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Sunday, March 21, 2010


How do we deal with being stuck in a messy situation?

The nature of a mess is that you put energy into fixing it and it is still a mess. Perhaps one can slowly turn a mess into not a mess, but during the process it will be a mess. The key is to not look for completion, and to make sure one has other resources and interests. Some kinds of life projects give regular rewards, and have regular moments of clarity and transformation. A mess on the other hand, is a constant drain. Again, the work may still be valuable, and in the end, something good may come of it, but for large amounts of time, no such rewards are there, and not being draining may be the best possible scenario.

When one is involved in such a project, it is rather frustrating because one is often asked if one is passionate about it, and if one loves it. But really, all one can say is that one is trying to improve a mess. One can barely even talk intelligibly about it because the nature of the mess is that it cannot be clearly defined, and in fact incoherent approaches to characterization of the issues may abound. Thus, not talking about it may be the clearest and most honest approach available, but this leaves oneself in a state of mystery where one is exhausted, but cannot say why. Historical and psychological analyses of those involved may also help, but without the grounding in other healthier areas (such that its essentially just an approach of humor/compassion), one may again be led to increasing the problem, rather than improving it.

Living through a mess is difficult because one's faster/more direct analytical facilities are led astray. The one thing that one may do is to constantly remind oneself that one is involved in a mess, think to somewhat more healthy situations, and not push too hard. Put energy into it, notice that it is still a mess, and then recover from that effort, having hopefully pushed things along incrementally such that they will be a bit better then next time you return.

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