Have you felt stuck lately? Going ‘round in circles? Trapped on a treadmill? Caught in a vicious cycle?
There are so many ways of describing this kind of experience.
And so many ways to get caught up in it.
Lured by the daily grind of repeated schedules or habits, it can be easy to feel your whole life is stuck on repeat… like you’re locked into an endless loop. So you scroll around to ‘yet another Monday,’ or you find yourself having ‘the same argument,’ or you catch yourself reaching for the same ‘solutions’ that have never quite worked – and the whole cycle ‘begins again’.
Or does it?
The philosopher Heraclitus was pretty dubious about that, actually. Many hundreds of years ago he noted that,
“You cannot step twice into the same river…”
What if he was right? What if it only feels like ‘another Monday,’ or only feels like the loop is eternally repeated (when actually they’re not)?
Could all this seeming repetition be lulling us into a false sense of security? For if the loop was endless, then maybe our lives could be, too? And if we’re always travelling the ‘same’ ground, at least we know what we’re in for.
What would it be like to sort of step back from all of that for a moment?
To shift your eyes from the treadmill, and lift them to the road ahead. Or maybe even further, out to the horizon – the horizon of your life. The edge of your days. Trapped on a treadmill, it can be easy to forget that it’s even there…
In light of all that:
What would it mean if you stayed on the loop for another week?
How much of your time are you willing to invest like this?
(How much of your life?)
Of course, there are times when it might be important to pull your focus back from the horizon and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. Times when the road ahead might seem impossible to imagine. Times of grief; of crisis; of pain; of healing.
But maybe there’s also times to walk more deliberately towards what really matters for you in your life. Towards milestones that infuse you with a sense of purpose. Through rich and vibrant and challenging terrain.
So what might the smallest step along that road look like for you? How might you break that sense of the cycle? Where might you be able to do something differently? Where could you welcome a little change?
Maybe it could start as simply as taking another route to work. Or trying something different on the menu. Or going somewhere you’ve never been just to see what it’s like.
Or maybe you might consciously remember your road ahead every now and then. Contemplate what you want to walk towards in the grander scheme of things. Consult with your values and the things that you hold sacred or vital in your life, and use them to navigate a more meaningful path.
Perhaps, after all, there’s no such thing as ‘another Monday.’
Maybe, even despite the sense of the treadmill, each day is unique. Each moment its own.
And, if so, perhaps getting un-stuck is partly about just remembering that…
Photo: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.