It looks like I was tempting fate when I suggested that all was well with the website. I’m not saying much more about that as I am running out of hair to sacrifice. But, it has been making me angry. And when I say angry, I mean that kind of all-encompassing, unreasoning rage that you felt as a teenager. Or when you were learning something new and felt like you dropped 100 IQ points overnight. Like me, you need to manage your rage before the excess of emotion hangover.
The problem with coding (aside from the lack of a user-friendly interface) is that there is no room interpretation. The answer is either yes or no. Not maybe, ask me tomorrow when I’m not busy, or can I come back to you on that. It’s 0 or 1, not 0.657841. You can’t reason with it, can’t sweet-talk it, can’t do anything but rage against its rigidity. As a writer, I have billions of interpretations – I’m not real good at binary dilemmas like this.
When you are full of rage, you feel like one of those cartoon characters with steam coming out of your ears. Or in my case a nuclear bomb going off inside my skull. I need a way to dissipate that rage. When I was a teenager, I would slam my door and play Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring deafeningly loud. (This video will start playing immediately and has sound. It’s 40 minutes long so you might like to pencil it in for later). Having just listened to it again, I really must get a digital copy.
Young ladies in the eighteenth century would pound out Beethoven piano sonatas for a similar emotion expelling effect.
I think there are times where you do need to spend that rage in a way that is safe for you and everyone around you. But a better, preventative way to manage your rage is to build up your resistance. That way you won’t reach that pinnacle of violence in the first place. And it seems that the best way to do that is to meditate regularly.
Why You Need to Meditate
According to Eric Barker, meditation makes you healthier and happier. Meditation teaches you to be aware of the way that you bad-mouth yourself. During meditation, you simply focus on breathing in and out. Not that it’s quite that simple because stray thoughts pop up all the time. The powerful part of meditation is that when they do, you listen to the thoughts just long enough to name them and go back to your breath. You might think you will be late for dinner, so you label it worrying, and focus once more on your breath. As Barker says, it’s like writing it on your to-do list; you can forget it for the time being.
Meditation practice comes with a useful byproduct; you get better at being present in the moment. You are less likely to be carried away with all the bad-mouthing you give yourself (you are so stupid that you can’t understand coding). Plus you can name it “frustrating” and go back to looking at the data that tells you why the coding isn’t working the way you expected it to.
In his TED x talk (also has sound and starts playing immediately), Chris Baily suggests that meditation can help you make better use of your time; spending it where it means something. And that’s because what you do with it is a more reliable indicator of “success” than how early you get out of bed.
As well as focus, it’s useful for managing stress and understanding when you need to take a break and walk away from what you are doing. It’s the adult equivalent of storming into your room and slamming the door. Ultimately, while making time to meditate means you have less time available, you bring more focus and energy to your work which means you get more done.
Denouement (fancy word for resolution)
Most people think of meditation as an activity you do when you are calm, but it’s more of a practice to fall back on in times of stress. If you can take a deep breath and name your frustrations mid-chaos, you can mindfully manage your rage. You can draw a cloak of calmness about you, walk through the chaos and emerge unscathed on the other side.
As for me, I’m going to retrieve my laptop from the lawn and call a glazier to fix the window. (Just kidding DB, but I am going to eat your Wagon Wheels. The irony of having to link to Wikipedia because Arnotts do not adequately describe their products is not lost on me. If you’re interested in making your own, try Alice’s).
So how do you manage your rage? Do you focus on prevention, dispersion or mitigation?