Sometimes I find myself in a rut–stuck in the mud, sinking lower and lower so that it seems that all I see are shoe tops. Instead of appreciating the beauty around me, I get mired in the minutia of everyday–dishes and laundry, report cards and meetings, and traffic!
When I’m in that rut I don’t always see the possibilities. I find myself traveling the same paths, butting up against the same barriers…and even thinking the same not-so-inspiring thoughts!
And I know that I am lucky. I enjoy my work–most of the time–and all it entails. My students are a source of energy, my colleagues keep me learning and growing, and the end of the school year means my work will change–adding variety and new stimulation to the mix. But…there’s that rut…and at this time of the year lots of others are in it too.
Yesterday, after a long work day I was heading to a planning meeting with some colleagues. And instead of the provocative thinking I knew I would experience when I got there, my mind was on the traffic and the frustration of the snail’s pace I would experience as I got on the freeway.
So I ventured out in another direction. There was some traffic as I set off, but as I crossed the intersection that could have taken me to the freeway, I headed into the hills. The road was narrow and steep as it curved through neighborhoods with breathtaking views. As I reached the top I pulled off into a park–well known in these parts. A place I had been before, but never think to visit. It’s off the usual path, less direct, with a lower speed limit.
And this path not taken led me to wonder and inspiration…and jubilation!
I was treated to amazing views of my city. I could look north to La Jolla shores and the Scripps pier, east toward the mountains and the communities between. As I looked south I saw the iconic structures of our downtown and the bays and ocean that frame it.
I felt like I could touch the clouds from this place on the hill. And in spite of the clouds I could see forever in all directions. The sky was clear and the sun peeked through, brightening my outlook and my attitude.
I don’t have to stay in the rut, mired by routine and overwhelmed by the demands of the end of the school year. But I do have to find the spaces of inspiration, make time for moments of vacation and renewal even when time is in short supply.
This is one of those lessons that I need to remind myself of over and over again. It’s easy to stay in the rut, to do the same thing, travel the same roads, talk to the same people, see the same sights. I’m already thinking about other ways I can shake up my ordinary and pull myself out of the rut…the view is so much better here!