Norman Vincent Peale wrote “There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” While Paul and I walked in the Rocky River Reservation, I showed him the beach glass I’d found on the beach the previous week and said, it reminds me of the ebb and flow of the tide, how the waves calm me, and what’s important.” He took my hand and replied, “You find meaning in everything, don’t you?” Later, while eating warm bread with Italian olive oil, I examined the label on the bottle of Sangiovese and asked the waiter about the wine region. The waiter said few people ask that question, and Paul said, “This woman does that. She’s anything if not enthusiastic.” That’s the woman I want to be, the one who knows magic because she’s enthusiastic about life. I am a woman who refuses to let life become boring, run-of-the-mill, and ordinary, knowing the good life is in a small miraculous moment. Mediocrity doesn’t recognize the miraculous. Again, it’s the choices we make on how to spend our time that make a good day, a good life.
Archive | December, 2014
Week 11, Friday, December 19, Delisting Lists—I’m figuring out a marketing campaign for 30 Perfect Days, the book. The blog was the first step. Reviews on Amazon have been overwhelmingly rewarding—the book’s worth is right there. But the marketing is one of those things that I talk about on Day 11, one of those tasks on my list that can bring an entire day down. On Day 11, Delisting Lists, I chose a quote from Carol Orsborn, who wrote in her book Enough is Enough “Busy, busy, busy we pass the days of our lives—gone all too soon. Gone before we get to our dreams of creative expression, self-fulfillment, nurturing.” I asked why our lists of things to do matter so much. To-do lists are based on fear, and what I really want, with my book at least, is for it to grow organically, for people to buy it because they come across it and it looks interesting. Most of the time, I should focus on what my soul needs; I just need to do one of the things I like best—writing. When I came up with my Absolutes, they did NOT include tasks from my to-do list.
Week 10, Friday, December 12—On Day 10, I nested at home, I got off the tiger for a day. Maybe that’s all we need is a day or a week of vacation, but I still felt the tug to give it all up and begin anew. I was lying in wait for answers by spending time on what I love. I began with writing, for balance, calmness, and preparation. I read Hemingway because his words are true and real and no-nonsense. Paul and I shopped for daffodil and tulip bulbs and bought a carving pumpkin and Halloween candy after our daily walk. The sky was that vibrant blue of fall that only happens when the leaves provide a red and orange contrast. We sat on the deck, watched and listened. I inventoried the house, picked up stray socks and magazines, sorted mail and newspapers, made my home mine again. We celebrated Sweetest Day with a bottle of Finger Lakes Hunt Club wine. As the day came to a close, I remembered that being “home” is not just about being in the space, it’s about taking care of the base camp before going out into the war zone again.
Week 9, Saturday, December 6—There’s a Chinese proverb that says “He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.” We may give a lot of lip service to wanting a simple life, but in reality, we’re afraid to dismount and change direction. We have all kinds of reasons for not starting over or leaving everything we know behind, yet we know we created a life of obligations that has become burdensome. How do we confront that fear? In Umberto Eco’s The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, a man who lost his memory tries to tie together fragmented pieces of his childhood, but it remains disjointed, even as he makes connections. During my Perfect Days project, my own meandering and complex journey seemed disjointed, and I tried to put together the pieces that were my father’s illness, the pace of work, social obligations, marriage, home, and family, and I knew that no one else who put me on that tiger’s back. I was afraid to give up my lifestyle, yet my life was a whirling dervish kind of ride. More in the book . . .
Sunday, November 30—If we are our choices, as Jean-Paul Sartre proclaimed, the question that begs asking is whether our choices are in line with who we are. On the 8th day of my perfect-days’ project, the many choices facing me, led me to my yoga mat where I did a few sun salutations and warrior poses and decided to simplify my day. I read the book Fire Starters on the bus, sat in the Eastman Reading Garden for The Artist’s Way conference call, and wrote Haiku during an afternoon break. Every time I choose to do something for myself, I am choosing not to do something for someone else. The Artist’s Way shows us we should allow the universe to work through us, to achieve what’s needed to be achieved, to realize our mission. For that, we must be willing to fill up the well, that place inside us that requires nourishing, to give us energy and courage to do what is required. Sometimes, making the choice for ourselves feels wrong, but it is the right choice.