Archives for posts with tag: It isn’t personal

I’m starting this one now, late in the work day, afternoon sunshine spilling through the window onto my laptop, while I’m still irritated. I’ve been in a great mood all day… then… not. A few critical cross-sounding words, delivered in a stern parental sounding tone, in the middle of my work day – where, I promise you, I am not a child – and my mood feels wrecked. (I say “feels wrecked” instead of “is wrecked”, because it is not my intention to allow things to remain in this annoying state.) It’s time for managing the mood wrecker, and getting on with work, and the day.

To be very clear, I don’t mean to convey “mood wrecker” as an entity or person. It’s a moment, a phrase, an experience – it’s not about the who, it’s about the feeling. Shall we continue?

So, I’m setting this up for tomorrow’s writing, freeing myself up to tackle this challenge right now, while it is currently an irritant. I can write about it tomorrow, that’s plenty soon enough. 🙂 Hell, by the time morning comes, I may no longer remember the moment of nagging negative assumption-making delivered as “feedback” in any specific way, and unfortunately, whether I explicitly recall the specifics verbatim or not, the emotional change of “weather” has not ever shown itself to be dependent on detailed recollection at all. It just “is”. I’d really rather not just sit around in a shitty mood for the rest of the day, into the evening, and wake up in a crappy mood, no longer even aware of why. So. I’ll be taking steps – and practicing practices. 😉

…Wish me luck…

Still, and again. The very best practices work that way.

Here it is morning. My coffee is hot, and I feel rested and content. It’s a pleasant morning so far. The day, yesterday, finished well, and honestly, it was only minutes later that I was over my moment of aggravation. Here’s the thing; the content of the feedback/reminder I was given wasn’t an issue or any sort of problem. It was legitimate, reasonable, and valued. The person giving me the feedback wasn’t the “problem” – I value them and appreciate their insights. When I got past taking the tone personally, I could “just hear the words”. Once I was able to simply let go of my annoyance with the (implicit) assumption that the negative experience being discussed is “always” something I am personally and exclusively responsible for, I was able to hear the feedback itself as feedback and value it for what it was – an expression of importance and value, and a request to do some small thing differently to meet a need. Funny thing is, it was a request to do something I already see myself as doing, generally, make a point of doing (usually) and had been specifically doing for a couple days un-reminded, for the person who later reminded me to do it on an occasion when it hadn’t been getting done! I totally took their feedback personally, which is silly since I’d happily been picking up some slack for them for a few days, after being asked to do so.

I definitely took it way personally, and resented the reminder in the moment I heard it, as a result. Was it the tone? Doesn’t matter. Was it the phrasing? Doesn’t matter. Was it “true”? Even that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the task itself getting done is important to both the person reminding me and to me, and we do both want to see it done, reliably. That’s really the point of delivering the reminder in the first place.

The steps and practices for getting past it were pretty basic:

  1. Breathe
  2. Don’t take things personally
  3. Practice non-attachment
  4. Find the value in the message
  5. Show compassion
  6. Pause for gratitude

That probably seems like “a lot”, but the time involved was minutes, and begin with meditation (most of those steps fit into the time I spent meditating). The gratitude? I literally took a moment to reflect on how grateful I am to be surrounded by people who do care enough to remind each of what matters to them, and to give honest feedback when things go wrong. Doesn’t work at all if it’s not sincere, and that’s why that step is last. Takes me a minute and a bit of work to get there. lol Step 2 is the “hard one”. It requires me to work on me.

Finding peace and balance is a very personal journey.

These things happen at work, they happen at home, and they are not experiences unique to my life and my relationships. 🙂 Letting it go took some effort, because emotions are not about what is reasonable, what is true, or what is comfortable. They are what they are. Same for the person griping at me about the concern in the first place; it had become an emotional issue. Their emotions were audible, and that colored my experience, too. I’m glad non-attachment is a tool in my toolkit of everyday practices. I’m glad I know to practice not taking things personally. Those two practices let me move past the moment of aggravation and resentment, to a place where I could understand and embrace where the speaker was coming from. Will any two individuals ever see things “the same way”? Probably only by coincidence, honestly. We’re more likely to think we have the same point of view, than we are to truly share an identical perspective with any one other person. Differences in experience (we are each having our own experience). Differences in values (which change how we evaluate what goes on in the world around us). Differences in “personal dictionary” (the words we use have nuanced meanings, and it’s rare that we take time to verify a shared understanding of meaning). Differences in practices (what we do or don’t do, generally, change how we view the world, too).

It’s a lot to take in. Practices require practice. Sometimes growth isn’t easy. I’m “over it” – I’m not mad or annoyed. I get the point. Hell, I even agree that the task we were discussing is needful, and that everyone needs to “pull their weight”. (And, being real, I often do need reminders to get new tasks down reliably, at least at first.) The hardest part for me was letting go the persistent desire to come back with “Yeah, for sure, but how about you, too, though?” Unnecessary, I think, and likely less satisfying that I’d want it to be. The person delivering the reminder already sees the task as needful, so much so that they were willing to explicitly request my help getting it done on days when they were frankly very busy with something else, and kept forgetting to do it, themselves. So… yeah. That just leaves “did I?” competing with “didn’t I?”, and taking something personally that wasn’t personal at all… Letting it go just ends up being the easier thing, entirely. 🙂

I woke this morning having forgotten the reminder, the moment, the irritation, and my temporarily wrecked mood (which bounced back pretty quickly, given a chance). It was just another morning, another cup of coffee, another day to begin again. The draft I started yesterday reminded me. Reminders are emotionally neutral, and serve a clear purpose. 🙂 It’s not necessary to take them personally, at all. It’s only necessary to begin again. 😉

Once we choose our path, we’ve still got to walk it. The journey is the destination. 🙂

So… internet connectivity issues in the 21st century, during a pandemic, while working from home… yeaaaaaaah… so…. wow…

…The world has changed a lot since 2000, hasn’t it?

A couple evenings in a row, we’ve experienced some connectivity challenges. Initially, I soothed my frustration with assumptions that it was, most likely, network bandwidth issues resulting from higher usage during peak hours – after all, my ISP’s status page indicated there were no outages in my area (although, checking the internet showed some consumer self-reporting to the contrary). It got worse, each day beginning a bit earlier, resulting in more frequent interruptions in connectivity, that began to last longer. Each time, resolving itself fully, for a shorter and shorter period of time. I reported it. No resolution, just the usual “did you try unplugging it and plugging back in?” sorts of basic troubleshooting. The next day I tried getting help through chat-based support, and frustrated myself with a fairly terrible customer experience, due to the ISP’s zeal to protect my account security (so, thanks, I guess?) – efforts which sometimes create new challenges because of my TBI. Yeah, that sucked, but apparently there was still “no outage in my area”, and it seemed like our connectivity was back…? Sort of? Mostly?

This morning I awoke and found myself face-to-face with my Traveling Partner’s apparently all night long frustration-journey with the intermittent lack of connectivity having become so severe that it was not possible to connect, which he continued to re-attempt, troubleshoot, and re-attempt some more, without success. His frustration was uncomfortable to be around, but so familiar; frustration is my kryptonite. I get it. What a shitty experience! The longer it goes on, the deeper and more encompassing it gets. Worsening that; all the log-in and authentication details are mine, and there’s never been, previously, any reason for that potential limitation to become a known, obvious, “need to fix this today”, sort of concern. So… he could not simply contact technical support and resolve it with them, himself. (Couldn’t have anyway, since their hours are extremely limited right now, in this time of pandemic; I had to wait until 6:00 am to call.) Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. What a shit experience that had to be for my partner! I only glimpsed those final moments at the ragged edge of his all-night-long frustration, before he yielded to sleep, and left calling technical support in my hands.

Some 90 minutes or so later, after chat support fails me utterly, over-the-phone troubleshooting confirms that some piece of technology outside the house has begun to fail (but still tries to serve), and needs a technician to actually touch it. Repair or replace? Unknown, and to be determined. I feel fortunate that there was an appointment window open tomorrow morning. Working from home, for me (probably for most people), requires a fast FiOS internet connection. No connection? No access to work tools. No ability to authenticate to access those tools if I could access them in the first place. lol I sip my coffee and reach out to my team – instead of enjoying my morning hours. (“Fuck this shit”, I snarl to myself, softly, not wanting to wake my partner with my irritation; I have much to do “in the office”, and this is a valued “get it done” day of the week. Super frustrating. My turn.) I start working on rescheduling what can be rescheduled, and figuring what I can do instead of what I can’t do. I succeed in coordinating with my team. I succeed in moving the one critical meeting that very much needs me to be connected to have any value. So far, so good.

It’s still weird that the only work tool I really have available is my email. I mean… seriously? Still, I can get some things done. That’ll matter tomorrow afternoon, and Friday, when I have to attempt to catch up everything else. 🙂

Finally, I sit down here, and begin to write, even though I already know that with this connectivity challenge, it’ll be the spin of a cosmic roulette wheel determining whether I can save it, and upload it, at any point. I actually feel pretty cut off, which feels pretty weird. If I were out in the trees, I muse, I’d be seeking this experience, and embracing it. Right now, though? It’s a major inconvenience. It tests my patience. Clearly, my Traveling Partner’s patience was also tested. It would be nice to be certain whether or not we “passed”. LOL

“Not connected. Trying in 31s…” I look at the router. Flashing light. Yeah, okay, I get it. I sigh, and make a second coffee.

As I pass through the living room on my way back to my studio, I smile at the books; I’ve got plenty to read. I grin at the aquarium; always something to do, to watch, to enjoy. I frown at my partner’s gaming computer… and my work laptop… It is what it is. Today it is temporary, and will (probably) be resolved tomorrow… but… what if it wasn’t? What if, and this is an unlikely “if” but worth considering, what if it were permanent? What if the internet simply failed. No recovery. No reconnecting. What would life look like without internet… after allowing connectivity to become such a critical piece of 21st century life? I mean, sure, books, games, love-making, conversation, crafts, hobbies, gardens… but… what about online shopping? What about connected gaming – or gaming that requires online authentication to proceed with local play? What about work? What about staying in touch with loved ones. (Do you even remember where you last saw a postage stamp in your home? Do you still have stationary?)

I find myself sitting with these questions, and this coffee, watching the dawn turn to day, and waiting for tomorrow… as if there’s no value in “now”. Weird. I breathe, exhale, relax, and pull myself back to “now”. Present. Awake. Listening to the sounds of life beyond this house – the occasional car goes by. Birds are singing. The otocinclus in the aquarium are contentedly seeking out any remaining algae to munch on. Life is very much still… alive. No connectivity required. I finish my coffee, hit my vape, and begin again.

…I don’t really know what today holds, but there are more ways to be “connected” than the internet. 😀