Delray Beach, FL
Notes From My Journal: The logic of having a good day
Having a good day for me is largely determined by how I start my day. And how I start my day is largely determined by me – i.e., what I choose to do.
I’ve discovered by trial and error (mostly error) that to start off right I must choose to do something that I value.
How do I know what I value? By taking note of how I feel during and after an activity. When I do something valuable (to me), I feel good in a special way. I feel like I have done something that satisfies my view of the person I want to be. And that is always something that challenges the head and lightens the heart.
That sounds like what I value is all about me – but it’s actually about everything outside of me.
What activities give me that good feeling? Teaching. Writing. Loving.
There may be other activities that hit the mark, but those are the ones I’ve identified so far. And I’ve been working on this for more than 50 years.
I wake up. Never anymore with the surge of energy I had during my first 40 years. I’m sore. I’m stiff. I want to do something easy.
What is easy?
* Reading the news
* Watching YouTube
* Playing video games
* Watching any sort of entertainment
* Reading email
In other words, any activity that amounts to going online.
So that’s what I want to do in the morning. But I know that such activities, though easy and even comforting, will leave me feeling empty. I also know that the activities I value – writing, teaching, and loving – are not easy.
Which brings me back to this…
Having a good day is all about the first thing I choose to do. And the first thing I choose to do is largely up to me.
It’s up to me but it isn’t easy. That is a fact that I have to deal with. Every day. First thing in the morning.
Today’s Word: nacreous (adjective)
Something that’s nacreous (NAY-kree-us) is lustrous and opalescent, resembling mother-of-pearl. Example from The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols: “The sunset, rosy, orange, nacreous in spots, flecked with pastel blues and streaks of lavender and blood, reflected gorgeously in those few school windows not yet broken.”
We breathe 11,000 liters of oxygen every day.
From My “Work-in-Progress” Basket
Under the Limb of Forgetfulness (After CS)
All this time seeping into us
After so many years memory is brittle
Yet I remember you now in the flowered shirt
Looking out toward something I can’t see
I want to go back again and run after you
Chasing the fluttering sound of your shirttails
That picture of you on the book cover
I don’t look at it much anymore
What I remember are the nights drinking
And the silent stretches after the fighting
So many difficult conversations about love
About artifice and construction and language
Let’s sit inside this close circle
While the phantoms of our former selves
Dance clumsily among the flickering trees
Let’s meet then under a bough of forgetfulness
Embraced and untethered and start over
“Power does not corrupt men. Fools, however, if they are in a position of power, corrupt power.” – George Bernard Shaw