Several years ago, after a weak moment in Barnes & Noble, I read Eat, Pray, Love. It was obviously a time of great soul-searching, as I then checked out The Artist’s Way and Wild Mind and that one about “morning pages” (?), and started a new journal dedicated to my new principles of self-actualization.
Like most writers, I am sure (and most Virgos, I suspect), there is little I adore more than a fresh, clean, beautiful, unsullied blank book. (Lined, please, because as artistic as I may hope to be, I shall never master the art of writing a straight line across a plain page.) I wonder how many others too, like me, leave the first leaf virgin, always.
This book, I decided (purple leather, made in India, with hot pink edging), would house a journal of the principles I hope to live by, summed up by the phrase on my family crest:
To me Grace is not a religious concept so much as a way of conducting oneself in the world. To be guided by Grace is to live mindfully and with kindness, and being impelled to fulfill one’s potential. In order to work toward living a life guided by Grace, I set some slightly-less-vague action principles:
Live mindfully: Be present in the moment; eat whole foods and remember to savor; spend time in nature and move the body
Show love: Be a more appreciative partner; keep up with correspondence; make time for friends
Organize: Keep physical clutter to a minimum, which keeps psychic clutter down, too
. . .And there were three more. Three more, because I would have chosen seven, of course. But I can’t remember them, and when I later came upon the scarcely-started book, I was so embarrassed to be so far behind on progressing toward the goals that I ripped the section out of the book without looking.
For many years I was headed down a path where fulfilment seemed out of reach, though I longed for a change. A crisis both financial and psychological– losing my job and with it my identity as a hard worker — sent me through two years of self-searching and brainstorming and desperate reading and crippling anxiety and the hopes-dashed rollercoaster, to a point where I believe I am ready to have Grace guide me where I need to be. I need to make music, and write, and make the world a better place even in some small way by giving love, and keep a smaller number of possessions: those that bring me joy. I want to live more simply, with more purpose, and with appreciation for every moment on this beautiful planet with its wonderful creatures.