It took two and a half hours to buy tickets to a music gig. I said I would buy them online. Even as I said it, I had a bad feeling. It was supposed to be easy. It was supposed to take about 7 minutes.

Like many people, technology hassles are high on my list of frustrating experiences. I am not my best. I would rather not share just how terse my voice can get or what I mutter when I am on hold.

Get some perspective

First World problems. It’s embarrassing. I stayed with a family in Peru who farm the side of a mountain. They are warm and gracious people. They cook on a wood-fired stove and use a donkey for extra pulling power. I am throwing a wobbly over a bad internet banking experience.

Expectations

I used the word “supposed to” an awful lot above. I got so damn frustrated because I expected things to be different. I wanted it to be easy. But things happen the way they happen. What we want to happen is besides the point.

The size of the payoff

We want the result to reflect the effort and time we spend on it but the payoff is never guaranteed. Some things pay off handsomely and others are a big flop. Big flops can make wonderful learning experiences.

Just give up

I wanted to make some progress. I wanted to achieve something but it was not to be today.  Some days are like the turning tide. Some days you will not make progress and trying harder will only make you crazy and unpleasant.

Rest and enjoy

So on those days, take a nap if you can. Have a nice cup of tea. Walk around the block. Play with a dog. Read a book. Watch a DVD. Sit under a tree. Stare at the wall for a bit. Lower your standards. Did you get dressed this morning? That was your achievement today.

When you’re tired and overdrawn

Often those super frustrating days happen when you are tired and overdrawn. Some wiser creature knows you’ve done too much and you need a damn good rest. You’re human not a success machine.

Tomorrow is another day

When you’ve rested enough and accepted the way things are the tide seems to get moving, the direction is clear again. Now you can flow with it. You can’t control the speed but you can get back in the water and go with it.

Control

Bad news: we don’t have control. It’s never really us running the show. Maybe it’s never really our efforts that move us at all. Maybe the most we do is to get back in the water and steer a bit.

Listening

The good news is that maybe we can do less to get where we want to go. Maybe the real art is not in spending a lot of energy but just developing awareness. Can we learn to listen, feel the energy of the day, use the flow rather than fighting it?

The character of a day

Today is a grey day with no wind and a little misty rain. This morning I put a chicken casserole in the slow cooker. I started out in tune with the day. It’s a day to let things simmer for hours. Something good will come of it but you can’t push it.

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