What are you expecting?

Every thought we have is creating our futureLouise Hay.

Last year my husband and I ran a positive thinking experiment. Every evening, one or both of us noted a good memory of the day and stuffed it into an old Planters peanut jar. Recently we started reading some of those brief records of our lives just 12 months ago.

The Huffington Post cites scientific proof that optimism improves our lives. Other sources say it reduces rates of depression, lowers levels of stress, and even boosts our immune system.

Positive thinking doesn’t develop in a single day or a week. Like other things in life worth having, such as a good friend or a fine wine, it takes patience and practice to claim the prize. So we began with something small, notes in a jar. Sometimes we recorded things as simple as spring birdsong at dawn’s first light. Other days our joys were bigger and grander but the idea was simply to recognize that every day was a good day.

What small pleasures do you find in ordinary living? What role does optimism play in our ability to weather difficult times?

What's on your chicken list?

I have two TBR (to be read) lists.

The first is all the books I really, really, really want to read and already own. Many are in my eBook library and vie for my attention daily. The rest sit on the shelves beside my bed and are a constant physical reminder of the wonderful worlds that await me.

The other list is the classic books that I know I should read but have avoided for a number of reasons: 

  1. I worry I won’t be smart enough to understand the profound themes that make them so revered.

  2. I’m certain that the authors’ brilliance will wither my confidence and leave me unable to write.

  3. I dread the archaic language of some of the older books.

To put it bluntly I’ve avoided many books out of simple fear.

Prompted by the purchase of Steinbeck’s East of Eden in December, I’ve decided to go through my fear, not around it.   

Last month I read East of Eden and loved it. Yes, Steinbeck was brilliant. No, I will never write at his level. But I yellow-tagged dozens of pages to go back to and read again. There is so much to learn from his work.

This experience made me wonder: what am I missing in other classic novels in favour of something more contemporary?

Resolution: to balance my ‘should reads’ with my ‘want to reads.’

Do you have any reading resolutions for the 2016? How are they working out so far?

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Baby meet Moominmama  3 Nov 05 by Phillip Capper