"Core Operating State" is a term my mum gave to me recently, and it has changed everything.
A few weekends back, everything in my life seemed to stop working all at once, building, building, building into a moment of combustion (read: meltdown), after which, I called my mum to tell her that I finally saw "it" -- that I react immediately and strongly to every hairpin trigger. It wasn't about the action at hand, it was the moment before -- how I was reacting to something unwanted or uncomfortable, that was setting the tone for all the unproductive actions that followed.
When I saw this, there was then an opening to first discover and then start to implement a deep practice of noticing the reactions, practicing experiencing them rather than taking them as "truth." When I shared this with my mum, she said, "it sounds like you've had a shift in your core operating state." Yes! From being reactive and rigid to flexible and intentional.
When it comes to life not working, the "solution" is not necessarily in "treating" the relative appendages like diet, wellness routine, or workflow systems -- all are critical -- but they will be ultimately futile if the core operating state isn't addressed first.
The unanswered elephant in this room, is how to get insight into your core operating state, save said moment of "combustion." I'm not sure there is a clear -- or singular -- answer. Meditation might be a good place to start, but a more regular, frequent way might be to take a look at what is happening with you when you are smack in the middle of something upsetting. How are you responding to this kind of thing and why? Is your way of responding a pattern you can trace to other areas of your life? Here, you might start to glean a few Cheerios of a core operating state.
If you do, then follow that yellow brick road.