Week 7, Friday, November 21—When Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face,” she concluded that if you live through terrible times, you “can take the next thing that comes along.” On Day 7 of my 30-Perfect Days Project, I woke up anxious. My parents’ struggles with Dad’s cancer, all the running to and fro while sick and tired, overwhelmed me. My mother’s fear, my father’s confusion, and my worries about their declining lives enveloped me in a tight tension. My neck, shoulders and back hurt even before I got out of bed. I had no choice but to go forward—Dad was dying and I couldn’t stop it. I wondered whether the project itself was a ruse, an attempt to skip out on life. Living in the moment, seeking to live each day bountifully, and being positive about life has value, but as I sought excellence in daily living, my mother was growing thinner every week and my father’s nourishment was from a feeding tube. Later in the day while walking and holding the beach glass in my pocket, I accepted the sadness I was feeling and knew that I was already grieving for my father. I’d already lost my father. Read more in 30 Perfect Days.
Archive | November, 2014
Week 6, Friday, November 14—Abraham Lincoln once said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” The glass is half empty or half full. It sometimes surprises me how negative I can be with the tools I’ve given myself—yoga, journaling walking. Even with tools, we sometimes only see the half full glass or the thorns on the rose vines. It’s crazy how negativity can one’s control life. In her book The Motion of the Ocean, Janna Cawrse Esarey decided her marriage had gone sour just because they ran out of things to talk about eighteen months into their journey across the Pacific Ocean, and her days were full of dread and worry, having made an incorrect assumption. When I was sleepless and suffering from anxiety attacks 25 years ago, I was in spiritual pain, so I know that I can easily go back to darkness and gloom. But once last year I told Paul I would be fine with dying because I’ve lived my life hard and well, and I want for nothing, but on Day 6, I was mourning the loss of the father I knew, the loss of a light in the world, as he moved into the gloom of forgetfulness, and it wasn’t until I worked on my novel a bit that I was able to clear out the negativity. What tools help us get over our losses? We need to find them to live more abundantly.
Week 5, Friday, November 7—Finding abundance in ordinary life is not just about finding meaning and living in the moment; it’s also being authentic and in tune with who you are. C.G. Jung said it beautifully when he wrote “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” My 30-days project is largely a phenomenological exercise because I’m trying to discover the meaning things have in my experience of life. Heidegger’s Being and Time, a winding tome seeks to find the meaning of being in time, looks at our existence in the universe, our existentialism. When I rolled my yoga mat out on the hardwood floor this morning, I chanted an over-simplified “I am”—there’s nothing more profound and difficult as finding one’s true self, the center of “I am.” I still think back to the days I spent in my woodlands hermitage at Mount St. Benedictine’s as somewhat perfect days. I wrote and walked, I practiced yoga and read Thomas Merton’s Book of Hours, made use of the monastery’s hourly meditations, and sat with the nuns as they chanted in the morning. I was truly myself when I was there because no one else was around. How is being alone related to being authentic? At the end of Day 5, I was seeking answers. And that is enough.