Going Through the Motions

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, April 2009 – May 2010]
What is it about the nature of being human that allows us to check out mentally? You know what I mean, that way that we can walk through life, just going through the motions, looking alive but not really being alive. When did we buy into the belief system that we aren’t co-creators or writers of our own stories?

I was visiting with some friends this week, and I was struck by the lack of control that they feel in their lives. I know that there is truth to the tale that we get caught on the “rat wheel” of life and don’t know how, or don’t have the courage, to jump off when it is in motion. But really, we can jump off. I think it is on that wheel that we begin to sleepwalk through our lives. The scenery never really changes, there on the old rat wheel…our views are limited, our creative lives are limited, and so on. I think that the sleepwalking must be a protective thing that happens to numb us to all that we are missing there on the wheel.
I wonder if sleepwalking is exclusive to humans or if animals feel the same. Recently at my parents’ home I met their new family member. Her name is Ellie and she is a cat. Now Ellie certainly didn’t seem like she was sleepwalking through life; she was totally engaged, and it was contagious. She managed to drag all of us in with her, including the other resident of the house—Miss Muppet, my mom’s indoor bunny. (Don’t ask.) Miss Muppet has been a little shy and stagnant on my previous visits, which is the way that I like bunnies since they, being rodents, fall into the category of things I can do without. So, having her a little lackluster has worked just fine for me. But now with the new “ball of energy” in the house, Miss Muppet seems to have gotten off her rat wheel and is enjoying the new view. On my last visit, She was more mobile than I had ever seen her. She seemed to see life through a new lens…same environment, just new challenges.
I have certainly had my moments of sleepwalking through life. I look back over time and wish I were a much more “awake” parent when the kids were little. I wish that I believed those older moms who told me how quickly it all would pass by. I didn’t at the time, but now what I wouldn’t give… But, I am also happy to report that I have had my moments of jumping off the wheel only to discover that there was in fact life off the wheel…one that was and is bigger and richer than I could have ever dreamed.
I don’t want to live life going through the motions of someone else’s script for my life, or even a limited script that I have written for myself. Don’t listen to those old tapes that we all have playing in our heads—the ones that keep us on the wheel, afraid to fail or be judged…or worse, to succeed. Life always has distractions, and I am learning to be more purposeful in life. I’m learning to be more willing to not just dream, but to live the dream. I’m not allowing myself to get attached to “whatever the outcome”, I’m just throwing it out there and seeing what life has.
So whether sleepwalking is uniquely human or it is something that all living things must push through, I am taking a page from Ellie and have decided that going through the motions doesn’t work for me either….

  1. Kathy says:

    Help I want off the wheel. I think that is might happen sooner than I wanted but I am dealing with that and it is okay. Thanks Rene for your insight. I want to be like my cat Tom. "You want me to do what?" He has learned the word "No"
    Thank Rene

  2. Barb Knopp says:

    I read the blog to Ellie and Miss Muppet….they concur.
    Life is certainly on the go since Ellie arrived. Miss Muppet wonders from time to time if Ellie’s purpose was friendship or a weight watcher exercise program.
    Love you

  3. Sherrie says:

    Boy have I been there-& tho I get off the wheel,I somehow find myself back on it! I’m doing my best to get off & stay off the darn thing,because I feel as tho I’ve wasted a few years here & there. Sleepwalking thru life is no way to live-and I think it’s a cue that we need to change how we’re living our lives. Take up a hobby,start hanging out with a different bunch,explore where you live for neat things to do.

  4. Gary says:

    Excellent Bloggie Rene’…!
    I LOVE that photo of the Kitten and Bunnie…!
    Animals have a quality we mostly lack: Presence… to give complete attention to the moment at hand. They have memories and wishes just like us, but they do not allow their mind to dwell there.
    Real fear of a clear and present danger is healthy response, however most of our fears are neither clear nor present.
    Corrie Ten Boom once said:
    "Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow;
    it empties today of its strength."
    How very True.
    GodSpeed to Y’all…!
    in Tampa

    Gary~ I love that Corrie Ten Boom Quaote.. thanks for reminding me of it…..

  5. Denise says:

    By all means, we should all get off that main highway of life. After all it was engineered by total strangers and if you feel the need for a breath of fresh air get on that back road and take it all in.

  6. Sharon says:

    Corrie Ten Boom was right on!

    Mark Twain, at the end of his life admitted,"I’ve spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened."

    Boy I hear that.

  7. Peg says:

    I very much enjoyed your insights. Several years ago when I turned 50, if found myself in the midst of a not-uncommon time of reevaluation. "Going through the motions" would no longer be acceptable to me. I’ve gone back to school, am working on my degree at 61 and find that there is quite a marvelous life going on outside the wheel. I’m happy to be part of it and encourage other readers to take the leap and see what awaits them.

    Thanks Peg, Sometime we just need to see that "the waters are fine" before jumping off…

  8. Lisa says:

    I think it is ok to say get off the wheel…to be honest in life and have life be honest with you…but that is not always the way it is.
    Seems often if I look about there are people who are just plain dishonest. One person I worked with told me they (the company we worked for) wanted the patients to stay in need as it is hard to find patients. Another company had me (and the other nurses) working outside our licences. I did as my conscience told me to do. All well and good…I lost both jobs…I have my self-respect..but I have no job!!! And I have bills to pay, chikens, cats, a dog and family to feed.
    I think people learn to go through life with a blind bridle on (rat wheel) because if you do not you face the sort of things I have gone through…if you do not look perhaps you do not see…feel…and can keep a job…and pay the bills. It seems to be 6 of one 1/2 a dozen of the other…things are tough…and getting off the wheel makes them tougher…I keep praying…it seems the only thing to do. Peace be with you, Lisa

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