This morning, feeling the crispness of autumn breeze through my window, I started to see a loose form, a blurry but distinct outline. My stack of books starts animating in pithy nuggets.
Parker Palmer’s Quaker voice surfaced, “Is the life I am living the same as the life that wants to live in me?” David Brooks’s soulful New York Times Op-Ed promise that the second mountain in life, after the valley, is where the real treasures are hidden “When I meet people leading lives of deep commitment, this fact hits me. Joy is real.”
The smell of Walt Herrington’s Acts of Creation distracted my attention. As scents of fresh pine and alder cut clean from razor edges affirmed my resonance with the spirit of excellence. “Fine craftsmen crave the exhilaration of touching excellence every day in their work.” Irresistible again, the voice of love, Jesus, “Get away with me and recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”
Lacing my running shoes, James Clear’s pragmatic promise of Atomic Habits “becoming 1% better by never missing twice”, my small experiment with low bar tiny actions fuels my 200-day 1-mile running streak. Tuckered, I retrieve my mental permission slip to power down from Steven King’s On Writing, “Afternoons are for naps and letters.” Resisting another refill of box wine Nir Eyal’s annoying Indistractable truth haunts many of my evenings, “the drive to relieve discomfort is the root cause of all our behavior.” What discomfort am I attempting to avoid?
My friends and mentors shape my life’s form and function, like water carving a riverbed, polishing, and disrupting Norman McClean’s “basement of time.” Their truth and questions collide with my homeostasis, elevate my hope, myth-bust my assumptions, to elongate my resolve.
The outline I see is me, the person I’m becoming. I ingest books. And my traveling companions, they are friends.