I opened the doors to my Chinese painted cabinet that I use as my nightstand. I was looking for my copy of Slowing Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey. It’s a gem of a book. I remember it being most helpful and somehow that title was calling to me again. I probably read it not long after it came out in 2009. Here, I’ve got a link for you.
It would have been on one of the two shelves in that nightstand but it wasn’t. At least it wasn’t that night! Maybe I’ll look tonight and it’ll be there.
What I pulled out instead was a silk two-toned journal that I hadn’t written in since June 18, 2016. It’s my Happiest Moment journal. I first wrote in it on October 5, 2007. The entries are regular for a while and then there are gaps. The largest gap is over five years. There was nothing written in it between March 15, 2010, and July 12, 2015.
I’m sure I had plenty of happy moments between those years but I never recorded them.
While I didn’t find the book I was looking for, I found the perfect piece of reading
I realized how great this idea is to record happiest moments before going to bed. It’s a really nice thing to close my eyes to after a busy day. The other choices? I could stew over something or worry about someone or feel regret for not finishing a project I’d planned to finish that day and then close my eyes with all of that on my mind. Or, I could recognize gratitude or satisfaction and write it down. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
One thing I recognized was that it’s the right time to put this journal on top of my nightstand and start writing.
Reading past postings was insightful and tender
Being curious about the gaps, I started reading my entries. It’s funny how those moments can jump right into my head as if they’d just happened last week. There are patterns, I’m sure. I don’t know what they are but I’m having fun reading over my own shoulder.
I’ll share examples. Some entries aren’t dated but I know this was in the 2007 batch.
Russ is sitting in the rocking chair and I’m at the kitchen table cutting out a section of a picture from a design magazine. I’m pasting it on a 3X5 index card and planning to add a Sarah Ban Breathnach quote on top of the picture. When I go to put glue on the back of the cutout I realize the back side is prettier and I’m only vaguely aware of the grin on my face. I’m delighted by this discovery (and this new sport of creating quotes on parts of beautiful pages of a decorator magazine which I just invented this morning) and when I look up Russ is staring at me, eavesdropping on my joy. He really got how happy I was. He said something about the grin and how happy I am cutting up magazines. So true! So not only was it a pure pleasure activity but I was happy to be “discovered” having so much fun by Russ who often sees me busy and hard-w0rking.
I still have those index cards. I call them my beauty cards. Sometimes I take them with me when I travel. They’re just lovely to look at. The quotes came from a desk calendar based on Sarah Ban Breathnach’s runaway best-seller, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. Here’s the link if you want to visit her work.
Other entries are short and not dated.
A moment during restorative yoga where I felt utterly soft and relaxed.
When everyone went home and the house was quiet.
Looking in my office and seeing order.
Being on a walk with Russ when a year ago he was in a wheelchair.
Listening to an interview with singer/songwriter Joe Henry on the On Being podcast.
(Must be the next day) Finding out Joe Henry went to high school with Phil! And married Madonna’s sister!
And family stuff
Hearing that the procedure was successful for Kirk. OMG!
Running into Erin today when I was with my friends and seeing her so radiant and smiley and personable and pretty!
Bella got on Erin’s Town and Country magazine and wouldn’t get off. Erin kept pulling the magazine across the floor and Bella didn’t budge. Erin even twirled the magazine in circles and she still didn’t move. Too funny!
Caitlin calling me for no reason.
Driving down to San Luis Obispo with Caitlin and her playing all her great music. It was all fabulous read trip music. All of it!
Sitting in the audience watching Trevor play his standup bass, his long red hair down his back, how intent he is and how gosh darn talented he is. Amazing!
Talking to Dad on the phone. When we were hanging up I said, I love you Daddy-o. He said I love you too. I said I brag to my friends about you and he chuckled. It sounded like a 13-year-old boys chuckle — loose and tumbling. “You tell other lies too, I imagine,” he said laughing. What a guy!
I think the thing that has stood out the most is that the happiest moments aren’t the milestone things I’ve experienced like being on the Oprah Winfrey Show or winning awards or getting paid the big bucks for speaking engagements. It’s all the little stuff. It’s the family and friend stuff; the giggles, shared tears, singing to loud music, communicating without words. It’s noticing beauty. It’s enjoying one single day or maybe just fifteen minutes of a single day. It all counts. It all adds up.
My friends, do you keep journals like this? If you had a happiest moment to record, what would it be? I’m so looking forward to hearing your responses!