Untethered Dog

A Commonplace By Tom Swift

Gratitude Journal

December 2018

17 Monday
Darkness.

16 Sunday
How little it takes to change your mood in a positive way.

15 Saturday
– Sleeping rock-solid after a long, long week.
– Dreams about running as you do, strong and true, with an occasional corner cut.
– The power of gratitude journals.
– Squirrels that talk to you. Literally. You can hear that one squawking from across the street.
– The steam that rises from the side of a house when the furnace is on.
– Being in an architectually favorable neighborhood. Seriously, if you could measure a person’s health, well-being, and life satisfaction in aesthetically poor and then again in aesthetically pleasing settings I think the difference between the two scores would pretty much freak us all out.
– Time to think at work.
– Finding a new dog park. New to you. anyway.
– The curry chopped salad at Trader Joe’s.
– Clerks who ask what you are up to and care about your answer.

14 Friday
– Soft blankets.
– Trash day.
– Corn chips with lime. You could eat guacamole all night.
– The park at night. You can’t believe how many people you encounter still in this weather.
– Being close to a body of water.
– Art, even if it’s a television show, that moves you a little.

13 Thursday
– Thursday. Thursdays are good days. Over the hump, stuff to do, yeah, but weekend ahead.
– Having taken a few small steps forward on Wednesday night so that you wake up a little lighter than you othrwise would on Thursday morning.
– Having the bed made before 5 a.m.
– Another day, another rabbit greets you.
– Possibly finding a good place for a Winter Solstice service.
– Unexpected free time.
– Late long walks late on a warm winter evening.

12 Wednesday

– Rabbits that strike a pose in the early hours. You see them as you return from the gym, as you walk about in the morning dark with your dog. Every day this week they are there.
– Being in a position to teach someone.
– Being asked to take on more.
– Long winter walks, up and down the block, taking in the holiday lights, closing out the day.

11 Tuesday
– Seeing pictures of your dog in the middle of the work day.
– Finding additional love for your dog to break up the work day.
– The Brandenburg Concertos.
– Free spaghetti. With meatballs!

9 Sunday
– Running into a familiar face you have not seen in fifteen years.
– Two hours of work on Sundays are worth at least four on every other day.
– Small pottery galleries open on Sundays.
– People who walk right up expressly so they can pet your puppy.

8 Saturday
Great tacos. Good conversation.

7 Friday
– A dog with a hop in his step.
– People who walk their dogs even when they would rather be inside and warm on the couch.

6 Thursday
Tall, wide trees with several squirrel dreys spread about the top half of the branches.

1 Saturday
– Neighbors who ask for your number. Just to be neighborly.
– Neighbors who tell you what you should not do. Just to be honest.
– Big flakes of snow.
– Learning how to do a real bicep curl. After all this time.
– Writing for its own sake.
– The Mississippi River.
– The fact that November is no longer. With the flip of a calendar a conflict is finally over.
– Not having to go anywhere.

November 2018

30 Friday
– Late breakfast, cheesy eggs and quesadilla.
– Receiving positive feedback.
– Giving a warm welcome.
– Getting an unexpected break in the middle of the day.
– Getting ahead.
– Long walks well after dark.
– The glow of night lights on street corners.
– Movie houses.
– Big sweet potatoes you dip in butter.
– New treats for happy hips that the little buddy loves.

9 Friday
– The writing saves you. And it always can.
– Finishing a chapter. Few things better. Or more energizing.

8 Thursday
– People who provide friendly, necessary services at a reasonable price.
– Putting new breaks on the old car. Ready for winter. Well, almost.

7 Wednesday
– People who provide friendly, necessary services at a reasonable price.
– Filling in holes in your new home. Ready for winter. Well, almost.

6 Tuesday
– The calm and peace of a polling place. Everyone who works there is friendly. Everyone who stands before or after you in line is patient. We are all engaged in the same practice for similar reasons even if we choose different candidates. No ads. No placards. No shouting. No horn-tooting. As so little of life is spent this way you don’t even mind having to register first. OK, take your time, you say, whatever you need, no rush, this is good, you’re good, I am here, we are all here, something, at least, is right.
– Walking in the rain. So what if it means the little buddy’s going to need a bath.

5 Monday
– A short chat in the morning with one of those people who seem to be born to do what they do.
– People who really listen to you.
– Initiating conversations. Following the kismet of the encounter.
– The body: the world’s best lie detector.
– Hemp protein. Who knew it was so good for the skin?
– Discounted sardines.
– Hours at home in the evening, lowering the pile of mail, cleaning the floors, lowering the pile of stress, cleaning the disorder in your mind.

4 Sunday
– Pull-ups. The single best metaphorical exercise of them all.
– Working on a Sunday. Every hour counts as two.
– Raking wet leaves in the dark. On one hand, what a moron. On the other, look, you are almost done.
– Hacking down perennials.
– A short encounter at night with one of those people who help you understand your ignorance really isn’t so strange. You are maybe a little less of a moron about the land than you thought.
– A place to fail. A place to learn. Your laboratory. Increased responsibility.
– Falling asleep in seconds because you are just … so … tired.
– Listening to Seth Godin describe the clarity he has found about how to spend his days.

3 Saturday
– The power of daily progress.
– Getting to know a piece of land.
– Trying a new way to workout.
– Rocking the rowing machine.
– Coffee with a new friend.

2 Friday
Having a place to go to untangle the mess that so often is your mind.

1 Thursday
Being so immersed in the day you don’t even realize it’s your birthday.

October 2018

31 Wednesday
Neighborhoods that really do Halloween.

27 Saturday
Ducking into an old movie theater late at night and watching the original Halloween on the big screen.

20 Saturday
Sitting on your front step after a long and stressful day. A moment to see where you are. A moment to check-in with that part of you that can get muted in the shuffle and clash of the day. See what you should do about a conflict. Actually, you were there for this one. That was you. Nice work. Now you have a thousand and one things to do. But for a moment take this in. You have done something big. You are doing something important. No one else may see it that way; that’s OK. This is not for anyone else. It is important, it is big, for you. See those gold and orange-brown leaves on the grass as you rest with bent knees. Feel the sun on your nose. Listen. You are home. What a perch. Forty-five years to go four feet up. Yeah. You breathe.

19 Friday
Doing something you didn’t think was possible — something, frankly, you had written off years ago even attempting.

12 Friday
A meeting that goes better than you expected, producing the sensation that a goal you thought would be completed in 2016 might actually, finally, happen yet this year. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Oh the motivation of that light.

7 Sunday
The transition from one season to another: a bottleneck through which your body must pass. Temperature, light, energy — all these are different, shifting, lessening, and your systems do not adjust as quickly as they used to. OK. OK. OK.

6 Saturday
– An extra nap just because you need it.
– Talking a long walk in the afternoon.
– Running with your little buddy.
– Yelling while running.
– Watching him dash about an open pitch of green, green grass. Go buddy go.
– Checking the scores from around the league.

5 Friday
– Being complimented while taking someone’s complaint.
– Making the call you need to make but don’t want to.
– Staying late to help someone.
– Talking with total confidence about a subject that is, let’s face it, hard for people who don’t do it for a living to understand.
– A takeout bacon cheeseburger and fries just because that’s what you’re feeling to finish the week.

4 Thursday
Getting your flu shot this year. We’ll see if it works!

3 Wednesday
– Opening night of the hockey season.
– Leafs vs. Canadiens.
– Original Six teams.
– Cool sweaters.
– The way Auston Matthews toe-releases the puck on a shot from the slot. Goal!
– The last gasp of summer — a storm that sits over the horizon, just beyond the houses across the street, Mother Nature’s pouty face.

2 October
– Your brother’s birth.
– Honest first conversations.
– Room to be better at this.
– One good idea.
– The sound of wood creaking beneath your feet as you walk across the room.
– Wind that brings a new season, and shakes leaves from the trees.

1 Monday

A big day in a lot of ways and yet you just show up, take a few deep breaths, and by the end of it, your fears once again proved to overshoot their perceived threats. And besides, free bagels!

September 2018

30 Sunday
– Taking your time.
– Being willing to scrap parts of the plan.
– Weakness. It’s there. Don’t fight it.
– Insights that come when you confront the beast inside.
– Fall afternoons with wind and leaves and squirrels scurrying.
– Birds that fly so high overhead that they can and do glide for minutes at a time, just glide, glide, high up in the sky.
– Good food. No crap today. You need a day of solid choices. You give that to yourself.

29 Saturday
– The potency of dreams.
– The power of self-honesty.
– The solidity of preparation.
– Brisk mornings.

28 Friday
People who help you as though your concern were theirs.

27 Thursday
Broken bits of tree meat in the form of fruit and shells splattered on the sidewalk, presumably the debris from a squirrel party, that you step on and over on the evening walk home.

26 Wednesday
Wearing short sleeves on a chilly day, defying the Mother Nature as long as you can, you rebel you.

25 Tuesday
Really good, organically grown chicken thighs, baked with butter, falling off the bone.

24 Monday
Powering through a draft you have written before, and more than once, arranging the pieces, trimming nearly all the fat, but only nearly all, you’ve got to leave a bit — got to.

23 Sunday
Football games that allow time for naps.

22 Saturday
Being so immersed in a project that you let other things go, including the dishes.

20 Thursday
– An important conference.
– A way forward.
– You got this. You can do this. You will.
– The way your body reacts to an unblocked emotional barrier: muscles can be happy, you know — legs and arms and the way you speak without fear and with much humor you wonder why you would ever not face something you need to. The biggest high, way better than chemicals can produce.

19 Wednesday
High-rep squat day.

16 Sunday
Waking up and getting into the day, without delay, even if slowly.

15 Saturday
– Getting little things done in the small spaces of time.
– That it’s still warm enough to wear a T-shirt for your little buddy’s early morning pee.
– Realizing how great an upset it is for you to be this close to achieving a goal.
– Time spent studying.
– A friendly, patient, young face at the restaurant counter. You don’t see those every day.
– How quickly you can unblock energies that hold you back.
– How important it is to have someone who can help you unblock energies that hold you back.
– That your parents got together all those years ago.

14 Friday
– Hearing from a former employee who is now in law school.
– Facing your fears at work: relearning an old skill and putting it to practice.
– Shining the spotlight on a colleague and not trying to stand at all in the glare.
– When your mind keeps working out a problem, coolly and (somewhat) calmly, even when you told it it could rest for awhile.

13 Thursday
An hour and a quarter of one-on-one education from a good teacher.

12 Wednesday
– Serving as someone’s reference.
– Finding a customer service person who gives you her direct dial. Then calls you right back when you use it.
– Paying obligations back before you have to.
– Finding out those obligations might not be as sizable as you thought.

11 Tuesday
– Hearing from a former employee who is now a writer.
– Writing and working out in the same morning.

10 Monday
When you are looking for a designer and then suddenly you have a conversation with one who just might be available.

9 Sunday
Evening walks that you don’t want to end because the weather just might be impossible to improve upon.

8 Saturday
– When your intuition saves you seventy-four bucks.
– A guy named Ferris.
– Bringing your little buddy to a special place for the first time.
– A woman named Kim.
– Meeting members of your tribe.
– A guy named Dylan.
– When you can rep out 365-pound DLs.
– A woman named Veda.

7 Friday
Good news. On top of other news that has the potential to be good, too.

6 Thursday
– A woman who rescues squirrels.
– A dream that shows you the way home.
– A person who cares enough to get frustrated by you.
– People who care about pigs.

5 Wednesday
– Getting back in the game.
– Chickens everywhere around the world.

4 Tuesday
Going back to school. Figuratively at least.

3 Monday
– When the words that were so hard to find the night before appear, like that, the next morning.
– When you’re a little intense, and you show it, but that’s OK!
– Knowing it will happen now. Or later. You can’t control the when. But it will come. The wheels are already turning!
– Driving down the highway when Madonna’s “Rain” comes on the radio as raindrop appear on the windshield.
– The men and women who brought us the weekend.
– Egg bagel sandwiches.

2 Sunday

… it worked. Oh yeah.

1 Saturday
Sometimes, frankly, it sucks to be one who perceives the world through feel and emotion. The head always comes in. And it must, of course, but here there is a distinction that very probably won’t be articulated just now in a way that the reader will understand, but the intention is there for that. The mind can join the flow or it can interrupt it. Sometimes, interruption is good. Needed. Of course. Yet the mind can also be a task-master that serves only to block you from the path that is before you. This is when we should all over ourselves. Or, in the case of some (ding-ding, winner right here), when the mind presents challenges upon challenges; it’s about all the mind sees. It’ll stop you in your tracks, by golly. Yet the world wants exactly what this mind conjures — logical explanations for actions. You must access them or what else would you say during conversations? Except if you process in these other modes you either have to honor that or you’ll die. Today I am grateful that in a key moment I listened, listened, listened to my feelings, that I regarded my emotions, and that applied my mind in the service of both. Scary as hell. But …

August 2018

31 Friday
– New spaces.
– Clean slates.
– Friendly faces.
– Familiar words.
– Letting go.
– Saying so.
– Coming home.

30 Thursday
– Deadlifts: they make you feel like a million bucks.
– Colleagues who bring treats into work just for you.
– Chocolate-chip ice cream.

28 Tuesday
Yoga release.

27 Monday
– Pumping iron while listening to the 1812 Overture.
– Finding your way back to that project that is calling you.
– Getting outside once more before the storm comes.
– Good news: you passed the test.
– Checking off all the errands on your list.
– The singularity of purpose your little buddy has when a fly has the audacity to zip around the room.

26 Sunday
– The dog who still chases squirrels even after all these years.
– The man who approaches during your morning walk and says matter-of-factly: we’re supposed to get some storms this afternoon.
– Milk shakes in the morning.
– Getting lost. So you can find yourself again.
– Exploring possibilities in new places.
– Encounters with the dark side.
– Meeting a kind elderly woman who does not rush off when you ask your questions.

25 Saturday
Earning another certification. These things, you start to find, give you something beyond the practical. You spend your time on the minor matters, as sometimes you must, as sometimes you wish, and it’s also good to have big, bad, beautiful goals. Why, after all, call it a goal at all if reaching it wouldn’t change something significant in you or for you? But between the tasks of daily living and the wildest dreams there are still other higher and lesser order pursuits. When moved to gain a certifiable skill, especially one recognized as useful to you and can be applied by you for the sake of others, once earned, such skills occupy a place in the pillar of your psyche. They are like bricks cemented into the edifice. You are a little sturdier. A little harder to knock down.

24 Friday
– Being mistaken for an extrovert!
– What you learn about yourself from interactions with new people.
– Being a student of You U.

23 Thursday
The end of the tunnel.

22 Wednesday
– Not asking for permission.
– A chance to audition for a new part in the play.

20 Monday
– Rough drafts.
– Engagement with a problem. It’s way better than not having a problem at all.
– Looking good. Just because.
– Cereal.

19 Sunday
Writing day. It fuels the fire.

18 Saturday
– Gentle movement to start the day.
– Morning coffee with a kind, cool person who gets it.
– Realizing when it’s time to pay the bills you only have one on the stack.
– People who barbecue in the park.
– Time spent clarifying your goals.
– Being OK with not having goals in certain, common areas of life.
– Coconut, ginger chicken.

17 Friday

– Perfect evening when you can sit on a park bench and just let the breeze blow.
– Dreams that paint a tapestry.
– Stirrings of a waking dream.
– Ravenous hunger.
– Noodles.

16 Thursday
– Perfect evenings when you can sit on patio and eat your dinner.
– Banded reps at the gym. Morning and evening. Perfect for active recovery days.
– Having fun. Outside. While at work.
– The people who tend yummy, good-for-you smoothie bars.

14 Tuesday
– When you are the only one who shows for the early a.m. class.
– One-on-one yoga.
– An invitation.
– An engagement with a problem.
– Dogs.

13 Monday
– Addressing a situation head-on.
– Keeping your cool.
– Reading the winds of change. Even if you don’t know where they are taking you.
– The chance to learn nearly every free moment.
– Making better use of those chances.
– Warmth.

12 Sunday
– Friends who drag you out when you planned to stay in on a Saturday night.
– Having nearly the entire gym to yourself on a Sunday afternoon.
– Squat day. Getting all your reps. Heavy ones, too.
– Signs of progress: you are getting stronger. You are feeling stronger.
– Showing up at the last hours of a fair.
– Goats.

11 Saturday
– Steve Martin.
– Martin Short.
– Glorious summer nights.
– The gift of laughter.
– Having your expectations exceeded.
– A new way to listen to music.
– The voice inside.
– The wisdom of the body.
– Trashing reminders of things that make you sad.
– Cleaning up your place.
– The first scoop of dirty hash browns.

10 Friday
– The way the psyche doesn’t let you escape from that which you must face. Not even when you are sleeping.
– A healed shoulder. My gosh when was the last time it hurt?
– Working alone. In the dark. For hours. Before anyone else arrives.
– Thick peanut butter-chocolate power smoothies.

9 Thursday
– A tired, sun-soaked dog at the end of the day.
– Finding a new way to train on off-days. That sounds like an oxymoron. It’s not.
– Steak. Second time this week. Just because.
– Branflakes. Good going down. And out!

8 Wednesday
People who help lost dogs.

7 Tuesday
– Dreams you can sink your teeth into.
– Someone who can help with that.
– Having fun at work.
– Being outside in the middle of a perfectly comfortable afternoon.
– Peanut butter cookies dipped in chocolate.

6 Monday
This moment. This August night. The fan blows in the corner of the room. Fall is coming but it is not here yet. We’ve got some time, boy. The signs are there for us. We see them. We do not deny them. We do not fight them. But we do not allow them more power than they should have, yet. We’ve got this moment. And this. I want to hold onto it. Hold it and not let go. But I know the moment I grasp is the moment it will slip away. Quicksilver night, boy. We know those. A drying towel, slung over the closet door, flaps from the wind of the fan. The paper I use to write these words waves, too. The hum of the fan. I’m sorry for every instance I didn’t allow myself to enjoy time spent with you. And so grateful for the those moments I carry with me everywhere I go. The fan blows. Blows. Blows. Good night. Good night.

5 Sunday
– Lifting as long as you want. Extra pull-ups anyone?
– Food co-ops. Especially ones with fantastic hot bars.
– Chocolate milk on Sunday afternoons.
– The moment you have a solid draft of a written work you absolutely need to finish. Nothing like that feeling.
– Eight minutes of mobility. It really doesn’t take that much.
– Only getting lost (mentally) for an hour. Used to take you all day.
– Goats.
– The promise of a fun a night.
– Cheesy hash browns.

4 Saturday
– Going into the clinic at an odd hour and still finding your favorite receptionist at the ready. Some people smile at you in the very right way. What a gift.
– Writing at the coffee shop and in the rain.
– Thick squirrels running happy from tree to bush. Fall is coming.
– Chocolate shakes on Saturday afternoons.
– Small dogs that wag their tails at you from the other side of a window.
– Planning. You’re not good at it. But you like it.
– This moment.
– Second winds.
– Paying the bills. Really.

3 Friday
– The sense the universe just opened up and is about to let you slip into something good.
– Working fast and heavy.
– Storm clouds you can see from miles away.
– Finding a great new (to you) lunch spot.
– Honey yogurt from Trader Joe’s. Take the spoon away. Right. Now.

2 Thursday
Learning anew the unseen influence unleashed in the world by spoken truths. Used to be you thought you had to wait until you got it just right. But no. You’ll always be wrong. Let’s repeat that: You. Will. Always. Be. Wrong. And yet it is the attempt at honest truth that carries forward. Intention means so much in expression.

1 Wednesday
Beginnings.

July 2018

31 Tuesday
Endings.

30 Monday
The mixed bag that is life.

29 Sunday
– Your fingers.
– Your toes.
– Looking in a mirror and liking the guy looking back at you.
– The breath.
– Sweat.
– Moments when you’re aware of the important things.
– Frustration. Anger. The realization of where you are. And everything else that proceeds and produces such moments.

28 Saturday
At an old haunt, the little buddy jaunts down the hillside. Free. So happy. He is so happy to be back here. Back in this place of many easy walks, good sniffing, wide air, and long views, on gorgeous afternoons like this one in which a cloud-dotted cyan sky holds us and tall grasses wave us home.

26 Thursday
Half-hour walks that go by in a flash because you are with one of your people and time slips away when you are with one of your people and it just feels so dang good.

25 Wednesday
When you are outside the very moment the weather shifts. Warmth gives way to cool. The wind — suddenly there is wind. Dark clouds swirl on the horizon. Faint, faint raindrops dab your arms.

24 Tuesday
– Days that go by in a blur.
– Writing time. You could name this one every day. And hopefully you always will (in your mind at least).
– Laughing with a colleague. It just takes a minute to turn the day around.
– Clarity about a tough decision.
– Acceptance.
– Yoga mornings.
– Steak nights.

23 Monday
– Doing your best. And keeping on. Even when you’re not great at the task at hand.
– Moments of inspiration.
– Friendly smiles.
– Good news at the doctor’s office.
– Hunks of raw cheese.

22 Sunday
– Increased awareness.
– Gorgeous afternoons.
– A coffee shop with stellar dog treats.
– The realization that life blows a wind of immutable suffering. But you’re (usually) standing pretty fucking tall against it. And (usually) face-first.
– Weighted pull-ups.

21 Saturday
– Walking into a full diner and finding there’s one booth open in the back and, yes, yes, we’ll take it, that’s perfect, thank you.
– A long-overdue breakfast with a buddy.
– There are certain people that, when you talk to them, you instantly access the best version of yourself — you’re out there and vulnerable and goofy and thoughtful and funny. What a gift.
– Mushroom omelets.

20 Friday
The power of a few words between like minds. Like that: changes your day!

19 Thursday
– Taking time to see someone who helps you so much.
– The power of acceptance.
– The checkout girl you could talk to all day and never stop smiling.
– Steaks on sale.

18 Wednesday
– Bananas and peanut butter.
– Apples and peanut butter.
– Celery and peanut butter.
– Blueberries and … yogurt. (The PB should work — just doesn’t. It’s like PB&J without the bread.)

17 Tuesday
– Walking work break.
– Summer mornings made for walk: bright and clear and cool enough to feel comfortable every step.

15 Sunday
– A full fridge and the next day’s meals prepared.
– Meeting your good friend’s girlfriend.
– Seeing him so happy.
– Shoulder shrugs.

14 Saturday
– Creating a new food plan.
– Blue skies.
– Human Edward Hopper paintings.
– The lovely young woman in the lacy sheer sleeves sitting at a stoplight on Cedar Avenue this morning who kept looking over her shoulder to check on the boy strapped in the backseat carseat before she turned back to grab the wheel and weep, a small dream catcher hanging from her rear-view mirror, the tears sliding toward striking back hair.
– Talking for several minutes before realizing that, holy shit, you’re out there. You’re out there and loving every minute of it.
– Little Oscar’s.
– Baked potatoes.

13 Friday
– The miracle effect of resistance bands.
– Delivering to someone the life-changing news they hoped to hear.
– Following your gut. Even when it means swimming against the tide.

12 Thursday
– Making it to yoga for the third time in five days.
– Mini pizzas.
– Learning that your baby bunny died this morning.

11 Wednesday
– Clearing hurdles.
– Lifting heavy weights into the night.

10 Tuesday
– Yoga teachers who give provocative readings at the end of class.
– Rescuing a baby bunny from the curb on which you park.
– A woman who helps you with the little one even though she barely knows you and has never seen the creature in person.
– People who work at wildlife refuges.

9 Monday
– Taking care of yourself. All day long.
– Getting a little help along the way.
– Sweet potatoes.

8 Sunday
– Recovery day.
– Leftover fajita scrambled eggs. It’s a thing.
– Deep breath: there is always more to do, always more work, always a way of getting better. You can say more, you can say better, less, and so it is that this is your life and there is so much that is good but challenges are always right there, they spring up, before you in instant. You aren’t always ready. You can’t plan it all. You fight and you resist. But in your moments you accept and you see. This is life, not a journey, not some metaphor that sounds good between asanas, and certainly not while trying to apply an easy solution to a complex fucking befuddlement. It ain’t easy. No. But that’s why it’s good. That is why it’s good. That is why the best rewards are the ones that also sneak up on you. Whoa. Did I really do that? Say that? Be … that? Witness that? The paradox — hold it. Not one end or the other. Both. The end that sees how much you’ve grown and the end that sees another chance right here, right now, good God, oh yes, you innocent, you freak, you fantastic strong fucking man.

7 Saturday
– Deadlift jacks. What a back savor.
– Looking in the mirror and liking what you feel.
– Zipping home on a summer night. Home so soon?
– Good questions.
– The joy and angst that comes with new connections.

6 Friday
Writing from the first breaths and into the afternoon.

5 Thursday
– Lifting heavy in the morning. Yoga-ing hot in the evening.
– Finding new ways to express yourself.
– Shedding. Discarding. Even taking the garbage out … lighter, you are getting lighter.
– Feeding the brave beast inside.
– Dialogue about something that has been written and shared.
– Hard-boiled eggs.

4 Wednesday
– Thomas Paine.
– Thomas Jefferson.
– The Flag.
– Mid-day dreams.
– Fresh strawberries.

3 Tuesday
– Facing important things.
– Facing important things with one who takes you places you could never have gone on your own.
– When the stoplights all turn for you when you’re on a tight schedule and can’t be late.
– Chicken and potatoes.
– Choosing the right words to make a friend laugh so hard.

2 Monday
– New shoes.
– New remedies.
– New insights.
– Old books.

1 Sunday
– Canada
– Justin Trudeau.
– Maple syrup.
– Standing on guard for thee.
– Pressing weights to the ceiling before grabbing coffee with a buddy.
– Time to just be.
– Ice baths.

June 2018

30 Saturday
– Showing up for appetizers and staying for a long dinner.
– Chicken that falls off the bone.
– Being served the garlic mashed potatoes by mistake.
– Cheating with a few bites of garlic mashed potatoes. Oh gosh they were good.
– Walking out into a warm night.
– Being surprised by people. And, thankfully, this time in a good way.
– Distant, small-city radio stations you pick up during night-time drives with the windows rolled down.

29 Friday
– Losing two pounds — your goal — nothing more, nothing less.
– Laughing so hard at work you nearly spit out your shake.
– Showing for the party of familiar faces and finding a few new ones to talk to.

28 Thursday
Muddling through. Some days, that’s all you can do.

27 Wednesday

– Cows.
– Camels.
– Feeling comfortable.
– Good news you will soon deliver to someone else.

26 Tuesday
– An unexpected afternoon off.
– A story you’re so excited to tell that you nearly jump out of your skin right before you do.
– Writing your own permission slips.
– Authority.
– Room to breathe.
– Stocking up on good meat.
– A baby gopher on the side of the highway.

25 Monday
– Dreams that wake you up so they are noticed.
– Starting the week with heavy box-squats.
– Stumbling onto a new path.
– A new (to you) sport.
– Fresh goals, new possibilities.
– The bits you learn when you write your story.

24 Sunday
– Doing your own thing.
– Bringing all of you to the (coffee) table.
– Shocking someone.
– Feeling your physical body from the inside out.
– Realizing you have more work to do. But you got this.
– Anticipation.
– Taking forward steps. And being rather quick about it.
– Albino squirrels.
– Rabbits running.
– Cod.
Of Mice and Men.

23 Saturday
– Birthday parties.
– Finding a new place for care.
– Gin and fantastic tonic water. Really.
– Sharing good news. And being heard.
– Little girls who smear cake in their eyebrows.

22 Friday
– Greeting the day before a blazing orange sunrise.
– Really caring about what you do.
– A great Friday. A great last day of the week.
– Finding new sources of motivation. They flow like water from a fountain. You open your mouth and let the spray coat your tongue.
– Sitting on a park bench  as the sun sets over your shoulder.

21 Thursday
– Being the first one to work in the morning.
Rosalita: On the edge of out of control. Bold. Yet you can dance to it.
– Leaving work early at the end of the day.

20 Wednesday
– Driving fast with the windows in your hair, your buddy at your side, and Bruce turned up on the stereo.
– Finally connecting with a certain someone.
– Letting go at lunch and laughing all the way.

19 Tuesday
Good yoga teachers.

18 Monday
– Ten years of love.
– Trust during a storm.
– A smiling face that asks how you are and waits for the real answer.
– Rest when you need it most.
– Sit-ups.

16 Saturday
– Sweet people.
– Solid progress on a hard project.

15 Friday
– Finding out you are on a team that supports you and helps you.
– Facing fears. So hard! So much good comes!
– Sitting on the stoop with some buddies on a warm night, eating barbecue, drinking gin, shooting the shit.
– After all this time finally finding the language you need to calmly steer clear of situations that used suck you right in.
– Ribblets.

14 Thursday
– Warm showers.
– Sunny lunches.
– The opportunity mistakes provide.
– The clarity mistakes provide.
– The chance to slow down.
– The gift of fear.
– Hours of humility.
– Moments when you are forced to look at where you are and where you are going.

13 Wednesday
– Energy for change.
– What happens when you accept, accept, accept.
– Old dogs walked with their older masters on the side of the road as you pull into home to greet yours as one of those.

12 Tuesday
– Warm weather.
– Warm memories arising from unexpected encounters.
– Dreams that show you what is.
– The time you tried to save a squirrel.
– Chicken and brown rice.

11 Monday
– The compound interest that comes from daily reading.
– Getting caught up. If only for half of a day.
– Feeling strong.
– Resting easy.
– Letting the angst do what it’s going to do.
– Eggs.

10 Sunday
Realizing what you need and giving it to yourself.

9 Saturday
– Easy conversation.
– Steak salads.
– One painting that sticks.
– A ballgame that sucks you in.
– A friend to share it with.
– Belly dancers.

8 Friday
– Going out of your way for your dog. Knowing he is happy. Tired and happy.
– Friends who have impromptu gatherings — and invite you to them.

7 Thursday
Staying late so to get to that place where you have nothing else that really needs to be done.

6 Wednesday
– Lifting weights in the morning and then again in the evening.
– Steak dinner. Earned it.

5 Tuesday
– Black squirrels.
– Purple flowers.
– Making a funny in the staff meeting.

2 Saturday
– Doing your own thing at the gym and being part of the group at the same time.
– Every hour you work on a Saturday is worth two.
– Those people that just put you in a good and free mood — laughter just flows.
– Stepping on the scale and being pleasantly surprised.

1 Friday
Moments when you feel like you’re getting the hang of something that is hard for you.

May 2018

31 Thursday
– Long days
– Short hours.

30 Wednesday
– Green grass.
– Baby squirrels who run into the road and then go right back to the green grass.

29 Tuesday
– Dodging bullets.
– Dark clouds on the horizon.
– Thunderstorms.
– Rain.
– A big bowl of cabbage.
– A slim, new bracelet.
– Stealing extra cuddle time with your buddy early in the morning.
– What accumulates when you put your head down and do one thing at a time.
– Just saying it! It was funny after all!

28 Monday
– Nashville.
– Pedestrian bridges.
– Studio B.
– Vitamin C.
– The letter E.
– Your initial, T.
– Jammin’ hard.

27 Sunday
Being so happy you spontaneously laugh with no one else in the room.

26 Saturday
– Meeting an old friend for the first time.
– Frogger.
– Asteroids.
– BurgerTime.
– Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey.
– 24-hour art.
– Moments when Providence moves, too.

25 Friday
– A girl named Mae.
– A student named Brianne.
– A woman named Olivia.
– A man with one leg who makes spare ribs.
– Two gals, two dogs, and a great night for a walk to the store.
– Pigs.
– Pizza. An hour after barbecue. Just because.
– Being remembered by a restauranteur who still doesn’t know your name.
– The Gulch.
– A guitar-playing singer from Australia who is as personable as she is pretty.
– Hugs.

24 Thursday
– Hearing from a familiar friend.
– Making new friends. And suddenly easily.
– Art teachers.
– Tootsie’s.
– Graham crackers. The drink, not the yummy wafers.
– Warm nights under the lights.
– Fish and chips.
– Sight-seeing.
– A woman with peach flip-flops who pushed her walker around a park lake talking to someone you couldn’t see.
– People who care about people who are incarcerated.
– Johnny Cash.

23 Wednesday
– Opportunities.
– Hurricanes. Note: The drink, not the destructive tropical storm.
– Luxardo cherries.
– Pilots.
– Warm air.
– Total chill.
– Daubers of gray clouds in the otherwise blinding and beautiful sunshine of morning.
– Long-distance connections with old friends on account of disparate reseasons and odd resemblances.

22 Tuesday
– Free day! Making it constructive with diversions whenever moved to take them.
– Anticipation.

21 Monday
– Having someone in your life who tells you truth. Even the part of the truth you’d rather not hear. Especially that.
– Having friends in your life who make you feel so good just to be around them.

20 Sunday
The canvas that is one whole day. What will you paint?

19 Saturday
– The rising sun.
– The calm of morning.
– The way your dog’s head bows and bends, the way his body sags in pleasure, as you massages his shoulders.
– The way you can bend at yoga: progress!
– Filling a bucket with sweat.
– Being in the presence of truth revealed.
– Doing extra at work. Just to keep up.

18 Friday
– Being honest.
– Not saying too much.
– Not letting your shame take over.
– Pushing through.
– Being immersed in the day. Yet in the midst arises a conscious thought: in a few hours you will be home, you walk slowly in this warm and wonderful weather with your dog, you will be watching hockey, you will be eating a steak, you will take a chore or two, you will do it as you want to, you will be free.

17 Thursday
Asking for what you want and need, even when you know it’s unlikely to be given.

16 Wednesday
You didn’t realize how big a goal this was until you did it. You look at the video your buddy took of you lifting 500 pounds and how happy you were when, after reaching the top of the lift, you threw down the weight with a mixture of glee and anger. What can’t be seen in the video is how you walked around the gym clapping your hands and talking fast the way you do when you are giddy. After class, you take your dog to the river you go to many mornings before work. As he sniffed about, you watch a mallard float slowly alone down and around a bend beneath trees. Whatever is inside your body laughs.

15 Tuesday
Muggy mornings. Birds singing. The darkness of night not yet lifted. For a moment you can feel a jungle on the other side of the world.

14 Monday
– Lifting more weight than you did before. Even after a lousy night of sleep.
– Connecting with a longtime acquaintance in a way that starts to feel more like you are in facts friends.
– Mistakes. What they teach.
– Your dog’s eyes.
– The way your dog wants to play ball all over again, forty minutes after your last game.
– Love.
– Self reviews at work. Hate ’em. Love ’em.
– Facebook: you hate Facebook. But it was a nice surprise after work to see 69 likes of your mid-day post.
– Not joining in conversations that put others down. Even if they might have offered a reason.
– A steak dinner with sauteed onions and mushrooms.

13 Sunday
Sleeping in until the sun beams through the shades.
– “Two Cathedrals”: poetry disguised as an episode of television (The West Wing, Season 2, 2001).
– Art that makes you cry.

12 Saturday
– People who gently remind you when you have taken a joke a wee bit too far.
– Long walks in the sun with the birds chirping and your buddy sniffing.
– Personal retreat time.
– Friends who contact you out of the blue.
– Rain.
– Mom.

11 Friday
– Feeling good. After gaining a little weight over some stressful weeks you have things back on track and you feel it as you walk down the hall at work.
– Getting your haircut — really, really short.
– The very right song at the start of yoga.
– Finding a good deal on a flight to a place you want to go but didn’t think you could when you will.

10 Thursday
Speaking from your heart.

9 Wednesday
Listening to your heart.

8 Tuesday
– Morning yoga.
– Leaning back into the correct seated position.

7 Monday
– The moment after work when you get those clothes off now.
– The chance to wear shorts.

6 Sunday
– The Festival of Nations.
– Hawaiian dancing.
– Warm sun.
– Being surprised by someone you know.
– Surprising someone you know.
– Bindis.
– Funny hats.
– Sadness.
– Egypt.

5 Saturday
– Perfect mornings.
– Making a friend laugh so hard.
– Cold coffee. With cream.
– A good sweat.
– Bananas. Lots of bananas.
– Restarts.
– Writing projects.
– Clearing the decks.
– Snuggle time.
– Steven Stamkos’s ability to shoot a puck.

4 Friday
– Making yourself vulnerable in front of new colleagues.
– A nice moment with a deer. Yep, he really did say that.
– Digging in and seeing where you get.
– Fast preparation.
– Not having too much time to think about it.
– Leaning in.
– Taking off (when you need to).

2 Wednesday
– Being in the company of someone you connect with. Amazing, truly amazing, what can happen in even a few moments of interaction.
– Practical advise.
– Making the time to do your work.
– Getting to the end of the day and both you and your little buddy are just totally ready to zonk out.

1 Tuesday
Saying goodbye to April.

April 2018

30 Monday
– Just saying it.
– Not thinking about it.
– Moving on.
– The little dance you do before picking up a heavy set of front squats.
– Running through your patterns of angst and shame and fear and anger more quickly than you used to.
– Lying on the grass, one moment, after work, your little buddy by your side.

29 Sunday
– Laughing the laugh of shared history.
– Soft skin.
– Tired eyes.
– Smooth lips.
– Yoga.

28 Saturday
– A new restaurant.
– A new friend.
– A great night for a walk.
– A pretty good art crawl.

27 Friday
– Writing so late into the night. What a release when you are finally done!
– Having done so much work that even though you are dead tired and way past your bedtime you still need to unwind for like an hour until, like that, the adrenaline stops, and you are out.

26 Thursday
Watching hockey while wearing shorts.

24 Tuesday
The Toronto Maple Leafs.

23 Monday
– Vocal chords.
– Big toes.
– Little fingers.
– Used notebooks.
– Caring the right amount.

22 Sunday
– Realizing inside you is a pretty decent person.
– Showing that to someone.

21 Saturday
– Long late morning drives on early spring days.
– Doing good work with a kind soul.
– Clarity of mind, if not of spirit.

20 Friday
– The gift of a new mentor.
– Moments over the lunch hour when you are the only one working.

19 Thursday
– 50 degrees.
– Clean glasses.
– Very large birds.
– Bird chirps.
– The sound of the coffeemaker, just finished its job.

18 Wednesday
– Knowing when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to walk away, when to run.
– What happens when you observe others rather see only inside yourself.
– Bright smiles.
– The truth the face tells.
– The limitless possibilities of self-discovery.

17 Tuesday
– The power of sports to connect you with a colleague over lunch.
– Being outside for twenty-five minutes in the afternoon: sun bright, snow soft, it’s early, take your time, we have not done this in so long.

16 Monday
– Lifting heavy weight over and over again with your fresh legs in the earliest hour of the morning.
– Lying prostrate on the couch with your dog nestled against your tired legs at the end of the evening.
– Jordan Peterson.

15 Sunday
– The NHL playoffs! Live!
– New photographs.
– Old looking things.
– Age gaps.
– Shared memories.
– Pizza slices.
– Al Secord.

14 Saturday
– The wind.
– The to-do list.
– Tidy drawers.
– Accepting that you’re just one of those people: you’ve got 12 things going at once.
– Finishing one of those 12 things.
– Zig Ziglar.

13 Friday
– Shut-in storms.
– Soulful laughter.
– Smiles from a new, friendly face.
– Those moments when you stop and take care of yourself as only you can.
– Elliotte Friedman.

12 Thursday
The expectation that at the end of a long day you will have a high-stakes hockey game to watch.

11 Wednesday
The NHL playoffs!

10 Tuesday
Fresh challenges.

9 Monday
Sharing a laugh with a familiar face — a person who has great one.

8 Sunday
– A good night of sleep.
– Goofing around at the dollar store with friends.
– The gift of honesty. Inside if not elsewhere.
– The warmth of your little buddy.
– Easy naps.
– Self-acceptance.

7 Saturday
– GABA.
– Vitamin D.
– Zinc.
– Magnesium.
– Easy naps.
– Slow showers.
– Sunny afternoons.
– No bills left to pay.
– The trips you have not yet taken.
– Self-awareness: the joys and the sorrows!

6 Friday
– Sleeping past five just ‘cuz.
– The clarity that comes with a food fast.
– Getting into something new.
– Making mistakes and just keepin’ on anyway.
– Making it home before five on a Friday.
– Making a new chicken dish.

5 Thursday
– Meditation time first thing in the morning.
– Finishing a job.
– Ending well.
– Celebratory steaks.
– Momentum.
– Learning something new.
– Being lost in thought.
– Being told that you will be missed.
– Meditation time at the end of the night.

4 Wednesday
– Always having enough sanitary water to drink.
– Packing your own lunch.
– Pizza night.

3 Tuesday
Looking for — and finding — the small connections.

2 Monday
– The gift of self-expression. Even when it makes you feel vulnerable.
– Making a new friend at the gym.
– Watching hockey when the rest of the sports world is watching basketball.
– Boundaries.
– Compound interest, whether for money or for emotional gains.

1 Sunday
– Noticing your dog is licking a wound on his leg you take him in your arms. “Buddy,” you say, “we can’t lick our wounds or else they won’t go away.” That’s when you realize you had been at the same moment licking one of your own. Ha!
– Seeing your newborn niece smile at you from your lap.
– Hearing your 4-year-old nephew make a funny.
– Trader Joe’s.

March 2018

31 Saturday
– Sad memories.
– Weakness.
– The work that comes from loneliness.
– Rejuvenation.
– Conversations about God in unexpected places.
– African art.

30 Friday
– Writing late into the evening.
– The moment you finish a long session of writing. There is no greater calm.

29 Thursday
– Happy memories.
– When you find yourself smiling for no particular reason.
– Deliveries from Canada.
– Time to think.

28 Wednesday
– The healing power of the confessional.
– Free coffee. And easily the best you’ve had all week.
– People whose souls radiate so sincerely that you cannot help but to be changed after encountering them.
– Pasta — the swirly kind.

27 Tuesday
– Helping out in a pinch.
– Giving your bounty away — and to a person who so clearly appreciates it.

26 Monday
– Chocolate.
– Ginger covered in chocolate.
– Finding yourself with extra chocolate.
– Texts in which the primary subject is chocolate (milk).
– Coconut coffee.
– Steak.
– Snow that slides right off your window.
– Snow that you can write into using your finger pen.
– Days when you get up early and your mind is already turning in the right direction.

25 Sunday
Showing up — even if you’re 10 and a half hours late.

24 Saturday
– Being so tired you fall asleep in the afternoon immediately after closing your eyes.
– Realizing when you’ve done all you can to make a friend; it’s not going to happen — better to know than to hold out hope.
– Kind servers.
– The struggle that is always there; grist for the mill; you always have room to grow.
– Free parking.
– Pot roast dinner.

23 Friday
– Extra time in the morning to snuggle with your little buddy.
– Plans for the evening that call for you to play with an adult buddy.

22 Thursday
– Staying true.
– Feeling blue.
– Recovering quickly.
– Birds that chirp before the sun comes out.
– The way you have learned to use your voice in new ways over time.
– What it does for you when you take a chance on a friend.
– Spending time looking at the contents of a new, dark room with only the aid of a flashlight.

21 Wednesday
Spring!

20 Tuesday
You could stitch a novel together with the stories behind the disparate items scattered throughout the office: the folded newspaper open to a story about Navy SEALs on the desk; the red ribbon on the floor in the corner; a framed, decorative emblem written in Chinese; bookends — large and small, brown and black, metal bookend, at least eight of them — turned this way and that on top of the hanging cabinet; and an enormous secured paper recycling backed up against the window overlooking the park. The man sat with his back to us, staring into his computer screen, talking confidently and decisively handing over judgments on the matters at hand. We must have been there 15-16 minutes before he finally turned around, looked up and said, “how come there are so many people in my office?” Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

19 Monday
First days.

18 Sunday
– Messing around with friends on a Sunday morning.
– Invitations to have eggs.
– The Guthrie.
– Being moved. While watching a video. For school.
– Sushi in the car.
– Holy wasabi!

17 Saturday
– Making the stack smaller.
– Breakfast with a buddy.
– Seeing kids on bikes again.
– Going for walk without a hat on.
– The mental compost.

16 Friday
– Anticipation.
– Potlucks.
– Good reports.
– Yogurt. Plain yogurt.

14 Wednesday
– Self assessments.
– People who study deeply and think thoughtfully about the different ways in which human beings perceive the world.
– The endless opportunities that exist for learning, most of which cost little or no money.
– The endless opportunities for self-invention and self-growth, none of which cost any amount of money.

13 Tuesday
– New spaces.
– Hand-written notes of appreciation.

12 Monday
– Waking up, looking at the clock, and realizing you can sleep for another three hours.
– The sound of the coffeemaker.
– The power of the mind to self-heal.
– Full-spectrum lights.
– Old newspaper and magazine articles.

11 Sunday
– Long coffees with friends.
– Showing up even when it’s not easy and the audience can’t hear everything you’re saying.

10 Saturday
– Self-assessments.
– YouTube videos: who knew you could learn that?
– Being so immersed in something that you remember it decades later.
– Healing hands.
– Great sports stories.
– The sadness that comes from unfinished business.
– One nugget of personal truth. Even just the one can unlock a gate and empty you into new avenues of personal confrontation.

9 Friday
The old woman who calls you “honey” during your first conversation.

8 Thursday
– Getting up early despite the body’s plea to stay right where it is.
– New spaces.
– Quiet moments at the keyboard.
– Getting your point across.
– Supporting someone kind.
– Earned confidence.
– Taking your time.
– President Bartlet.

7 Wednesday
Fatigue. Sometimes you wish it never came but it does serve, and often in ways that you need.

6 Tuesday
– Unexpected hugs.
– Unexpected support.
– Unexpected easy commutes.
– When the barista knows you by name.

5 Monday
Confirmation of a correct decision.

4 Sunday
– A clean home.
– Coming home.
– Staying home.

3 Saturday
– Accepting a challenge. And getting ‘er done.
– The sound of snow melting on a rooftop.
– To-do lists. And getting ‘er done.
– Small but surprising pleasures.

2 Friday
– Moments of rare confidence.
– Listening to the shaky side of you, too — letting that be, not trying to cover it up.

1 Thursday
Receiving an offer that tells you that you are wanted.