Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Round Table

I started this blog less than a week ago, and I'm already worrying that my goals aren't lofty enough, my thoughts aren't wise enough. So just now I had to reel myself in and remember my purpose: to scrape an hour out of my day and spend it on the good stuff of life. That's all. It's not about writing a life-changing treatise with each and every post. Instead, I must take the long view and see what happens if It take a tiny step every day, for enough days to signify a change in habit. Maybe, if I string enough hours together, they will add up to something new.

So, onto one way I want spend my 4 percent: Surround myself with inspiration. This week, I have a few successes to report. First, the process of starting a blog forced me to do a little research, which turned out to be a happy errand. I liked the idea of starting with a quotation to set the tone. I knew what I was looking for--an expression of the proactivity I sought, something like, "How you spend your hours is how you spend your life," only prettier. I ended up browsing the work of poets (including my favorite, Naomi Shihab Nye, whose "Happiness" makes me smile), essayists (my fave has always been Joan Didion, and I simply had to re-read her powerful "Why I Write"), and bloggers (a friend recently introduced me to "The Happiness Project," where I'd like to spend more time). In the end, I found what I was looking for in a lovely book on my shelf--a self-help of sorts for aesthetic types like me--Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally by Patti Digh. If you're looking to live with more intention, I urge you to check it out. I love the fact I didn't even have to leave my couch to discover these things.

Next, I got to spend the following day with two girlfriends who inspire me. As it happens, each of the three of us has a new project in the works (along with alarmingly similar patterns of anxiety), and I'm honored I got to hang in the coffee shop with them, dreaming together at our little round table. I have no sense for how long we sat there, encouraging each others' plans, unaware of those who may have been coming and going around us. In fact I didn't notice a thing, till one of them struck up a conversation with the woman at the table next to us, who happened to be reading a Choose Your Own Adventure, the old-school kind, the real deal. Evidently she'd found it on the shelf by her table. "I hope my friends get stalled in line," she quipped, "I haven't even gotten to choose an adventure yet!"

If adventures can, in fact, become ours to choose, then, "Onward," I say, "Onward."

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