An idea passed along from Rosemary,
Spirit Rock Meditation Center
1. Make a list of things that make you happy.
2. Make a list of things you do every day.
3. Compare the lists.
4. Adjust accordingly.
Now that’s an excellent idea, a step further than looking at glad-points.
To distance oneself from things that aren’t working leaves room to embrace things that are or could work even better.
As a primary school teacher chanted and taunted “you can’t always do what you want” but how is trade-off vs. payoff ratio?
Proportion’s the thing. How long something stays in the head and body compared to the actual doing. What do I enjoy?
Sitting and walking outside in weather that doesn’t feel like it’s trying to kill me. (Who doesn’t?)
Doing improv from what I know to new content. For example, how rhythm or short lines could fit and complement this other set of ideas in a poem. Or principles of what the parts in a biscuits do for chemistry and flavour and what other ingredients do.
Making a meal that works. (Last one didn’t. Nutrition but not so much flavour balance. But outcomes aren’t the thing. If you fail that means you’re more likely to be trying.)
What do I do every day? Search with a thumb on the book’s remote to find a phrase a like. Or a section of a poem. Maybe even a whole poem. Or few.
It’s hard to slow down to read instead of scan. Aloud helps but so much seems not built for the tongue.
What’s a daily that I don’t enjoy? Not being able to find books because they scatter over the desk, room, house.
What I dislike, tidying in the act, but do in the effect., that is to function. An orderly space helps the orderly pace of work.
What I enjoy: having everything within reach and knowing where everything is. Having a system I can control so I can can go as fast as possible without being tripped by any impasse.
What do I like? Putting away laundry in a rainbow arrangement. If it’s a top, formal or informal, it goes from black to white to grey to green to blue to purple to pink to red to orange to brown. Stopping the cacophony of colour ensures morning is one step less taxing.
What’s to like? One person enjoying a line, an idea, a poem, the ride of my poem. Engaging on them.
I enjoy watching people stretch themselves out of their comfort zone, until they become comfortable and capable and then stretch again, becoming more confident and centred in their skin instead of bunched up in one shoulder.
Maybe a list of pleasures and displeasures too small but it’s the little things. The stopping and resting for conversation without purpose, the leaning against one another, being each other’s furniture, the ease that comes after the minute to minute paying attention to create later ease.
I don’t come from a cultural inheritance of maintenance but fatalism. Dad would buy rotten vehicles that he finished wearing into the ground. I saw him change oil, which was rare, it was thicker than molasses. And he was even harder on his body. Deny it and see if that won’t fix it’s ___. Things didn’t get repaired just used until deemed irreparable. Some of Bring Poor rings too true.
I want a different model that’s more sustainable, more joyful, more caring for the process, more about choice rather than presumed defaults. It takes a long time for the now to catch up with the now.
Photos are like dust particles for a word-snowstorm to gather around.
When too tired for words, there are photos.
When there are no photos…Houston, we have a problem.
I suppose that means clear skies for doing rather than talking head.
But body feels like a rusty nail.
Bah, such a headache. Day 2 of feeling steamrolled.
Good thing good events are good because the crash is substantial for an insubstantial thing.
Ever feel like a chump for going to a dentist?
Pah. Complaint is a cheetah on a plain, and entraining for gladness is getting a cat to do chin-ups.
A gratefulness journal for 8 weeks (3 things, most days) improves the ticker.
It’s probably not a stretch to say it aids the immune system, joints, skin condition and various viscera as well.
Let’s see, what causes gut-yes. I’m gonna need more than 3 per dose.
These once existed for order.
The laugh thru the wall of bingo of humorous email received.
The tumble and mumble of rain. The unseen snow disappears.
Thunder. I love thunder. Winter is long without it. Lightning flashes.
Being indoors with no need to go out and heat.
And found slippers.
So I forgot to return the library books. Another day.
So I took the money with me and walked right past the bank and didn’t deposit. Another day.
So 3 chapbooks were stolen out of the store rack despite the price tag on them. So they may be enjoyed out there.
This radish thong.
Being outside on the warmest day of the year yet, maybe. Hatless with a warm wind in the face. Despite winter coats, it’s like a walk on the beach.
Finally booked an eye exam so maybe in a couple weeks or so I’ll be able to see clearly again. That’d be nifty.
Saw frames that I actually liked. Huh. I’ve gone thru half a dozen websites and 3 stores with no, no, no. Except for one $700 frame in Toronto. Ach.
What else was a yes, Latin-English translator is nifty.
Earache subsided. Not better but not spiking worse.
Making up absurd translations for Italian sentences as hubby plays his learn-Italian videos.
The subtler pleasure of being able to transfer my Spanish knowledge to Italian. Did I get that right? Maybe I retained something.
Finding my brain that stammered so painfully slowly at reading French poetry zips along on a much more fluent pace at the simpler structures and vocabulary level of L’Actualité magazine.
Long hot shower.
Warm fruit tea.
A date day of slow time, conversation, totally non-instrumental speech, time for catching up and daydreaming aloud, curiosity about each other.
The smoothness of a returned chin. As much as I also liked his beard.
Seeing one pair of pants I kinda liked and taking just one pair of jeans to the dressing room and them fitting like they were tailored. And $6. Sweet. Not everybody’s a gamber but everyone loves a deal.
Emails from friends.
That I could be there for mom’s medical visit and could do something useful and concrete like push her chair thru the long halls, and feed her when we got back.
The look of new paint colour.
A favourite tomato sauce. I could chug that straight from the jar, it’s so good. But I won’t.
The small uncomplicated beauty of hanging out.
Alright, time to do some of that.
And what strong witchcraft is this? I slept well the whole night, out for nearly 12 hours. I had a few sweet and strange dreams, woke with nothing hurting and no anxiety. Even my shoulders were soft and my neck can turn. No hip nor knee ache, no headache, no nausea, no weight like my skin was a lead vest. I can stand on my flat feet without blister pressure. A general sense of well-being. I wouldn’t go so far as optimism, but a beautiful levelness.
Did morning the reading and writing, got the dishwasher run, a few loads of laundry underway, emails to replied to.
Back in 2011 I set my hand to the potter’s wheel:
About that strange dream… the world government ordered all eating and cooking vessels be turned in. Handing in your vessels in something like “all the world shall be taxed”, processions to Toronto. You would get them exchanged for the government authorized Italian design firm’s products which would guaranteed good design and beauty to all the world.
Naturally they couldn’t scale production or didn’t have enough lead time so people were given ious which led to a run on strawberries and other fresh fruit that didn’t need cooking vessels. Areas of food shortages were starting and speculative looting for places that may still contain pots.
The containers all had to be handed within 2 weeks or people would be faced with search and imprisonments. My extras were in a storage locker in the ground level of a condo beside the special occasion room but the lights were blazing in there as an official government function of puff pastry buffet was underway. (Puff pastry all you can eat buffets seem to be a trope in my unconscious.)
I couldn’t get past security so I decided to bide my time and windsurf with hubby along the canal across the street to pass my time, on open water and across ice. I sat on the ice ledge dangling my legs into the water and declared it warm.
As if the the brain was picking up on the cold camembert and broken crackers (which is another attempt to selectively shame a female member of government to get all the women back barefoot pregnant in the kitchen) the ancient Zhou government poem,
The more unsatisfied we are, the pickier we become with what constitutes luxury or good. Whether 2000 years ago or now.
The top of the day lasted 4 hours so neutral was a high like trading winter boots for sandals. And then the mush of normal. But to have felt the light of life instead of the weight of it gives some hope.
And I’m sorry to those of generations that are too young for that reference. Old fogy-ship is coming to carry me home anytime now.
Sure it looks pretty monochromatic but it’s technicolor excitement. Thaw sparkle everywhere. Our snowbank is down to a thin ledge of ice. It got up to 15 degrees which meant full patios in t-shirts and sitting in the park.
Sometimes I have an idea. But it’s late and I should attempt to sleep. Or it’s morning and the internet is turned off. Or I’m Doing Things. Or moving towards Getting Things Done.
But why do I live so far north? Am I more masochistic than I know?
I’m wearing 2 jackets and a coat and it’s past spring equinox. Am I more self-entitled than I believe?
What’s the positive side of cranky? Apparently I can be funny. Spoiler: There will be no sign of that here.
Poetry readings make me existential, not because of the call to the cosmic but because it kicks up my skeptic. Do I really like reading? Why do I do it so compulsively? Surely it’s squandering a life. What constitutes useful? What’s building a cathedral of a better society and what’s one dang brick after another?
Is there some science measuring that isn’t automated? Something like recording earth tremours?
Each book festival I take in less. I overextend myself less each time but still I’m doing too much by half.
What 5-10% I enjoy, I enjoy very much. The rest leaves me overstimulated and bored. And every time I tense, I clench my face, and an echo of the nerve pain clenches my face back.
Dull ache is tiring. Sharp is worse. 5 weeks, people. Or in your case, person. (You don’t have a crowd behind you in the dark, do you? *squint*) I have days here and there where I am not in any of that.
It’s amazing the things we learn that we have to relearn. Change length and weights of bag, for instance.
Walking with a bag accumulates tiny little bounces on one spot on my hip so that come night I have to wake 3 times to take pain killers to sleep.
It’s like the old joke of going to the doctor with a piercing pain in the eye every time he drinks coffee so the country doc says take the spoon out of the cup.
It’s hard to ignore the body. It likes it that way.
Now I get reflux to tie my shoes, probably from so much pain killer. Once a cascade of joints starts, all the joints chime in, pulling the muscles with them. This muscular-skeletal system is going to make a sailor-swearer out of me yet.
That said, I can screen it out most of the time and enjoy myself.
My mental capacity seems fuzzier but I can still function, (except for those 2 doozy weeks). I can do simple things but higher synthesis and memory are being flaky, housed in this human pierogie.
I work and wait for the mental clarity to kick in, but it last as long as a task then I fade out.
Poems I write keep coming out rant or goth or haiku. Weeks of a poem with small tweaks and still ineffectual but worse with no sense of compass bearings.
Normally in my life I could sleep thru anything. Like James Herriot said, sleep of the mind allows the body to fight healing on just one front and speeds it.
And when tired knock off for 10, 12, 14 hours and then wake up as a new person.
These days at most I’m getting 5 or 6 hours a night. Looking forward to mid-May isn’t a solution as I ride this out. Got to rejig my inner talk and my outer walk.
Glad Game: Practical things of putting recycling from one bin into another, garbage from one bin into another, clothes from one part of the room to another, dishes from one holding spot in machine to shelf a couple feet up.
Letter in the mail handwritten by nephew.
A call from mom and being useful as an ear.
Sound practice that can bring me to entirely present.
Got books and chapbooks sold, a few even to total strangers. (If you are only selling to people you know, isn’t that more of girl guide sympathy buy. And would a girl guide outfit help?)
There is sunshine. Visible here even.
Finally got a main navigation link for radish and people have been saying they enjoy it. Jennifer Pederson made an entry theme song which is on that page. Very off-beat and good-weird.
I kinda lost it there for a bit in a freudian spoonerism but it broke the ice. The Ottawa launch of radish was warm and fun and I couldn’t have had a better time or enjoyed co-readers more (Giles Benaway, JC Bouchard and Stevie Howell). Best reading I’ve been to in years. And not because it was mine (since I do a reading or few a month for a lot of years).
At Battle of the Bard Jimmy McInnis and Max Layton stood out.
A few others a true pleasure to hear, like Eric Charlebois, Jill Wigmore, Daphne Marlatt, Roland Prevost and Steve Artelle.
The missing spreadsheet which was not on the computer nor in back up was able to be retrieved off the toast formerly known as a hard drive thanks to wizardry of hubby.
The movie My Afternoons with Margueritte was pretty decent.
Thanks goodness for kind interactions with friends of compassion and who can cheer on.
The prospect of another hot tub and sauna in a few weeks.