Monday 10 September 2018

Mantra against Misfortune

I have a new technique against useless retrospection. Every time I begin a thought with "Oh, if only..." or "I wish I had...", I say, "What can I do today to make tomorrow better?" 

This mantra popped into my head--very possibly at Mass---when B.A. and I were living in the New Town this summer. At a certain point after the Deluge drove us from our happy home in the Historical Flat, I began to say such mournful things as "What terrible decisions have I made in my life that have led up to this moment?" 

This was nonsense, of course, as neither of us made decisions that led to the sudden malfunction of the HH's fire extinguishing system. Neither of us was responsible, either, for poor B.A.'s brain tumour deciding to grow again. And neither of us was responsible for the delay in taking possession of our flat, which was caused by some shoddy map-making at some registry office, plus a crack in the concrete around the [redundant] chimney.

As a matter of fact, our life decisions had left us well-off, not only because we had kindly friends with a kindly tenant who allowed us to rent a room, but because we had been working and saving against the evil day we would have to leave the Historical House. So in reality we had made excellent decisions that led up to the joyful moment in August went B.A. took possession of our new home. 

This mantra "What can I do today to make tomorrow better?"is a good dispeller of gloomy thoughts, I have found, especially as making tomorrow better includes digging a few dandelions out of the lawn. It occurred to me this morning that I may never finish digging dandelions out of the lawn, as they keep coming back, but that does not mean I should give up. (Giving up would lead to a brutal dandelion occupation.) The victory is in digging up the dandelions as long as I have breath and strength---which is also true of the struggle against sin. 

Gardening is a very theological activity. 

After reading a simple but persuasive book called Eat, Move Sleep by a pop scientist named Tom Rath, I decided that another thing I could do to make tomorrow better was to start running for 30 minutes a day. Despite my athletic years (ages 25-36), this was a very radical decision--especially as this running will be outdoors instead of in a comfortable gym. 

However, for over a year I have been sitting down for over 8 hours a day,  I have gained a lot of weight, and I have arms that ache from too much typing. It seemed to me that I had better take up cardiovascular exercise NOW, or I will be very sorry SOON.

So this morning I got up at 6:50 AM and ran along the river and back for what turned out to be 24 minutes, and it didn't kill me. Eat, Move, Sleep promises (as have other books I've read) that cardiovascular activity improves learning, too. so that will be useful for my Polish. 

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