Monday Miscellany

I just turned in a 15,000-word writing project that was due three weeks ago. I was grateful for the extension, but that November 15 book deadline is looking a little scary as a result.

All of this reminds me of my trip up the mountain—the many times I’d get to a mile marker, look up and think, I still have all that left to go?

And there’s absolutely nothing at all to do but keep trudging.

Meanwhile Robert is having the busiest work week in a year, and James spiked a fever last night. It’s down again today and he’s playing happily, but still pretty cruddy. Trying to decide whether to take him to the doc. He had a cold a couple of weeks ago, which makes the fever an ominous sign… but my kids generally have sequential illnesses rather than secondary infections.

This morning I read this piece from the Improvised Life, one of my favorite blogs. The authors were talking about the value of reading good and nourishing stuff first thing in the morning. It’s so much better for the soul than going right to e-mail and news. And here is one of their favorite go-to pieces:

We often ask, “What’s wrong?” Doing so, we invite painful seeds of sorrow to come up and manifest. We feel suffering, anger, and depression, and produce more such seeds. We would be much happier if we tried to stay in touch with the healthy, joyful seeds inside of us and around us. We should learn to ask, “What’s not wrong?” and be in touch with that. There are so many elements in the world and within our bodies, feelings, perceptions, and consciousness that are wholesome, refreshing, and healing. If we block ourselves, if we stay in the prison of our sorrow, we will not be in touch with these healing elements.

Life is filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. Our breathing, for example, can be very enjoyable. I enjoy breathing every day. But many people appreciate the joy of breathing only when they have asthma or a stuffed-up nose. We don’t need to wait until we asthma to enjoy our breathing. Awareness of the precious elements of happiness is itself the practice of right mindfulness. Elements like these are within us an all around us. In each second of our lives we can enjoy them…

Thich Nhat Hanh

What’s not wrong:

  • This beautiful day. Sunny, not too warm, with fall color at the tops of the trees, slowly spilling down.
  • The relief that if I need to take James to the doctor, I can, at minimal cost.
  • The chance to go out with Robert yesterday for dinner and a play.
  • My children.
  • The feeling after going for a run—like I’ve received a massage internally.
  • Living in the same city as my mother.
  • Fulfilling work.

What’s not wrong with you?


6 thoughts on “Monday Miscellany

  1. what’s not wrong –
    a strong body that allows me to swim and now walk without pain

    doctors/caregivers, medical insurance and the means to pay for what is not covered by insurance for the surgery to walk w/o pain

    the carryover good feelings from attending a wedding this weekend and connecting with friends this weekend and last weekend

    much needed rain

    meanngful work

  2. Mamala says:

    living in the same city with at least one of my children (and her kidz)

  3. Keith Snyder says:

    I have work, my kids are healthy, and I don’t live in a country where the military and law enforcement might kill me for no good reason.

  4. […] the spirit of “what’s not wrong,” I listened to two things while commuting/running today that lifted by spirit and gave me […]

  5. belovedspear says:

    It’s important to remember, and to say thanks. For me?

    – After months of getting back into shape, I’m feeling strong.
    – I’m writing again, with purpose.
    – My new tiny church laughs warmly and easily.
    – My middle school boys still want to hang with dad and share their lives. A miracle!
    – Dinner and a play with the missus, too…curry and Arena Stage, and the blessing of time just us.

  6. jledmiston says:

    What’s not wrong:
    – our recent college graduate and his parents are all employed
    – nobody’s got cancer
    – It’s been 70 degrees and sunny in Chicago for a week.

    PS So happy about your writing.

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