I ride the wave of the day, feeling it swell, crest and crash under me. I try to stay balanced but sometimes I fall off.
Keep calm, relaxed, no fear, no anxiety, no resentment, no bitterness, no frustration, no doubt. Stay calm and relaxed, stay positive and update.
But things happen and I totter...they're outside of my control. Computer apps don't work. Absurdities reign at work. The cats all want onto my lap, demanding my attention while my wife tells me about something -- all oblivious to the wave I ride.
Another app fails. Emails arrive unrelated to my app issues. Some in the company have gone into panic mood. They've been talking about something for weeks. June 29th was the deadline to complete it and things didn't go as they expected. They used panic mood to get to this point and all they can do is escalate the panic. Why did they wait so long? It would be almost comical; reading the emails shows many not paying attention, putting in ignorant responses. Nothing I can do to help them. I'm in a time warp, email time, fifteen minutes behind. Others don't answer because it's after quitting time on America's east coast.
Ride the wave as it rises higher. Another app falls. Why is it failing? WTF? The cats are all over me, one on my desk to my left trying to get to my lap, one to my right on my desk, looking for a path to my lap, the third, singing from my feet looking for a way to my lap. My wife is watching a video on her computer, talking to it, to herself, to me -
I fall off the wave. Shoo at the cats. Stand. Chase myself outside, get alone, breath deep, breath deep, breath deep.
Be calm. Be relaxed. No stress. No anxiety. No fear. No doubt. No worry. No anger. No frustration.
I pull some weeds. The cats come out and find me.
I return to work and shut it down, angry with myself for letting those trivialies enjoin me to lose it. Damn it. Well, that doesn't help, either.
In the bedroom, I read. Purring cats visit me. I close my eyes. The waves are calmer, easier to ride. Cool air sprayed with rain drizzles over me. Stress leaks out.
I ride the wave of the day. For moments, I feel like I'm in another place and time. Germany, on my bed there. With my eyes closed, the smell is so similar. I am there. I am young. August, 1990. Desert Shield. If I open my eyes, I'll be in my house there, in my battle dress uniform, taking a brief nap after getting off work. My wife has just left for the states. The buildup has begun but I'm due to return to America in a few months.
The drizzly breeze dies and the moment falls apart. Opening my eyes, I pet a cat on either side of me and think about why I lost my balance and smile at myself. It's an old lesson, one I still learn, one I'm still trying to live.
I read, the cats nap and I finish the book and think of my own novel and stories to write. Paragraphs swim through my head. Writing in my head is a calming drug but I need to get it on paper.
I'm hungry. Let's go out to eat. Then walk around town and get some frozen yogurt, do some errands, plan the weekend.
I'm not yet balanced. I feel better but I'm in a trough. Frustrations still bedevil me. Crashing apps, foolish company decisions, poor judgements...none of it is anything within my control.
There is the source, the problem. It's not within my control. I am helpless. I despise that sense of helplessness. I despise their lack of planning. I despise their crises management style that they live and die on. They never seem to learn from it, and forever repeat it. They are a dysfunctional learning organization. I despise these crashing apps, promising to deliver and then failing. I despise the company's team style, you're on your own, find a fix, fix it yourself. They dismiss problems with contempt and the problems continue. By closing their eyes to the issues, they are the problem. They are the problem I cannot fix.
The swell begins to pick me up. Let's go eat. Be calm, be relaxed, no fear, no doubt, no worry, no anxiety, no anger, no resentment, no hostility, no bitterness.
Tomorrow is another day to ride the waves.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com