How to Escape the Pattern was my Constant Thought…



“How to escape the pattern?” was my constant thought. How to escape the pattern? How to escape the pattern? How to escape the pattern? How to escape the pattern? But this was making a pattern not escaping it! Me asking this question was the pattern! Or at least it was part of the pattern. One of the various assorted sub-patterns of the overall structure. Me thinking about how I could escape the pattern was the pattern that I was trying to escape from, but I didn’t know it. I wasn’t able to understand it. You can appreciate I’m sure the difficulty that I was in. You can appreciate at least something of the predicament that I was caught up in…


Can you blame me if I was at my wits end? No matter how hard I thought about escaping the pattern I was so terminally stuck in, that was only another part of the pattern. I was extending the pattern ahead of me. Another loop of the pattern, another baroque little curlicue. It was loops within loops within loops. It was little circles within bigger circles within even bigger circles. I was you could say busy getting nowhere fast. Busy getting nowhere in a terrible hurry. Busy making things worse for myself the whole time and not having the sense to stop. When you go around the loop enough times you lose your sense. It evaporates, leaving you senseless.


Most the time that I was going around and around in circles in the pattern I didn’t know that everything I was doing was part of the pattern. I was too caught up in it, too engrossed in it. Too bloody obsessed with it. I was too fixated upon getting from A to B to C and then moving on to D. Too involved in all the details and believe me there were a lot of details! It frightens me when I think of how many details they were. I won’t go into them – I don’t want to bore you. I don’t want to drive you daft. The details aren’t particularly interesting when it comes down to it. They’re actually the least interesting thing in the entire universe. That’s how interesting they are! I didn’t see that at the time though because I was too keen on completing my quota. I was too het up about it all, too pressurized by it all. I was putting all my efforts into getting the next box ticked. And then the next and the next and then next. Living from goal to goal, ticking them off the list as I went. Thinking to myself that everything would be fine just so long as I could take care of all the little details that needed to be taken care of. Thinking that I was getting somewhere…


Sometimes this ran more or less smoothly and then at other times I just couldn’t cope at all. Every so often I would run into a wall of pure anxiety about ticking the boxes – there just seemed to be too many of them and I would feel overwhelmed. It would get to me. It would occur to me that I might not be able to tick the next box, that I might not be able to take care of the next detail. Despite the fact that I had already done it God knows how many millions of times! All of a sudden I’d get this feeling that I wouldn’t be able to get it right. Panicky feelings would rise up within me and I would do my level best to quell them. I’d try to force the panic down and just concentrate on the job at hand. Dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s.


I could go on for ages like this. Running around the tracks like a little toy Formula One racing car. Whizzing around and around the loops. Getting crippled by anxiety ever so often and then having to force my way through it at a snail’s pace – dithering about, agonizing about every routine decision. Beating myself up about it. Giving myself hell. As if I wasn’t having enough of a shit time already. And then generally after what seemed like forever the anxiety would eventually lift and I’d go back to racing around the loops again. Totally absorbed in the mad busy-ness of it all. Caught up in the hurly-burly of it. The incessant breakneck pace of it. Never a chance to think. Never a chance to gather my scattered wits together. Just frazzled, worn out by the sheer nonstop pressure of it all. Hypnotized. Witless. Trying to keep it all together. Keep all the balls in the air. Stop it from all unwinding in some sort of unthinkable catastrophe…


And then every now and again I would come to. I’d come to my senses. On the odd rare occasion I would come to realize that it was all just a loop. A loop that I was stuck in for no good reason at all. Other than the fact of being stuck in it. I was stuck in it because I was stuck in it, that’s all. No other reason was needed. I was stuck because I was stuck.


At these times I’d see that it was all just the same old pattern over and over again, that I was never ever getting anywhere new. That I was doing it all for nothing. I was driving myself around the twist for no reason at all. I was driving myself demented getting nowhere fast. And then of course when I see this I think about how I can put a stop to the madness. I start asking myself how I can get out of the terrible pattern that I’m stuck in. Not realizing that me asking this question is part of the pattern that I’m stuck in… Not realizing that I’m just stuck in another loop of it, another sub-unit of the pattern.


At other – even rarer  – times I do get to see that my attempt to escape the pattern is the pattern that I’m trying to escape from. I actually see it very clearly. At these times I am faced with a choice – do I try to escape the pattern of me trying to escape the pattern, or do I just go back to sleep, go back to following the pattern and thinking that I’m actually getting somewhere with it, go back to losing sight of the fact that it is all just a pattern?







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