If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. –E.B. White
I wake up many mornings before sunrise already feeling like my day has ended. In the darkness, I mentally writhe with desperation because I have already failed before I’ve begun.
When I read the above quote, most of me thinks “these things are not mutually exclusive,” but then I have the anxious mornings where it seems I only have one or the other choice: control or delight. And because I usually choose control, I lose all joy.
I think that E.B. White might be writing about a desire for control here rather than altruism when he talks about “a desire to improve the world.” Wanting control is a normal response to incomprehensible life. For me, when that desire for control manifests itself on my trying to force my will on the day, then it becomes unhealthy.
Lately, I’ve been reminding myself that “the day is sufficient for itself.” Often it becomes a desperate mantra to ground myself. Worry accomplishes me nothing and a day well spent is a day where I realize that joy and affecting the world for good are things that go hand in hand.
I love the New Year. The idea of endings and beginnings lets me incrementally move through my life in the direction of where I need to be as a whole human. A human who takes unabashed delight in my world as well as works joyfully and gracefully to better it. My desire for 2015 is that I will say “no” more often. Rather than stretching myself thin being a go-to yes-girl, I want to hesitate. To consider. I want to acknowledge that yes and no are the sides of the same coin and that choosing one also chooses the other. Saying yes to some things, means you said no to others. And that “no” isn’t a bad word when it means you are true to your path.