This is by FAAAAR my favorite song on my gym motivates me more than any other.

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 There are lots of times in my life when it it’s felt like my life has is a dance party. It’s been full of energy, happiness, spontaneity (for as much as I can be spontaneous), and excitement. There have also been a few times when I feel like the desire to dance has been sucked away like I can’t even muster the dance.

The most memorable experience in relation to this is my first broken heart. If you know me, you know that I love my country music. Unfortunately, so did my first love and we sure had a good time listening and (dare I say) bonding over silly songs like Indian Outlaw and Should’ve Been a Cowboy. After that boy took off with my heart I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the radio stations that were pre-set in my car. I couldn’t listen to country music.

Yes, it was dramatic and nonsensical, but it’s what I did. And it was, and in many ways still is, me. For six long months I only listened to pop radio while I tried to get over my heartache. I even changed my pre-set stations. I was not dancing at that time.

I remember one day, heading to school on the freeway and I missed my music. I missed it like I was missing part of me. I decided it was time and just like ripping a band aid I turned the station to a familiar set of numbers, a set I’d been used to tuning into long before that boy entered my life and I’d tune into those same numbers long after.

It was time. It wasn’t painful at all actually. I remember feeling a happiness creep back in that had been absent for a while. I felt like a part of my lungs opened back up and I could breathe. I got my dance back. I remember this song was really popular on country radio at that time and the line that said, “It feels good to dance again” actually brought tears to my eyes on one occasion. I could relate so well to that feeling.

There is nothing like losing your inner dance and having to fight to get it back and claiming it as yours once again.

That was probably one of the more powerful experiences where I’ve felt like I’ve lost my spunk and had to fight to find it again, but there have been many others. Family drama, work challenges, my body image battles, and this summer have certainly knocked me flat on my face and I’ve had to fight to get back up. Some fights are bigger than others. Being married helps, too. This summer, I had a dance partner who lead while I just mimicked the motions until I was ready to dance alone. Sometimes I still need a partner and sometimes I am fine on my own and sometimes I sit out a dance or two. I think we all do.

Sometimes I’m going along feeling like I’m on top of the world, just dancing away. Then all of a sudden someone pulls the plug and it’s silent and I feel like I’m back at square one.

I call square one a rut. When I get in a rut, I feel like I’m not dancing anymore. That’s Satan’s best tool with me. Fortunately, I know this. So how do I “shake him off” and turn the music back on?

I have learned a few things in the past few months as I get into ruts and pull myself out of them:

  1. Be Quick to Forgive Yourself: When I get into a rut I start telling myself all of the things I need to change or do differently. I then lose patience that I’m back in that same place and that I haven’t made any progress. Ruts are a part of my life. I think that I personally need them to force me to to make changes in my life and to recognize the good in who I am. When the “Sharlee spunk” feels a little low, I suddenly realize how much I like myself. The more quickly I recognize this and embrace it, the less frequently it happens. I just need to forgive myself for ending up there.
  2. Change things up! I realized the other day that the first quarter of school was over and I haven’t been menu planning like normal and I haven’t even tried a single new recipe since school started and here we are a quarter of the way through it. That made me sad. But I decided to forgive myself, let it go, and try something new this week. I cooked a new meal for the first time in 9 weeks and it felt good.
  3. Take care of yourself It is unbelievable how related my physical state of being is to my emotional state of being. It seems ridiculous at times actually. The other night I tried a healthy recipe, took care of my skin using a new cleansing technique (hopefully more good news on that later), took a long walk and a hot bath. Zach and I also started going to the gym together. I crank up the music and work up a sweat and I’m literally a different person within 40 minutes. It’s a major transformation.
  4. Make time for the things you want to do I’ve been insanely busy lately, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been this busy. I’m happy about it. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I have and the things I learn from wearing about a million different hats right now, but sometimes I just want a hot bath, Zach’s pj bottoms, and cuddle time with Zach. The other day I finally threw everything (homework, housework, you name it, I forgot about it) out the window and took a bath and spent the evening cuddling with Zach, quite literally. I needed that so much.
  5. Prioritize Ever since my media fast, I haven’t been spending nearly as much time reading my blogs and Pinning things. Though I didn’t think I was wasting time as it was, when I wasn’t using media at all, I used my time more wisely and it helped me reevaluate my priorities. Now when I get up and eat breakfast, instead of spending time on blogging, I have been reading from my scriptures. It hasn’t happened every day but it helps. I am not sure if it’s the scriptures themselves or if it’s the fact that I’m making time for my spiritual well being and making that a priority that helps.
  6. Serve The wife of my bishop in my single’s ward once said, “Service is never convenient. Opporunities arise when we have the least time, the least money, the least resources. Serving at that time shows discipleship.” Like I said, I’ve been busy. I’ve had something lined up every night of the week for weeks. I was heading home from work the other day and checking my voicemail and I had a message to see if I would make dinner for another family this weekend. At first I was thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?! I don’t have time for this.” And then, a sweet reminder, I heard Sister Weber’s words even though it’s been three years since I’ve even attended church with her. I quickly said a prayer thanking my Heavenly Father for giving me a chance to be a disciple and to serve someone else and stop thinking about myself.

Those six things are things that I’m doing to pull myself out of this rut. And the next time I find myself here, I’ll start with forgiving myself for being here in the first place and I’ll move on.

How do you “shake him off”?