I hope that you are enjoying these brief posts on what I am doing, reading, practicing, etc. I have to admit that I stole the idea from Tim Ferriss, who does a weekly email newsletter called “Five-Bullet Fridays.” If you haven’t subscribed to those, please do so. It’s a great source for breaking up the monotony of routine and of our normal sources of information.
- What I’ve been reading: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. Specifically the Penguin translation available on the above link. I read this novel, in its unabridged form, three times when I was in high school. It was that good. Yes, it is a hefty tome (at 1200+ pages), but I read only ten to twenty pages every night (more on the weekend when I have more time). The writing is rich. The story is a classic tale of intrigue, wrongful imprisonment and the pursuit of vengeance (and the realization of the consequences of one’s actions).
- What I’ve been listening to (music): Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, 4th Movement. Beethoven has always held a special place in my heart. Shortly after my father passed, I discovered a box full of miniature tapes he had used to record music from the radio in the late 70s and early 80s. Among the tapes was a tape with Beethoven’s 9th symphony, conducted by Herbert von Karajan. On the other side was a recording of my father talking with my mother and the two nurses shortly after my mother gave birth to my brother and me. I could hear myself screaming as a newborn. Granted, it was a PKD-esque moment. Anyway, this is all to say that Beethoven has been one of the major lietmotif in my life.
- What I watched for Christmas: Elf, with Will Ferrell. ‘Nuff said.
- How I made a ten-hour drive to Kentucky more manageable: I hate long-distance driving just as much as everyone else. I am, by nature, someone who cannot sit still for long, and driving for too long really just leads to back and hip pain. So I decided this time to do a set of 20 push-ups and 10 squats every time I stopped for gas or for rest. It made a world of difference in relieving any feelings of discomfort. The frequent breaks and the extra movement broke up any body staleness from sitting for too long.
- Quote I’ve been pondering: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” -Seneca
And lastly, we are approaching the end of 2016. It seems like, more than any other recent year, 2016 has been particularly tumultuous. The Presidential elections, the premature deaths of many talented musicians and actors, and for me…well, there has been a lot of change. My business failed. I lost some very close friends, some who no longer speak to me. I was on a roller coaster of despair and hope all year long, and my ego took one hell of a thrashing.
In spite of (or perhaps because of) this wild back-and-forth, I dug deeper in my yoga practice, into my readings of books, and into the philosophy of Stoicism. I have been blessed with mentors who came to my aid when I needed them the most and who also gave me enough slack to try to accomplish something by myself. My true friends have stuck with me through thick and thin. My family has shown me love and support when I needed it the most.
I know that this year has been hard for all of us. I don’t hope that 2017 is an easy year. It won’t be, and no year has ever been easy. What I do pray for is that I may be able to withstand the sea-change of events with greater equanimity, that I may be able to be of greater service to family, friends and colleagues, and that I may help to create a better world, one relationship at a time. I hope that I can help to make kindness, honesty, and integrity the core values of all my relationships.
My heart to yours.