Day 365: Still

IMG_3168I still have so many boxes squirreled away that still need unpacking. And I still have lots and lots of stuff in storage, which some day I will need to sort through again.

And I still have clutter piling up in corners and on counter tops, and I still have the daily challenge of keeping the chaos and disorder at bay.

And I still get too stressed about things that don’t really matter in the present moment, and I still hold onto hurt feelings, and resentments, and anxieties longer than I should.

But still, but still….

There is always today to practice one small act of simple living. There is always today for one, simple experiment in living deliberately.

And there is always this moment, just to be still.

I can’t imagine writing this last blog entry without also taking this moment to express my gratitude to those of you who have shared with me in this journey.  Back in January, I didn’t think I would end up with more than 200 followers, almost 500 comments, and over 6,500 views….

Those numbers are overwhelming, but they are just numbers, after all. It’s you who have made a difference, taking the time to read these words, right now.

Some of you I’ve never met in person, but in reading and responding to your comments–and in reading and commenting on your blogs–I’ve felt a connection develop over the past 365 days. That means you, Revdarkwater, and you, Theresea–and Living Not Wanting, and Anne, and Julie, and Kellie, and Lauren… and others too, off and on, over the past year.

And an extra special thanks to those of you who I knew before this blog began, and who have followed along since the beginning. I feel that you’ve come to know me better, and in ways that I don’t always share in public settings. Your comments and our conversations, here and by email, on the phone and in person, have made this experience much more of a dialogue than a solitary reflection. So thanks Rex, my first blog follower, and thanks Jay, and thanks Liz, and thanks upon thanks to you, Tamara.

And a final thanks to my wife and my children, of course. We’ve all been through this year together. And it has been quite a year of change. I love you all.

And now–how to end? Would it be too self-indulgent to quote Whitman (“I depart as air”) or Emerson (“Every end is a beginning”) or good, old Thoreau (“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature”)?

Or do I end with just a simple acknowledgement that from Day One I’ve always realized that this blog is more scaffolding than anything else, and that the time has come to move on?

Or do I end,  like this–with more questions than answers, and accepting that I am still OK with that?

Happy New Year, all. And may your coming year be filled with wonder and joy, one moment at a time.



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Day 364: …

What is there to say that hasn’t already been said in some way over the past 363 days?

Today, I started off the morning sitting quietly. I started a fire in the fireplace and sipped my coffee. My oldest child joined me on the couch. We talked quietly and watched the flames.

Today, I played a board game with my three kids and my two nephews. My sister has been visiting for the past few days. She lives hundreds of miles away, and we only see each other a couple of times a year. It has been a joy to have her family staying with us under the same roof, sharing meals and stories and laughs.

Today, I went ice skating with my youngest child. I also taught her how to ski. It was  a cold afternoon and a cold evening, but not brutally so–just cold enough to remind us that it really was winter, and we were outdoors enjoying the day. At some point, big, soft snowflakes fell from the sky.

Today was a day to remember–for the big and the little things. And as I have said so many times this year: aren’t they all days to remember? Aren’t they all moments worth living, as aware as I can be?

Yes, this blog is coming to a close, but only the writing of it. Let’s hope (no, let’s affirm) that the practice, and the experiment, of living in the moment will continue well beyond my final written words.

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Day 363: Miss

“Miss” is not for missing a post yesterday–I actually had a blog entry written, and I thought I had hit “Publish,” but apparently not….

No, “miss” has two other meanings for me today. I suppose part of what I’m feeling in these final days is a sense of loss–letting go of one more thing, namely this blog. I’m going to miss the daily practice of writing and reflecting on simple ways to live more simply and directly.

But I’m also realizing that there are all sorts of little discoveries and experiments that I muddled my way through over this past year, which I have allowed to fall by the wayside. Some of those practices I have forgotten all about (though I am sure as I reread these entries I will rediscover them). But others are right there, within easy reach of both memory and practice. And all I really need to do is to take a moment out of my day to be in the moment.

I guess I am thinking in particular about Day 2: Sit. Such a simple thing–to start the day with just a few minutes of quiet sitting. But at some point over the past few months, I seem to have fallen out of the habit.

So it’s too late to start today with some quiet sitting, but I think I will end today with a return to one of my very first reflections.

And then maybe tomorrow, while the coffee is brewing, I can take a few moments to simply be.



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Day 362: Entrust

What else have I learned? That I like to share.

Sure, I get it. I can only experience my own experiences. This moment is, fundamentally, my moment to live.

But still: I like to share.

I think of all the experiences I have had this year, and how many have involved my family and my friends–or in some instances “total strangers” with whom I connected with, if only for a moment, to share a moment.

And I suppose that explains why I would choose to blog this past year. Knowing that I have been sharing my thoughts and reflections with someone other than myself has made me take this daily discipline just a little more seriously. So thanks for that–and thanks for those of you who, in day to day life or through comments on this blog, shared a little bit of your life with me this year as well.

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Day 361: Embrace

Here’s a challenge to continue working on, long after the end of this blog: learning how to embrace without grasping.

I’ve done a lot of letting go this year, though probably more of the material than the emotional kind. In the process, I think I have discovered just how much “stuff” I’ve held onto over the years, even though I no longer have any use for it in my life.

But at the same time, I think I’ve come to see more clearly some of the things (though mostly I’m not talking about things here) that I truly do value.

So is it possible to embrace without clutching too tightly?


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Day 360: Home

I used to think of myself as more of a nomad than a homebody. I have always loved to travel, and I still do get a huge kick out of exploring new places. But it’s also become increasingly clear to me: I’ve grown very fond of having a home.

In fact, as I was double-checking through blog post titles to make sure I hadn’t already used the word, I discovered that “home” shows up in 137 entries–that’s more frequent than one in three. Apparently I’ve been homing in on “home” this year.

I have had a very enjoyable visit with my in-laws, but it’s time to go back home. So tomorrow, it’s back in the car and back to the mountains.

Be it ever so humble….


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Day 359: Surround

This morning, we were opening presents around the tree. My wife fell a bit behind in opening her own packages, which our youngest had been doling out to each of us. My wife looked to her left and to her right and noted:

“Oh my goodness! I’m surrounded by gifts!”

Oh, how so very true! Not to traffic in holiday clichés, but what a great reminder to take a moment today to acknowledge how fortunate I am–how fortunate we all are–for the gifts that surround us every day. And with no unwrapping necessary. All I really need to do is open my eyes–and open my heart–to all the blessings that are right here, right now, right within my reach.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Day 358: Unexpect

Yes, another–and perhaps the last–in a long line of grammatical abuses, all in the name of verbification….

Tonight is Christmas Eve. I come from an Italian family, and without question, Christmas Eve is a big deal. As a family, we would prepare a major meal together, always with lots of seafood (though not always with seven dishes). After dinner there would be plenty more snacking and movie watching. We would stay up late, and just after midnight, gather around the tree and unwrap presents. Sure, Christmas Day we would have another big family meal, and more likely than not make our way to church, but Christmas Eve was always the main event.

This year, we are spending Christmas Eve with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, at their new house. And I am entirely in guest mode. I will lend a hand as best I can wherever my help is needed–but tonight, I am all follow and no lead. They have both been looking forward to hosting Christmas at their house, and I am happy to play my part as guest.

But that means parking all my own expectations about what Christmas Eve is supposed to be. I am sure if I let my expectations run the day, I am bound to be disappointed. But… if I can accept this evening as it comes, for whatever it has to offer, I am sure I will have a wonderful Christmas Eve to remember.

So Happy Christmas Eve, to those of you who celebrate this night–and may yours be filled with unexpected joy!

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Day 357: Stitch

I was driving back to my mother-in-law’s house this evening, after having spent the day in Atlanta running a couple of errands and visiting with friends. It was pouring down rain, with lightning flashing across the night sky. The roads were slick, and cars were starting to slow down and put on their hazards.

An odd moment, I suppose, for me to suddenly feel that everything was going to be alright.

I’m not sure exactly what brought it on. Probably lots of things stitched together, like a patchwork of thoughts, and feelings, and half-formed ideas, set against the backdrop of a rainy night’s drive with music playing on my car stereo. Part of me was thinking about the connections I have made with friends over the years, and how I want to keep those relationships alive. Part of me was thinking about this blog, and the small daily contact I have made with some of you, off and on, as I’ve shared with you little glimpses of me each day–and how this little experiment will come to an end in just a few more days. And part of me was thinking about how much has changed in my life in twelve months, and how much will keep changing, day after day after day.

And how everything was going to be alright.

So that’s where I’m at today, and it’s a very good place to be.

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Day 356: Empty

My calendar was empty today.

To be honest, it’s always a little hard for me to be at loose ends. Today was one of those days–nothing planned, no events, no pressing work deadlines. It was just a day.

I read for an hour or so on the couch. And I worked on a puzzle for a bit. And I brought the kids out to the playground. And so on.

Sure, I accomplished a few things. I got those Christmas cards out (kind of early for us, actually!) and I did some light work for a course I am teaching in the spring. But that was it.

It’s hard for me just to be OK with days like this–days that feel like they are “without event” or accomplishment. But that’s really what I needed to focus on today–allowing today to be what it was–a day without event–and still appreciate it.

OK, now off to my next pressing event of the day–watching a movie with the entire family!


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