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100 Days of Gladness: Day 16

The cool glasses, a scratched back, and finding the cassette

photo by author

The challenge is to post 100 days of gladness, no matter how large or small. This creates a space in my being that gives the doomscroller a break, and begins scanning for gladness instead.

You can picture it, right? It’s like an instrument in the cockpit of an airplane. Only it’s in the mind, round and black, and the needle sweeps around over and over, looking for the blip.

This series is the needle of that instrument, continually sweeping across my days, watching for the little blips of gladness that I might never have noticed otherwise.

For instance, a week ago, I lost my awesome glasses. They were prescription, and I loved that they made me look like the cool lesbian I wish I were. I could get away with readers of course, but … my favorite glasses were lost. I chalked it up to life just being itself, and let it go.

But yesterday, Elena found them! They’d fallen behind a box in our house of many boxes (we’re moving).

I could have just thanked her, and put them on, relieved.

But I took an extra moment to feel into the joy of it. I let myself sit inside the bubble of happiness, realizing I didn’t have to give these glasses up just yet. I poured water on the seeds of this little patch of gladness in my life.

Another recent sweetness. It was morning and we sat up in bed, but I wasn’t ready to start the day yet. I slumped over, seated forward bend style (a holdover from my yoga days) and just hung there. Then Elena gently scratched my back — one of my favorite sensations in the whole world. It fills me with smiles, especially when her fingernails veer dangerously toward the tickle places of my ribs. It made me giggle. and it was free. It was thrilling. I’m pausing now to really love into that moment, and thank the gods for it.

Lastly, I must give you background for the best blip of all.

Forty years ago, I was married to the renowned Western artist, Harry Jackson. We had three kids together and we lived in Tuscany. (He had built a fine art foundry there that cast his sculptures into bronze.) It was February 19th, 1984, and I was conjuring up a great Father’s Day present.

I’d bought a small, square photo album. Then I’d cut about a hundred pieces of square paper just right to fit into the photo album, and divided them into three piles at my desk. I added a huge box of crayons, and invited the kids to come and make as many drawings as they could.

But the pièce de résistance was this: I stuck a tape recorder in the room, and recorded them talking to one another. Italian was their first language, so this was a conversation between my three children, all speaking fluent, little kid Italian. It is a treasure beyond words.

I gave both items to Harry on Father’s Day. When we split, I kept the tape and he kept the album of drawings (which seemed right since I was the musician and he was the artist). I’m not sure what happened to the album. I think it was in the Cody house when It burned down. I don’t know. But I had the tape. For decades.

Until I didn’t.

Some years ago, I wanted to hear it — and when I looked for it in the spot where I’d always kept it, it wasn’t there. I turned the whole house upside down. In doing so, I found so much stuff I’d lost but didn’t care about — but I never found the tape. It took me some time to grieve, to remember the Buddhist principle of impermanence, to force myself over and over to let go. But I did finally resign myself to having lost it.

And yesterday…miracle of miracles, there it was! On a high shelf, with other treasured cassettes. Joy! Gladness! Relief! Thrill! All in one moment. I’m having it digitized and then we’ll all be able to listen to it, and smile at that one moment of the precious past.

All those little blips of gladness are fleeting. But they are also real, and they deserve their place in my pantheon of pleasure.

What are your blips of gladness? Sit there in the cockpit of your life, look at the instrument panel and really feel it as the needle goes around — blip! When you feel that blip, zoom in. It will go around again, and — blip! Zoom in. Pay attention to it. Scan for pleasure. And when you find it, stay there for at least as long as you scroll for doom. Maybe longer.

Give yourself the gift of it, over and over.


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