Mark Danger Powers

drummer • educator • author

The Way Out

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the slump I’ve been in recently. I quickly learned that turning to friends is one of the fastest ways to get out of a funk.

Readers, fellow musicians, acquaintances old & new, local & distant took time out of their own busy and complicated lives to chime in and offer me support. Via comments, calls, emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter and in-person chats, loads of friends checked in to see how things were, expressed that they cared, said they could identify with the post, and even shared stories about ruts that they’ve been in themselves.

I super appreciate every single one of you that took a moment (or many) to touch base and send good vibes my direction! After taking some time to meditate on all of the ideas that were passed my way by everyone, I am not only feeling better, but I’m gearing up to get back in action and kick some serious butt in the coming year.

It certainly is normal for each of us to hit those lows once in a while. There can be any number of reasons that might bring us to feeling unproductive, unimportant, stagnant, unhappy and generally dissatisfied with our current place in life. While there may not be one foolproof method for getting out of the dumps, lifting your head high and getting yourself back in the game, good friends can definitely lend an ear, be a shoulder to lean and/or cry on, and be there to help as you climb your way back on track.

If you find yourself in a similar spot, and in need of a little push, the following is a list of some of the thoughts generously passed my way over the past couple of weeks. If you’re a regular visitor, you may have already read a few of these in the previous post’s comments. Regardless, I feel that they are all invaluable, are a great resource when you’re in a funk, and are deserving of their own post!

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Jeff: My recommendation is to take some time for yourself doing what YOU want to do, not have to do. Eat a favorite meal, dessert, whatever. Get some exercise. Read. Listen to music for fun. Call a friend just to talk. NO BUSINESS ALLOWED. I find that if I need a battery recharge – any or all of the above help.

Emily: My favorite mood changers: Need a little lift – Stand outside with the sun in your face, close your eyes and take a deep breath (I know, sun is a little hard to find in OR right now!) Need a huge lift – Travel! This is the best time of year to go to Jamaica . . . nice and deserted and cheap before the holidays!

Matt: I find that when I reach these troughs in motivation it is usually because I am being pulled in too many directions. I need to evaluate everything that I have going on and select something that I know will make me happy or give me a sense of accomplishment and only do that thing. Ignore the rest. It’s OK to take a break, in fact sometimes it’s necessary to keep your sanity and maintain your focus.

Linda: One thing I’m thinking of trying is a model called the Quaker Clearness Committee, which is a group of people who can give NO advice – only ask questions. Everyone has ups and downs; my husband always reminds me that without the downs, I couldn’t enjoy the ups.

Don: What I did, successfully, was arrange to have lunch with someone every day. I tried to make them all non-work lunches. Just a place to talk, laugh, bounce weird ideas, etc. It really helped. Doing what you do takes passion and massive amounts of effort… fatigue is inevitable. Be proactive about happiness.

Stacy: What has helped me, oddly enough was a freakin’ bumper sticker. It said Nothing worth doing is ever easy.” That has helped remind me why it is I’m working so hard to do what I’m doing.

Carla offered an awesome list of introspective questions to ask. I encourage you to read them all . . . here are a few: How are my relationships? Am I trying to do too much? Did I set an expectation on something/someone? Do I need to have everything I want? Can I be happy with where Life/God leads me?

Donna: One of the things that gets me through is a history of having gotten through before, knowing it isn’t forever . . . but it IS something to learn from. I would never choose suffering but I also know there is something to take from it . . . I have never seen people want to change when they were content. Never. The opportunity to grow is generally clothed in struggle. The people we love and who look to us as their teachers, will look to see how we managed through peril. So, what will your choices speak to them? Hang in there and trust in the gifts that surround you. Oh yeah, and exercise. 🙂

Laura: Some things that I have found to help me are spending time with people AND not talking about what is bothering me, realizing that you don’t have to do everything that is asked of you – take some time for you, and finally, laughter.

Ruth: Is there a reason for the slump? Maybe if you can pinpoint it, that will help.

Jeff: Physical work. This is one of the best. It’s amazing what digging a ditch can do for my world view. The only danger here is one of procrastination. Make sure this isn’t one of those “I’ll organize the Tupperware THEN do the pardiddles” sorts of projects. Make sure that it has a specific benefit for you, a friend, stranger, or the world at large.

Brent: I have found the kind of slow, blue times you are feeling are often our bodies way of preparing for something extraordinary. Take stock and begin building your energy now, because you will need it all shortly. Who knows what is coming your way, but I bet it is big.

Kenny: The good news is, it only gets better from here. For me, it largely has to do with perspective. Things are not really going my way either at this current moment . . . but the blessings in my life far outweigh the success of my site and my journey. Years ago, in my business life, I stopped staring at the brick and began looking at the brick wall. Perspective. Know too that there is a plan for your life. One that you may not understand fully at this time, but one that will have you smiling looking back on this post and this moment.

Ryan: Sometimes I find one of the better things to do is get some solitude and silence. Go somewhere by yourself and don’t do anything, or have any extras (music, cell phone, etc), and just be. Somewhere an old book says “In quietness and trust is your strength…”

Jillyn: When Blue Days hit me, I go back to The Basics. I’m actually pretty confident that these are The Basics because at various times in my life, they have been expressed to me in some form or another by friends, voice coaches, books, and counselors. They are: 1. Adequate sleep. 2. Good nutrition and hydration. 3. Physical activity. 4. Social interaction. 5. A spiritual practice/Self-reflection. Be gentle with yourself. This too shall pass.

David: We all get tired of doing what’s expected of us and routine can become an anchor pulling us down. Vacation is usually what gets me out of a funk and it doesn’t have to be an immediate one, but one in the future. I like to have something to look forward to and to dream about. We all need a break from the frenzy of life.

Minimalist4Life: What do you say we simply take it 1 day at a time. Let’s enjoy Christmas and New Years and come January….we can refuel and start fresh.

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Thank you again and again to Jeff J., Emily, Matt, Linda, Rose, Don, Stacy, Lee, Carla, Donna, Laura, Ruth, Jeff M., Brent, Kenny, Ryan, Jillyn, David, Catherine, Maria & everyone else who offered their insight and support!

Merry Christmas to you all!

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(photo by Redvers)

3 Comments

  1. Mark! Some great insight and advice in this post. There is nothing better than when a community comes together to take care of one of their own. Merry Christmas Mark! Looking forward to getting together with you in the New Year.

    • Thanks, Matt! I have really valued the support from many people like yourself this year. Look forward to catching up soon- Merry Christmas to you and the family!

  2. Mark,

    So glad you’re outta the funk! I thought it was amazing how many people jumped in to support you. We all need support and it looks like you have a great support system!

    I can’t wait to see all that you are going to DO this year! Happy New Year my brotha!

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