Yesterday, for reasons of I’m still not entirely clear, was an absolutely terrible day for me emotionally. In fact, I would dare say that it was my most mentally distressed day in six months. Looking at a more positive side of things, the day did offer an opportunity to use many of the teachings of the Buddha, my new “mental tools,” to contemplate my thinking in such situations.
In retrospect, the day really didn’t go that poorly. I got a lot accomplished at home in the morning, the flow of my evening’s work went smoothly, and aside from a few glitches (discussed later), all was well — but not in my mind. I have to face it, I woke up grumpy, and the whole day was really just a cascade effect of fail. I will elaborate some…
I had a hard time as I got started in the morning because I didn’t feel very appreciated. The desire to be appreciated for my efforts is a fetter I have not completely eliminated, this I know. I got to working on chores that I had asked for help with (but had not received) over the previous couple of days, and I let it get me worked up. I think I articulated my irritation in a clear and rational way — meaning that I knew from the start that the problem was mine, not anyone else, and that my frustration was the result of having an incorrect mental picture of how things are or should be, when in reality I know fully well that both my wife and I are very busy with the now two-month-old baby and often, the various chores are simply taking a lower priority in comparison. This is unavoidable, and OK in and of itself.
So, for whatever it is worth, I want to apologize [again] to my wife. I’m sorry, Love. I don’t think I said anything nasty, but I know I wasn’t being very positive at the time either…
Ultimately, I did manage to spend about an hour on a couple chores that were backlogged by days, catching up to the point where today they required only minimal upkeep.
So then, I went to work. I felt a bit better, having caught up one things at home a bit and having an uneventful drive. There was a big meeting as we started the day, which in and of itself was kinda pointless in my opinion, but it didn’t bother me. Not twenty minutes passed after the meeting before I realized that something I use daily at work had been taken…
For those who don’t know, I operate a type of forklift equipment in a warehouse which requires a special harness be worn so that, if I fall, I will not plummet to my untimely death while on company time. They wouldn’t want that to happen, and neither would I, I suppose. So this harness was taken from a cabinet in which I usually store it, leaving me on foot all day. The “loss” sent me into a downward spiral for most of the rest of the day.
It is amazing how attached I clearly am to a piece of property that is not actually mine. Belonging to the company, I suppose I shouldn’t have been so upset when it went missing, but I kinda get the heebee-geebies about wearing a harness that somebody else has sweat all over for countless hours while working. I perceived the event as a theft, and was very mentally distraught about it. Afterward, I realized very quickly that everyone I talked to was quickly getting very defensive, and I decided that I would simply not speak unless I had to because I was very likely the cause.
Of course, in a work environment, the whole “vow of silence” thing doesn’t work, so I couldn’t be entirely quiet, but I certainly spewed forth a lot less negativity by talking as little as possible, and in an odd way, I kinda liked the silence. It gave me time to think about the circumstances that had led to my unhappiness, and I really feel like I made some [small] progress towards being better as a result of the hassle.
At the end of the day, the swiped harness turned up and I returned it to it’s cabinet. I have no perception of security that it will be there when I go in today, but I do appreciate that some of the bosses were sympathetic to my concerns (particularly the hygienic issue) and tried to help find it. Today, regardless of whether the harness is where I left it or not, I hope to be more calm and reasoned about it.
No one really enjoys being in a bad mood, and I used to be very prone to say lots of negative, hurtful things to people. I have come to see such negative mental states for the unpredictable and dangerous nature inherent to them, and I have to credit the Buddha’s teachings to helping me maintain a more level head about things than I otherwise might have. I’m far from perfect but what I’ve learned has brought me very far from where I was before, and I have no doubts that I can be even better in time.
I suppose even I have a bad day here and there, but I feel much better today. Thanks for reading, and I hope you are well, too, today.