Rebelling Against Stagnation

“Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

"I'm a Ranger, baby!"


This is going to be one of those posts where I talk about Murdock quite a bit, so if that bothers you, I’d advise turning around and going back to your brussels sprouts and tofu. If, however, you are not bothered, stick with me on this one, since I’m trying to get some thoughts worked out today. It started with a dog. Not an invisible dog. It was a real, flesh-and-blood canine this time.

Whenever I go to an animal shelter to drop off supplies, I always make the mistake of visiting all the animals. All of them are deserving of good homes, of course, and I strongly encourage anyone wanting to get a pet to adopt rather than going to a breeder. This particular Friday, Nashville Humane was home to a male German Shepherd, arguably my favorite breed. 9 months old, drop-dead gorgeous, and sure to put on another 20 pounds to his already strong 70. I took him out of his kennel for a walk on the snow-covered grounds. I’m not going to say I fell in love, but I felt happier than I had in a long while. The dog was thrilled to be outside, naturally.

A rare sighting of Billy

What did this short part of my busy day teach me? All dogs, of course, are bred to do some sort of job. If kept locked or chained up all the time, they become depressed, lethargic, and in some cases, violent. They are also bred to be companions to other dogs and to people. It is in their DNA as surely as it is in ours (read Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation for a lovely explanation of why this is so.)

I’ve been doing a great deal of self-reflection recently, and the one conundrum that keeps nagging me is this. God gave me the ability to do many things, some of them rather well. I don’t know if I have that One Great Gift that some have, but I know I like to write and I do it reasonably well. At the same time, I’ve never had anything published aside from a few poems and essays in newsletters and the like, and I have an almost crippling fear of rejection (the same fear that keeps me from trying the dating field again.) In my adult life I have never submitted anything professionally for publication. Shocking, isn’t it?

I know I have to do something to change the stagnation patterns in my life. It has been said that it takes a full 30 days to change a habit. This month, from now until my annual retreat in February, I am officially vowing to do that. (Consider this my signed contract, as it is also said that one is more likely to stick with goals that have been written down.) Even if I write for only 30 minutes per day, I’m going to do it. It may not be fun or pleasurable. Writing, though, I’ve found to be a bit like swimming. You may think the pool water is freezing, but once you’re in it, it seems just fine. The more I write, the more I am capable of writing.

Ah, now, getting back to Murdock. As some readers may already know, my current book project is about the archetypes found in The A-Team and how they relate to getting along in the world. Murdock was one of those characters for me that I just knew I would like. I couldn’t explain it at the time. Now that I’ve had time to sit down and analyze, here’s part of what I’ve discovered:

Murdock represents the child prodigy/Peter Pan side of all of us. It’s OK to break out a coloring book or Play-Doh when we need a release. It’s also a great spring of creativity for the artist types. Some of us may not even have known we possessed an artistic side.

I also see in him the same thing that jinxed Sherlock Holmes: inertia brought about by depression or boredom (the title of this post is a line from the latest in a long line of Holmes films.) He lives in a room with bars on its windows and locks on its doors. Whether by choice or not, he exists as a prisoner.

What I’ve come to realize is that the prisons of my own mind are more impregnable than any of steel or barbed wire. Over the last ten years I’ve settled into a comfortable pattern. It’s enough to get by. It’s as low-stress as I can make it. I have just about everything I need.

But is it really what God intends me to do? I don’t think it is. That’s what I really hope to accomplish this year: break out of the old, familiar patterns and start new, stronger ones. I *can* write at least half an hour every day. I *can* make sure I take care of my health and get to the gym five days a week. I *can* say no to Facebook in favor of productive work time. And most importantly, I can learn to find a way to break free of old habits.

It’s not something that will be easy. But it is something, with a little help, I know I can accomplish. After all, if all the A-Team ever took were easy cases, they’d be the D-Team. Life without “the Jazz” ends up being pretty boring. And stagnant.

I’m saying “no” to stagnation and the old ruts this year. And I love it when a plan comes together!

Murdock (Corky Duke) says, it's time to write!

Be sure to follow P&Q on Facebook (still working on it, so bear with me.) Also, feel free to comment or send me feedback at! I appreciate my readers.

~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on January 16, 2011.

4 Responses to “Rebelling Against Stagnation”

  1. I agree with you when you say Murdock represents the child-like/Peter Pan quality in all of us. I think too many people repress that side to themselves and as a result, something seems ‘off’ about them, whether they have no sense of humor or they are just serious by nature. I think it pays off to tap into that childhood mentality. As someone w/ three nieces all under the age of 10, I’m still catching up on my coloring and my Disney princesses, and I think my life is much richer from having children in it.
    I also admire your wllingness to break out of the mold, and I encourage you to write! I write all the time, every day, and if I don’t, something feels off haha. It was the only way I could finish the first draft of my novel; I wrote, even if I hated the very idea. haha.
    Anyway, sorry for talking too much haha. I really enjoyed this entry! Keep it up!
    ~Hilts. 😀

  2. I like the way you write.Nice blog.

  3. I’m trying to find you on facebook, what name is it under? It’s not showing in my search.

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abandonen toda esperanza aquellos que entren aqui


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