Solution Hypothesis:: Daily meditations helped focus my attention and allowed for more singular progress
Proposed Response:: Spend 10 min of the morning in meditation
And now that I have your attention, I'll begin. Welcome. As you know, this entertainment is called "Dispatches From Elsewhere" a title that I assure you will have more relevance as the story progresses. Unless this is your first experience with a limited-run episodic, which our records indicate it is not, then you're aware of the storytelling convention which dictates that the filmmakers spend an unnecessary amount of time to introduce you to our protagonist, his occupation, the particularities of his life, and, most importantly, the obstacles which stand in the way of his happiness. As the first of my many gifts to you, my friends, I propose we skip this convention and get on with what you came here for the story. I propose I return to you 20 minutes of your life by reducing the standard introduction to a mere two minutes.
This is Peter.
Think of him as you.
He is you if you lived alone and woke every weekday to your iPhone alarm, still set to the default chime "radar."
Peter is you if you walked to work in the morning, which he neither enjoys nor does not enjoy. He never makes eye contact with his fellows and assumes his fellows never make eye contact with their fellows, either.
Peter is you if you worked a reliable job at a company which offers on-demand listening of over two millions songs for a modest monthly fee. In addition, the company's innovative algorithm conveniently informs you of songs you will enjoy based on your prior listening history, saving you the hassle of unpleasant and unnecessary musical exploration.
Peter is you if you walked the same route home as you did to work, only, as I'm sure you understand, in the opposite direction. He generally stops into his corner bodega to procure dinner, which often consists of packaged sushi with a small packet of brown liquid salt and spicy green putty.
Peter is you if you ended your day in the same place you began it, with no change. Every day like the others, with the exception of meaningless and arbitrary deviation. Burrito instead of sushi, perhaps.
And this is tragedy in its most quietly devastating costume. A life without risk. A life without real pain. A life without real joys. This is existing, not living. At least that is my philosophy. And at the end of the day that's all I've got. So, my friends, I think we've got the idea. Now you know Peter. Squint your eyes, and Peter is you. Enough so, at least, that I think we can jump right into the day something changes.
I should like to confess now that I lied to you once and only once during my introduction. I can assure you, however, that I remain a reliable narrator.
And just what do we mean by "Divine Nonchalance" anyway? A casual way of sauntering down the street? A kind of cool, perhaps? Or something more?
Divine Nonchalance cannot be bought or sold, packaged or purveyed. It is a power that can only be found within.
I can tell you're still confused. Perhaps I can help illuminate further. Let's take a look at this again. You like cartoons, don't you? Of course you do. Everyone likes cartoons. Picture in your mind a cartoon character, any cartoon character. Watch as she saunters down the street, seemingly unaware of impending danger lurking around every corner. Some may mistake her ease for ignorance. Others may marvel at her naiveté. But Divine Nonchalance is something different, my friends. It is a perpetual quietness of heart when all around you is seeming chaos. It is an unspoken understanding that somehow, through the trials and tribulations, fears and foes... ...you are protected by some timeless innocence, some eternal joy, some universal love that need not be named. But life is not a cartoon, is it, my friends? So what, then?
This is Simone. Think of her as you.
So much love staring her right in the face, and yet she turns and runs away. This is Simone. Think of Simone as you. Simone is you if you woke up every morning believing today would be the day you could finally be happy, not realizing that you were the only obstacle standing in your way. Simone is you if you never truly felt a part of anything. Simone is you if, your whole life, you felt like you'd been invited by mistake. Simone is you if you finally worked up the courage to do the one thing you knew was going to make everything different, the thing that would at last fill the hole that had been silently growing within, only to find something terrifying waiting on the other side. You still felt exactly the same. Simone is you if you were beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe, you're always going to feel... alone.
Now, my friends, the time has come to picture Janice...
Ah, Janice. So much spirit, so much life force, so much determination. And yet I sense a hint of fear, of desperation behind those glasses. Perhaps some of you are thinking, "You have misled me, Octavio. In our previous two chapters, you tried in vain to convince me that Peter and Simone were my surrogates, and all the while, I struggled to make a personal connection". Well, dear Viewer, our entertainment has something for everyone, I assure you. So, perhaps the time has come to consider that Janice is you. Tonight's entertainment will be an adventure, a quest to rescue a partner held hostage. A quest to procure a clue from the clutches of the enemy. And perhaps the beginning of a quest to answer the question, "Who am I?" But first, to frame our story and create emotional stakes, you must know a bit about Janice... her history, her current dilemma. As you know, my goal, as always, is to value and respect your time. And as such, I will now impart the necessary knowledge in a concise but emotionally resonant way. You like cartoons, don't you? Everyone likes cartoons. Let's imagine, friends, that Janice is you. Janice is you, if years ago, you found exactly what you were looking for, or as anyone with real time under their belt would admit, nothing close to "exactly", but lovely, nonetheless. Janice is you, if, despite your fears, you dedicated yourself to a journey traveling side by side with another. Janice is you, if your partnership was strong enough to endure anger and betrayal... loyalty and commitment overcoming all that stood in its path. Janice is you when life brought the greatest of gifts, and with it, a new partnership, one from which there was no looking back. Janice is you when a role you thought would last forever changed. A natural progression of course, but painful, nonetheless. Janice is you, if despite the ups and downs, twists and turns of life, one thing remained constant. For better and for worse, almost always for better, you didn't have to do life.. alone. Janice is you, if, after years of building a life, an identity, a family... through sickness and in health, from births to graduations, life swooped in with its harshest of reminders. Nothing lasts forever. So, my friends, I think now you know Janice. Squint your eyes, and Janice is you. Janice is you, if suddenly, you realized that the identity you had spent a lifetime to build was suddenly ripped away. A partner without a partner, forced to answer the hardest question of all... "What am I supposed to do now?"
Look at the determination, the drive to power. Self-will run riot.
Let's think of Fredwynn as you.
Fredwynn is you if you've ever obsessed over anything so badly that it ached in your chest.
Fredwynn is you if you believed that if you could just cross the finish line, solve that mystery, get that promotion, buy that house, then perhaps you might just feel... okay.
Fredwynn is you if your drive toward "it" became so all-consuming that it devoured everything that stood in its path... relationships, family, friends.
Oh, and Fredwynn is also you if you're currently locked in the trunk of my car.
Please... do extract yourself.
Your story is your own. Try something. Make something. It's okay to be wrong.
"My name is Clara, and I am you". "If you found your way here, it must mean we are more alike than you know. Heck, if you squint your eyes, maybe I am you". I am Clara. I'm creative, really determined. Sometimes I'm scared. And one time... Well, one time I was swallowed up by the dark. Move a little closer. Get comfortable. Because I am Clara. And I am you. Don't believe me? Fine. I'll show you"
As you are clearly aware, this entertainment is called "Dispatches From Elsewhere", a title whose relevance I personally became aware of only recently. Unless this is your first experience with a limited-run episodic, which we all know that it is not, you would assume that we are rapidly approaching the end of our journey together. But you would be wrong. While our time together is drawing to a close, we are, as we've always been, in the middle of our story.
Take Peter. Peter is you if 351 days had passed in your temporal frame of reference since the absolute, indisputable no two ways about it worst night of your life. Peter is you if, for most of your life, you couldn't quite shake the feeling that something was missing. And then you finally got a taste of what real happiness was. But then it was just gone. Then one day, it dawns on you... a realization as terrible as it is totally obvious. That the real problem... worse, maybe the only problem... is actually just you. Like I said, Peter is you if you were smack-dab in the middle of your story, but there's one thing you still haven't figured out. Is this story a comedy... or a tragedy, or something in between?
Me again. Three things... One, stories are made of smaller stories like Russian Dolls. Two, Russian dolls are adorable but pointless. Three, and this is big, so pay attention... stories are manipulations of time, of space, of point of view. They show us what they want us to see. Got it?
Take Simone. Simone plays a major role in Peter's story. But Simone's story is also her own. Simone is you if you ever felt like the only thing you could count on in life was being let down.
Be courageous, be brave, be you.
We've made a terrible habit culturally of putting the words "just a" in front of "coincidence". Is it because we're afraid of the web or the spider? When we start taking action... forward action... the spider gives us signs that we're on the right track, if we're brave enough to see them. Stories are acts of courage, and moments of truth.
Janice is you, if you ever worried that your best days were behind you... Sometimes, stories are about making them your own.
but it's only now dawning on you that sometimes, stories are about making them our own
"The game is over." "Come on. The game is never over. We're always right in the middle of it until we're not. So, look, I just think maybe we should play as hard as we can while we still have the chance.
I am you if you ever suspected that things were not as they appeared. If you sensed that mysterious forces were at play. If you knew you couldn't rest until you finally knew the truth.