Friday, January 15, 2010

A Steady Hand on the Tiller

You know it, I know it. No one wants to talk about it. The Rut.

Sometimes the structures we put into place to support us and assist us get too familiar, too well known, and without realising it we've entered a rut. A rut is a worn path, a line of travel that is heavily used and heads in the direction you want to go and it actually eases passage in that way because it is worn smooth of little lumps and bumps. Of course if you decide that it is no longer the desired direction of travel and that your destination lies on another path ... well getting out of a deep rut can be difficult - even hazardous. If you don't have the right skills you can tip yourself over and even break something needful, maybe an axle.

Usually we aren't at risk from this extreme type of response, a little wiggle or a holiday, or a mix-around of the dressings we give our days is enough to freshen-up the experience. Other times, the realisation of a rut can seem like a life sentence and must be escaped immediately, AT ONCE and in this moment of panic hazardous and momentous shifts can be attempted, but rarely pulled off.

I've had a few weeks to walk barefoot in the cold waters of strange oceans and have a think about the rutness of things in comparison to the other way we often phrase the same situation - "plain sailing". As with so many things It is a question of perspective. Am I in a rut or am I experiencing plain sailing? It is only a rut if I wish to change direction and find it hard, but sometimes I know that I change direction just to check that I still can. Conundrum.

The unexpected beauty of Hobart (where I am on holiday very briefly) has been in the maritime history, flavour and lifestyle of the city. Although I can get motion sickness from watching others sway on the spot, I've been out on boats of all sizes and shapes on this trip. One of the subtle things I've noticed is how the metaphoric language of the sea can give a fluid and hopeful nuance to the expression of emotional states. Even the doldrums can't last forever (if they could ever happen in this wide river harbour in the lee of Mt Wellington). So direction of travel can be seen in the context of navigation and the avoidance of known obstacles. A route that takes you through known reefs and shoals is not quicker, no matter how much shorter. Perhaps this is a more helpful way to consider the apparent problem of a rut. A rut, by definition, is a path avoiding known obstacles. It is a navigational shorthand.

The trick, I think, might be in remembering that there is no such thing as automatic pilot. It is a real hand on the tiller of our life. It is our own hand, and it must be our own mind that charts the course and evaluates the hazards. If smooth sailing and known obstacles are what can be handled by the limitations of your craft and your desired destination than you are in harmony with your journey. If not, well maybe it is time to look again at the stars and the edges of the charts and plot for a different kind of experience, but plot my friends, don't panic.

2 comments:

簡單 said...

Gods mill grinds slow but sure...................................................

傷害 said...

與其爭取不可能得到的東西,不如善自珍惜運用自己所擁有的........................................