Image: Goya, The Forge, 1812-1816 Oil on linen The Frick Collection, New York City
A subject that seems to rarely be discussed in counter-cultural circles, and yet is all-pervasive, is how to deal with the fragmented frustrations involved in daily life. I woke up predawn as usual to write and a new computer monitor that worked perfectly until this morning was now flatly refusing to recognize the signal it should have been getting from my CPU. I messed with settings on it and on my laptop, tried a different cable, etc. feeling the precious predawn zone I prefer for writing (see Pre-Dawn Window Zone) slipping away as I dealt with obnoxious, mundane, mechanical resistance. As the frustration with it rose, I also thought about all the “open loops” (unfinished tasks) crowding around the next couple of days. I knocked off a couple of big ones last night and then drove off to complete another and found that the engine light had come on in my vehicle—another open loop to deal with today. I pushed the monitor issue aside (and yes, I realize these are first-world hardships) and wrote from my laptop. It ended up being a good writing session anyway. And then I wrote a bit in my journal, that spirit voice, the voice of the higher self, whatever you want to call it advising me on how to deal with such typical frustrations: This morning is a good example of what you need to do to fulfill your mission in the Babylon Matrix. Details. Details. Details. There are always going to be mechanical resistance and loops opening or lying open at your feet ready to trip you up. You are going to feel the imcompleteness of that, the wrongness of it, the inappropriateness of it in a world where the inappropriate is appropriate. As someone put it, “life is just one damn thing after another.” You know what to do. You just have to deal with the one goddamn thing after another, without letting yourself get hung up too much or distracted by open loops when you are working on an open loop or something of higher value. Relax into full engagement with the one thing you are focusing on right now, because that’s the most you can do. Focus on your stance. If you keep focusing on the one thing at a time, the leaky boat stays afloat, and the mission progresses. Loops will keep opening. Things that were working perfectly will keep breaking. Accidents and mishaps will happen. Petty tyrants will appear. Friends will become estranged and polarized and outcomes with them cannot be controlled.
Don’t focus on any open loops except the one you are focused on at the moment. If you think of or notice others, add them to the list. Start the day with majors, then work on some minors, exercise, do a few more minors perhaps, take time for social and other higher value opportunities. Bailing out the leaky boat, closing open loops as others open is the daily struggle.
You will usually feel stressed or celebratory. Don’t let that be an excuse to abuse your body or slacken healthy disciplines. Keep moving through the weeds doing the one damn thing after another. You are guaranteed to get through it, one way or another.
For my major work on this topic see Mechanical Resistance Matrix—available in document form, as a podcast and a Youtube and follow the links within it for more on perfecting your stance toward the daily frustrations of life.