If you have ever meditated, you know that the whole idea is to let go of your thoughts. Our minds constantly grasp, using thought as a hold that usually just leads to other thoughts, an entire sticky web of them, and it can’t be helped because thinking is what minds do. The advice, whether you’re practicing Zen or cooling down after a yoga class at the gym, is to pay attention to your breath, which actually serves as the best metaphor for the process of mind one should adopt. Respiration is a process of change; if you hold onto your breath for too long, you won’t be long for this world. At the very least, you’ll pass out.

Yesterday I delved back into major revisions on the novel I’ve been writing. I’m on the third draft, and after a three month respite I discovered there is still a lot of work to do. Sometimes I wonder whether it will ever be ‘done,’ but I remember the difference between the first and second drafts, and I also remember that I’ve been writing and reading throughout the process, absorbing the words of others, hearing from the friends who I am endlessly grateful for, while also practicing, practicing (Nice origin story about that old Carnegie Hall joke).

I always look forward to Christmas nostalgia, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that. The ‘sad’ songs, e.g. Frank’s “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” bring to mind flashes of memories, and the emotional warmth of the season contrasts with the onset of winter. I’ve spent the last week waiting for the short days to end so I could watch the lights on our tree glow in the dark. The dying of the earth’s light was celebrated by the Romans, who prepared for the sun’s rebirth and ascendance by feasting and giving gifts. Society was turned on its head, in effect going mad, which makes me wonder how much has changed.

See what I mean? Without focus, the mind ranges like a wayward goat, ruminating on whatever it can find.

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