Joy: Process, Not Product

It has been way too long since I have written here. I left you at the beginning of January with the notion that I was going in search of joy. Have I found any? A bit, here and there. Nothing mind-bending, honestly. But, I’m doing well enough, keeping very busy, filling up my days with work, writing, friends, family, music.

I woke up today with the awareness that it is Georg’s birthday. He would have been 78 today. Although this is a birthday he did not live to see, I will see it for him.  What does Georg have in store for me this day?

I am aware of the fact that I still place way too much emphasis on the opinions of others. This is no way to make one’s way in the world. Opinions are just that. Opinions. They are not the truth of anyone’s reality except the person who holds them.

Georg marched to the beat of his own drummer. He wanted his work to be accepted, admired, and collected by others, but he did not change what he created in order to please anyone but himself. If there is any lesson I learned from him, it is this: be your own creator. You are in charge of your own “inner landscape.” Make it so.

The writer Toni Morrison said, “If there is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Coincidentally, today is also Toni Morrison’s birthday. She is 86.

I continue to work on the novel that I mentioned several months back. It is slow, but I can see the book in my mind and so I am making my way toward it. I have bursts where I talk to my mom about the story and she listens intently and comments. This is helpful. I will remind myself today and every day to be grateful for her love and attention. I know that not everyone has their mother anymore and I will not take her presence for granted.

I was about to write, “onward toward joy,” but I stopped myself. Joy is not in the future. It can only be found in the present moment. The circumstances are almost irrelevant. No matter what is going on, I think a person can experience joy, because it is not a product of the accumulation of experiences. It is a process.  It is an attitude toward all of experience. I think I am starting to get it.

Thanks, Dad. Thanks, Mom. Without the two of you, I would not be here.

I won’t let you down.

vassar

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