in Minnesota - I will think of you when I hear the waves as I step out of the van.

  20. Ah, Marcella --- I'm late for this party but I so enjoyed this post. I've sat with you on the introvert bench often, feeling like a stranger in a strange land! I love your recognizing the rut (the only difference between a rut and a grave is that you can climb out of a rut, LOL).

    One could say that you've got the talent, or the power, but I think you've got the most important thing --- the spirit! Enjoy the journey into positivity, it's a lovely one even if it's sometimes uphill!