On Delight (Day One)

by lizhuston

I just stumbled upon Ross Gay’s book, “The Book of Delights”, and am here to report that it is indeed a delightful little book. In fact, for what it’s worth, I highly recommend you head to your nearest indie bookstore and buy it right now, or head to the library and borrow it.

It was the description I first found intriguing, wherein the author describes how in counting the delights every day, he actually felt more delight in his life. “Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss. But more full of delight.”

Intrigued by that statement, I remembered the year I photoblogged every single day – (all the way back in 2010). When I look back on that time, I feel a sense of expansiveness, joy, and attention to detail. In writing my daily blogs (which were not journals, they were intended to be shared) I became a much more engaged witness to my own life. And it’s true – that time was filled with delight! Who knew?! And so I have become inspired to take up the project once more. I would love to do a post a day for an entire year, but can I promise that? I don’t think I could promise a delight every day, but I will certainly be honest. It occurs to me that perhaps if I am honest, there is always something, if not many somethings, to delight in. Let us begin and see what happens.

Day 1.
December 2, 2019

I am sick in bed today. For 5 days I pressed on and fought the urge to rest; insisting to myself that I was not ill. Believing instead that this intruder upon my good health could be fought off with supplements, vitamins, and daytime cold medicine; but of course, I was wrong. My body just needed the rest. And so here we are – a little stir crazy, a bit fatigued and foggy headed, but in strangely good spirits. I wonder if perhaps good spirits are what naturally arise when one ceases to argue with what is, and simply accepts it.

I think it was Henry Rollins who said, “It’s hard when someone you know becomes someone you knew.” For the last two months I have been nursing a broken heart. We had nearly 2 years together, so the least I could do was give my sad heart the proper mourning time. However, I’m not sure did, for in this time of healing, I doubled and tripled my activity. Making plans for every night of the week, my tactic was to stay busy, a step ahead of the pain it would seem. The sadness found me anyway, and usually in the most inopportune moments. Plus, here I am now, missing a day of work (a luxury the self employed can rarely afford), sick in bed with the flu. All because I couldn’t stop running from my feelings? Or was it the snotty child who sneezed on the train last week who bestowed this gift upon me? Does it even matter? For here we are, and my original intention was to look for delight, not the rough edges. How easy it is to focus on that which hurts. What a challenge then, to point oneself towards delight.

It is after 4pm now, and twenty minutes of daylight remains in this day. I feel as if I have wasted today, accomplished nothing, because, well, I have accomplished nothing except to rest and an absurd amount of time to write this first entry. Earlier this morning, I somehow summoned the energy to make a large cauldron, if you will, of homemade chai. The entirety of which is still sitting on the stove, covered, because I fell asleep for nap #2 before it was ready to drink.

(She steps away and heats up a cups worth on the stove)

Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, anise, pepper, black tea, all mixed with rose water and honey, topped with frothy almond milk – it is delight in a cup, the sweetness and spiciness of life distilled.

Of course, in my condition with full blown flu symptoms, I can’t actually taste it. But, since I know how chai is supposed to taste, I imagine. Expectations are superimposed on the experience – the mind and taste buds argue. Neither is particularly pleased, but while they fight it out, I notice something else. There is a pleasant warmth inside as I drink the tea, and the chills I have been feeling (and unsuccessfully tending to) for days are finally smoothed into comfort from the inside out.

There it is!

Not in what I was expecting, (the taste), but delight in what is actually occurring (the comfort).

…And we loop back to where I began in this writing – on the good spirits which arise when one accepts that which is actually occuring. Cheers.