“If you’re stuck in a rut, don’t furnish it.” I heard someone say this at a drug and alcohol treatment program years ago. And it stuck. That is, it left an impression. People, things, experiences, memories gets stuck all the time. We all get stuck in various kinds of ruts. Examples include: depression in terms of rumination, anxiety in terms of intrusive worrisome thoughts, addictive behaviors, traumatic memories, resentment, shame, procrastination, being unable to forgive oneself and others to name a few. But what does “Don’t Furnish It” mean?
Don’t furnish the rut you’re in means more than holding on to resentments, being overwhelmed with worry, being unable to let go of traumatic events, or finding oneself trapped in a cycle of addiction. Not furnishing the ruts we find ourselves in means raising our awareness of the way we add stuff to the thoughts, feelings, behaviors, beliefs, and memories we experience. It means cluttering ourselves with miscellaneous add-ons we think are helping “tie the room together” (The Big Lebowski reference) to the point where we can’t even move. Resentment literally means “to feel again”. And to reference the same classic (one of my all-time favorites) movie again “we are talking about unchecked aggression here”…towards oneself, others, and the world.
The solution seems all to simple: unfurnish the rut. This means clean house, declutter, let go, give up and get out, surrender, ask for help, and pursue a new path. Yes, this is easier said than done but it may not require a psychic shift, a bottoming out, or an earth-shattering event. For so many people, getting unstuck comes in the form of a “pivotal mental state“, an “Aha! experience“, and or sudden gains in psychotherapy. The goal of this brief blog is to offer hope. The human experience is so difficult for so many. Getting unstuck seems like an impossibility, a distant dream, or unthinkable when we are deep in the struggle of life. Be kind to yourself. Pause. Breathe. Things will change.