Someone once quipped that being in a rut is like a coffin with the ends kicked out. Meaning, we’re stuck and it becomes soul-sucking. A slow plodding march to the grave. It can happen to anyone. We get in a groove, a routine, and before we know it we succumb to living in the monotony and mundaneness of the ordinary. Even the extraordinary can become ordinary without variety. That’s why pro racers need an off-season to rest (momentarily) and pursue other things that light their fires. We can’t be “on” 24/7 otherwise we’ll find ourselves in this rut … and we’re enveloped. Swallowed alive. The worst kind of death.

The challenge comes when our personality types find peace in rhythms and routine. I for one am that type. I need a regular routine. I have the same ritual when I wake up … coffee, reading, and journaling before anyone else is awake in the house. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are days on the (gravel) bike (1-1.5 hours). Tuesdays and Thursdays are gym days. Saturday or Sunday is my day to pack the bike up and drive to a not-so-close trailhead. If I lived anywhere other than Portland I could access innumerable trails from my house. But I don’t. I drive.

I function best with a routine. I need it. I thrive in it. I am most productive in it. At the same time, like any workout program, I need to blow it up. For lifting weights or cycling I need to mix and match to keep my muscles on the alert. I can’t let them become complacent. They need stress and pain. So does my life routine. So does yours. By the way, so does your coffee routine. At home I slowly rotate through a variety … pourover (paper filter), aeropress, batch brew, pourover (metal filter), French press, etc. I also experiment with adjusting the grind size of my coffee as well as the water temp.

The challenge for me though is when I experience too much routine in life … too much monotony. I need to blow it up and build a new routine. The hard part is that I’m wired to be highly regimented. It is easy to fall into a groove … which then turns into a rut. Inspiration then quietly exits the room and I am left unaware it even left. To be honest, I’ve been in that groove or rut this year with Loam Coffee. While we’re only 4 years old I had fallen into an uncreative and uninspiring place and routine. It sucked the life out of me.

This summer I blew up my routine. I took a massive step back and took a lot of extra non-Loam things off my plate that I discovered were eating away my time, energy, and inspiration. I also vowed to rekindle my sense of wonder, curiosity, and creativity. I needed it. Loam Coffee needed it.

Most evenings I would find myself out on my back patio. With a book in hand I’d burrow into my hammock and simply read … let my imagination and soul to be fed. I didn’t stress about how many mountain bike trips I wanted or needed to take, how Loam Coffee was doing, social media nuisances with trying to crack the various algorithms, and more. I leaned back, propped up my pillow under my head, stretched out my legs, and read … and dreamed … and daydreamed. It was a complete disruption to my schedule. A needed reprieve.

Yes, there are many parallel analogies that could be teased out and applied to life … but this is about life. But it is more than routines, work flow, schedules, goals and objectives, and more. It’s deeper … much deeper. It’s about living a life that counts, that matters. One that is intentional. On purpose. With a definitive trajectory. I’m afraid I had drifted off course a bit and I needed a course correction. It wasn’t like anything bad or dubious had happened. I simply got in a rut.

This experience also has me dreaming about the future of Loam Coffee. As you can see on our About page … we’re more than simply about coffee and bikes (which we’re super stoked about!). That’s the part for me that dried up a bit … like how our favorite trails get rutted and then throw up dust storms when ridden as the season goes on. I’m excited and energized for how this year continues to unfold.

I want you all to know how much I appreciate each and every one of you. There is no Loam Coffee without you. Thank you.

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Words and photos by Sean Benesh

Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager