“If you go slowly enough, six or seven months is an eternity—if you let it be—if you forget old things, and learn new ones. Even a week can last forever.”
Rick Bass, Winter

"In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Monday, April 9, 2012

Part II, Day Eight: Monday's Mantra

Lately, in mindfulness venues on the internet, I've increasingly come across this quote from Epictetus, the Greek sage and Stoic philosopher:
Caretake this moment.  Immerse yourself in its particulars.  Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.  Quit the evasions.  Stop giving yourself needless trouble.  It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
I was curious to know more about him, so I googled and came to the (ah, so scholarly) Wikipedia description, as follows:
To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.
Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty to care for all fellow humans. The person who follows these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind.
 Caretaking this moment means that today, Monday, and in the week ahead, I will see to the following:
  • Getting my taxes done, and ready to drop off at the accountant's.  Nothing like waiting until the last possible week!
  • Getting to the bottom of why the chapter when Anna finds Pascal with another woman who ends up becoming his new girlfriend reads more like a French farce, or actually more like an American Francophile writing a French farce, and find another way to get him out of the picture for a while that doesn't feel like a contrivance, that doesn't feel like deus ex machina, and is true to character, to these characters, because after all, I'm writing psychological realism here, not farce.
  • Calling the first vet who diagnosed Zoe's cancer and finding out more about where the tumor started, so that the integrative vet can put a needle in its "grandfather" (to be discussed) when he makes a house call on Saturday. This may involve playing phone tag, but so be it.
  • Getting started on the revised two-part review/essay due at The North American Review by the 21st.  Yikes!
  • Starting to do something a bit more intentional about my core muscles.  What happened to two minutes of plank a day?  They've weakened up.  I was going to take Pilates.  Why didn't I?
  • Meditating and writing and walking with Zoe every day, never forgetting the luxury it is inhabit these situations so fully, with so much mind and heart, I could burst.
If I don't stall, or evade, or give myself trouble, I'll end the week having filed my taxes (no escape for that); having stared down a creative roadblock and forged a new path in the book; done something good for my dog that might be interesting to learn about too; made progress toward completing a deadline; improved my posture and gotten a little stronger.

Good Monday, gentle reader, and may the situations you caretake today and this week bring you satisfaction and peace.


  1. I ate the tail off my niece-in-love's Russell Stover bunny yesterday...(previous post)- only half Jewish.
    Today: "The person who follows these precepts will achieve happiness and peace of mind." And may be tired when night arrives from accomplishing a very long list of the day. But, peacefully so. Namaste.

  2. Hi Sara. Eat that tail! Yea. I am so happy and peaceful as I a) just got my tax stuff ready to drop off to accountant and b) am almost done with vet inquiry--my part in it. Now, tackling the sketchy part of the novel! Thanks for this. Namaste!