Today's joy: Followed from yesterday's--several hours at my book club discussing The Tsar of Love and Techno. We're all very good friends who taught English together for 20 years and more at a community college, so we had a lot to say about the connections and themes and people and ideas in the book. And then we spent at least an hour talking about death--the kind of death we'd like to have and the deaths we've tended. That sounds unjoyful, I know, but it was very rich and not sad, even if some of the memories were. There's something very comforting and liberating about that kind of conversation with people whom you love and who have good insights, kind of like what Wordsworth said about the power of poetry being "emotion recollected in tranquility.”
Taking care of yourself: Several people have mentioned how stressed they are since the election--and I'm sure the people who haven't mentioned it have felt it. There are lots of great ways to lessen stress and get away from that awful sinking feeling, but one of the best is breathing. I don't know if you've tried meditation and thought it didn't work for you, or if you've never tried, or if you have a great practice, but just in case you'd like to try again, this short video (very secular, not connected to any belief system) is really good.
I know guys who've survived a lot of months of solitary confinement in prison doing just this, and it's made my own life a lot better, especially now. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere, anytime--no equipment needed, and you can do it for just a few minutes or a long time, as you like.