Constant frenetic activity is an opiate for the soul (my apologies to Karl Marks). Moving and not thinking, ticking off things completed and not reflecting, achieving and not questioning -- they all have a calming feeling, giving a sense of purpose to what otherwise might look like a random walk down the path to ??? When in the midst of that activity, it can be comforting, almost a siren's song.
Activity that is directed toward a goal and generates movement (real or apparent) toward that goal creates energy. Energy is harnessed into motive power, which then feeds back into the cycle. The result is a virtuous circle that is self-sustaining and self-perpetuating. I think of it as a spinning bicycle wheel, a flywheel where continuous input of energy can result in a very powerful source of stored power. When you are in the virtuous circle, it seems like it is the whole world -- you become increasingly focused on, even obsessed by, increasingly finer levels of minutiae.
The problem comes when something happens outside of the circle -- and there is a whole real world outside of the microcosm of the virtual world of the virtuous circle (now if I could just figure out how to get virtuoso in this as well, I would feel like I didn't need to start words with a 'v' for at least a week!). And something always happens -- job loss, death, something that causes a disruption from the outside. It could be something as simple as waking up one day, and realizing that you've stretched yourself way outside of the person that you naturally are, and are just dang unhappy.
Whatever the cause, the disruption is just like stuffing a 2x2 between the spokes of your spinning bicycle wheel. When that happens the circle isn't just disrupted, it's destroyed, and the energy that the cycle generated dissipates leaving nothing intact. And the faster it was going before, the greater the destruction when the flywheel is disrupted.
So what do you do when that calming spinning virtuous circle falls to pieces? The first instinct is to try to pick up the pieces and put it back together again. That usually takes some time, however, and as you are looking for a few missing spokes or pounding on that out-of-round rim with a hammer, you begin to notice things. Mostly you notice that the whole world isn't a spinning bicycle wheel. There is huge variety and choice out there. If it takes long enough to rebuild your wheel, you might decide that you've reached a point where you don't want the bicycle wheel any more at all!
Without that familiar virtuous circle, that spinning flywheel to offer comfort, however, your motive power is gone also. In fact, everything you ever learned and knew about generating energy and storing it was tied up in the flywheel concept, and now it's gone. And that is where the real conundrum is -- how to reclaim motivation and the energy to move forward without the old familiar tools? How do you motivate yourself when you now know that spinning bicycle wheels are no longer in your future? Other people seem to be doing it, but the secret is somehow hidden from you.