That feeling, you know it, the one where things are weird and tense for a bit… Things get all heavy and stressful. They build and build and then boom… One thing shifts and it all comes tumbling down? It’s like Jenga but life. Like, you set all these pieces in place and through the natural progression of events (moving in only the way that they can) pieces get removed. One by one, each pieces removed tilts the strength of the tower a little more until finally KABLAM. And then you’re like, “Oh no. That’s bad.” and then you’re like, “Oh well, that was fun.”
In life it’s largely the same, in my experience. What’s interested though – and it’s something that I’ve noticed happening to me more and more lately (perhaps you can relate) – is that when things have built up to the point of a shift absolutely needing to occur (as in, there’s no way in hell things can keep going the way they have been and so something has to change) one thing falters. And when one thing falters, the tower starts to falter. And then when that one thing gives, loads of other things start to give way too. It’s sort of like the Tower card in Tarot, I guess. If you’re familiar with Tarot, you’ll get what I mean. If not, it’s about the destruction of illusions and certain ways of things carrying on. It leaves things different when its course is run.
It’s with this realisation, coupled with that pervasive sense that most things tend to settle as they settle and change when they change, that I’m finding each challenge I’m faced with somewhat easiest to remain calm in the face of than the last. It’s like, five years ago, one problem happened and it toppled me for days – sometimes weeks. Yeah, I was a sensitive emotional wreck. Lol. Then going back even a year ago, a few things messing up hit me harder than it does now. After one thing going wrong I’d be like “Meh” then another thing would go wrong and I’d be like, “damn it” then another would be added to the pile and I’d be like “Shit damn fuck this shit.” and I’d get all ancy and emotional. And we all know that emotion just is not a sustainable source for decision making energy. Unless it’s backed by sound reasoning that is.
Now, though, I’m pleased to report that things going wrong once or twice is usually proceeded by a series of strategic responses from me. It goes like this…
“If this is happened, it was obviously necessary for some reason.”
“Has this happened due to an oversight or lack of action on my part?”
“If so, how can I ensure that it doesn’t happen again?”
“What can I learn from this so that, despite having ensured it doesn’t happen again, I am still able to have gained something worthwhile from the experience?”
Those questions and statements with a few minor circumstance-specific tweaks are about as useful as questions/statements come when things go wrong.
That’s when things go wrong once or twice. Any more than that (or even sometimes as soon as it goes wrong a second time), I respond with more drive. My responses turn from considered and reflective to considered and destructive. Still with emotion being driven by rationality and logic of course. Instead of the more cool and collected response I would’ve had when it first went wrong. This is what follows
“If this is happened, it’s clearly for a reason. Even if I don’t like it, it’s still happened.”
“What this my fault or someone else’s?” (Objective question. Sometimes it your fault and you need to fix it. Other times, it is actually someone else’s fault. This is objective and to be followed up by action and is therefore not “The Blame Game”).
If my fault: “What do I need to stop doing or do more of to make sure this never happens again?”
If someone else’s fault and they are not essential to my life: “How can I delete them from my life without forgoing the benefits of their presence, however minor.” (This might mean doing more or being more of a certain thing myself. That’s fine if they’re causing a lot of hassle. I’d rather put in extra work for less hassle than deal with time-wasters for and hassle.)
If someone else’s fault and they are essential to my life: “How can I make it clear to this person that they have really messed things up in a way that will show them what they have done/failed to do is not only bad for me but for them and everyone else concerned? How can I do this in a way that builds them up rather than beats them down?” (A beat down person does not contribute positively or in a way that yield positive results long-term). OR, “How can I remove this responsibility from them and assign it to myself or someone else without increasing hassle or negative repercussions?”
That might sound ruthless to some and it is intended to be. One of the things I’ve learned through the time I’ve spent being a wishy-washy person and dealing with other wishy-washy people is that wishy-wash-i-ness does not get things done. The resting nature of a wishy-washy mindset is to not make choices, not take actions and to sit around deliberating or talking fluff. That in itself is not not taking action. It’s still a decision. It’s the decision to be in-active, unproductive and therefore not a positive influence on the environment around them. As such, I have – over the years – gradually become less in-active and emotional and more pro-active, deliberate and purpose-driven.
Having a strategy in place is key.
Which leads me to an interesting point. For most people Spirituality is one thing and Personal Development is another. For most, these are two separate schools of thought sitting quite nicely at their desks in different corners of the same room. One desk is neat, tidy and a little bit neurotic, sat at by various business men and women with good-intentions and either no self-confidence or a start-up enterprise that needs more juice. And the other is covered in flowers, crystals and is itself neurotic in its own way – only the neurosis is cloaked by a thin veil of “beautiful chaos” so aptly and appallingly called “beautiful mess”. Guess which is which.
Yeah, for most people those are different schools of thought – different things entirely. For me, however, growing up with a Dad heavily into both at different points of his life. I find it largely quite difficult to tell the difference between the two. I hear people talking about energy work and all that and I think… “Yeah but what good is that if you’re not using it to shift your psychological approach to yourself and your life?” And then I see people talking about personal development and core values and all of that and I think… “But what good is that if it doesn’t help you find God?” And that’s where I’ve sort of sat for years. Without realising it, I’ve been sitting at the intersection of a very busy t-junction wondering why only the odd person here or there is sitting down with me while everyone else is caught up in their insane little bubbles of either being largely too focus on the “Bigger” things or on themselves.
That’s not a slight at either camp. There are, I’m sure, plenty of people within either group who are very balanced and mature individuals capable of seeing both sides of the coin and accepting the diverse nature of what life requires from us. You are, I’m certain, one of those people. Actually, I am certain you are otherwise you’d probably not be reading this right now. A takes a special sort of person to be here reading this. If that’s you, you’re awesome. Have a gold star. :B
Anyway, yeah, I find myself at this interesting crossroads. But not with the pressing obligation to choose one road and travel on it… Much more like the guy who moves into a new apartment without realising it’s right next to a train-track. Wondering why there’s always so much noise and why I never really find myself agreeing with much that is said – because most people seem (in my opinion) to be missing one side of a very valuable coin. Like one of those 5 pound coins that were circulating years back. I think my Nan still has one of them. She’s the type of woman who gives her grandkids shiny 2 pence pieces because they were shiny. Is that a type of woman? Or just her…
Keep it real,
Live, love and play.