The Very Stuff of Life
On Finding Joy
Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is. —Saul Bellow
Only to live, to live and live! Life, whatever it may be! —Fyodor Dostoevsky
Above: Fundamental meaning may be—no, must be—found on the margins.
Joy is a dynamic enterprise.
Much like a rambunctious puppy, it flits this way and that; a moving target that all yearn to hit. Both fleet of foot and fickle as water, it is hard to catch and harder still to hold onto.
Despite joy’s wayward ways, not all of our accompanying motion represents progress. In my experience, catching up to, cornering, or capturing it is no more than a fool’s errand.
Instead—ironically—I have found that when you stop looking for joy, it has a remarkable way of finding you. No matter status or state of mind, just as water finds its level, so too does joy the patient man.
The truism Wherever you go, there you are comes to mind, however I submit that Wherever you are, there goes joy rings a bit more true.
The best of life—that which sparks intense, searing joy—happens right where you are.
Often confused as marginal, the banal, interstitial moments are really all we are guaranteed. They constitute the grout which holds together the experiential bricks that make up our lives.
When seen as bedrock, they become beautiful.
When they become beautiful, joy quickly follows.
Wherever you are, there goes joy.
Know it and live it. After all, here is just there without the t.
The Very Stuff of Life
The Very Stuff of Life is—
The deep inhale and slow exhale.
Standing up and sitting down.
Hard work and remedial rest.
Infectious laughter and tranquil reverence.
Dew on grass and snow atop dirt.
Frost of winter and musk of spring.
Life lived well and death beaten back.
What rests behind and what comes ahead.
—the here and now.
Per my about page, White Noise is a work of experimentation. I view it as a sort of thinking aloud, a stress testing of my nascent ideas. Through it, I hope to sharpen my opinions against the whetstone of other people’s feedback, commentary, and input.
If you want to discuss any of the ideas or musings mentioned above or have any books, papers, or links that you think would be interesting to share on a future edition of White Noise, please reach out to me by replying to this email or following me on Twitter.
With sincere gratitude,