Sunday, August 25, 2013

Lesson 24- How to Get Out of a Rut

5 Things the Perseid Meteor Shower Taught Me

Crouching behind the mailbox at 4 a.m. that Tuesday, I only thought once about what the neighbors would think. I had other things on my mind. People in my camp were saying I lived my life in a rut. That I was not spontaneous.  Last week, I was out to prove them wrong- and get some amazing photographs in the process.

I do not love science. I am not the weather watcher or the phenomena fan. But every social media site I visited boasted stories and photos of the Perseid meteor shower.

I gave in to the pressure. And ventured outside my so called rut. I gave up TV shows and morning rituals. I went to bed early and got up earlier. I pointed a chair in the backyard to the exact spot in the sky USA Today said there would be action. No matter how asleep I was, I would be facing the right direction. 

I fell asleep on the couch Sunday night, wondering whether to go to bed early or stay up late. I woke at 2:30 a.m and rushed to my chair in the backyard. I waited for a bright white meteor and long, brilliant tail.  But cloud cover made my view starless. I returned to bed and pinned my hopes on Tuesday.  That night I went to bed early. I set my internal clock and woke at 2 a.m. Street lights, porch lights and the glow of every fast food establishment for miles did not create the sky my how-to articles described. I napped for an hour. At 3:45 a.m. I returned to the chair. I saw one quick flash. I hurried to the front yard where the skies were darker.

The show I dreamed of never came.

But the hours I spent watching and waiting (and skulking about my own yard), taught me some things about spontaneity and rut-busting.
Allow me to share:  

 5 Ways to get out of your rut

!.  Be in awe

We need to be reminded of what we don’t know.

How insignificant I felt looking up at the infinite sky. Not since my granddaughter Smarty Pants’ birth have I felt so moved by the mere sight of something. Yet every day we are given opportunities to be amazed and speechless. All we need do is remain open.  

2.  Get excited

The minute we run out of things to look forward to, we are doomed.

At least once a week Smarty Pants asks me how many days until her birthday. This undaunted ritual is as critical to her birthday as cake and presents. I did not see the Perseids show I had hoped for. But I was excited the entire time. The anticipation alone was worth the undertaking.

3. Witness the moment

Life is always in the little things. The details. A perfect view of the night sky cannot be forced. It is ephemeral. Life is like that, too. We must bear witness to the things before us that are fleeting- good and bad.


4. See something through

I might never have seen splashes of the Perseids if I hadn’t planned my nights so thoroughly. Sometimes we are lulled into believing that good planning is a substitute for hard work.

It is not.

Viewing the Perseids is hard work. I did not plan for that. But I did the work. And sometimes that is its own reward.


5. Laugh when things don’t turn out as you plan

It is only when we let go of the ego that we can learn from failure.

We don’t have to love it. But to grow we must notice that we are not perfect. Then move on. A chuckle is often helpful- along with a mental note to not repeat the same mistake.

Looking at that empty chair reminds me of things that didn’t work out. But it also reminds me of how hard I worked. And how much fun I had. 

How about you? Have you ever stumbled into a moment of self-discovery? What did you learn? Can you share? If it helped you, it would probably help me, too.