Perhaps it is a dangerous thing to live in the woods, away from people, and enjoy it with such intensity?  I don’t want to be so enamored of solitude to the extent that I prefer it to being with the people I love.  My commitments no longer include appointments, or babysitting, carpools or errands.  I am no longer stimulated – no, make that overstimulated  – – by the latest shopping sales, activities lists, advertisements, media, junk mail, city noise, news of crime, or crowding.  I miss my kids and I think they miss me. But I’m nervous and somewhat dismayed about going back to my home town, even temporarily,  before I’m ready.   My spouse soothed me: “Look at whatever time we have in Maine not as an entitlement, but as a gift.”  It was mussar that I needed to hear.

I’m afraid of undoing all the good I’ve attained here in this remote part of Maine, under its protective shield of solitude and peace.  If I can somehow take the good I’ve reaped with me to wherever I end up, then I will have achieved something grand.  I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.

My chronic, debilitating insomnia is waning.  For the first time in years, I am (mostly) sleeping soundly through the night.

I write in a composition notebook:  “Goals for today.”  I pick one or two and just work on those because otherwise it is too overwhelming and I end up accomplishing nothing.   I sometimes get lost, and then I open the book and re-read what I’ve written, because I often need reminding of the things I must do:


Organize & Prioritize: Throw away stuff.  List errands and see if they are really necessary. Mostly they’re not, or at least, not urgent!

Eat sensibly (and write down what it is I eat or want to prepare).

Drink lots of water (so basic and so important).

Exercise (Pilates, stretch, walk dog, hike or ride bike).

Breathe (go outside, inhale fresh mountain air deeply and consciously, intensely feel the purity).

Think (cheshbon nefesh: turn remorse into change, growth, improvement).

Try something new.

Accomplish (photography: taking pictures or processing them; writing).

Love (work on enhancing my relationship with my spouse; this can be something as simple as making sure I genuinely show interest in what he has to say, and smile more when he is around to demonstrate the joy I feel but too rarely show).

Appreciate (that I’m able to experience this time in my life, in this house, in this environment).

Health (stop kvetching and concentrate on the body parts that still do work).

Gratitude (this list should be endless so think of 10 things, with feeling)

Learn:  Jewish studies (mussar, hashkafa, halacha).

Learn: secular (expand my mind, use my intellect, discover something new; research).

Read (interconnected with learn).

Laugh (heartily).

Commune (different than davening; concentrating on becoming close with G-d by paying attention to the little things around me; seeing the miracles of nature; spending time by myself, talking to G-d and being alone but not lonely).

Prepare (anticipate death while living life).

Legacy (concentrate on becoming a person my children will look back on with fondness and good memories, and leave some sort of tangible thing that will suggest a lasting presence in their lives in a positive way).

Be positive (no whining; reduce negativity; abolish bitterness).

Reach out (connect with someone who is lonely or who is going through a hard time).

Tzedaka (think hard about how, what, and to whom to give and/or help – – and then do it).

Simchat chaim (I feel sure that ultimately, this above all will be the source of my healing).


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Tiger Mike on November 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I am going to copy this list and put it up on the wall in my study. It is one of the most motivating and inspiring things I have read lately.


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