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Life is about the journey, not the destination. If you believe this deeply, in the marrow of your spirit, you will treasure each day and take ownership of your time. This means that every day should hold moments of joy and hope for you; your job is to figure out how to usher such moments into your life on a daily basis.

For me, this means writing in my journal as a gentle way to enter the day. I go into my study, cup of tea in hand, pick up pencil and notebook. Usually, both have been selected with care. Each has been specifically chosen for this ritual and must invite me by their beauty: the colorful design on the cover of the journal, the feel of the pages themselves, the fit of the pen in my hand and the steady flow of ink onto the paper. I often light scented candles to help me focus; I love the flicker of the flame. Music sets the mood and I typically prefer instrumental pieces–words can distract me from hearing the soft whispers of my deepest self.

After I’ve written for about a half-hour, I eat a nourishing breakfast, usually cottage cheese, which I love, or fiber-rich cereal. If I take good care of my body, I am more likely to be able to experience those rich moments of joy I seek. Next, I walk in the early morning air, unless the weather is too hot. In that case, I save my walks for evening, when the stars peep out and the moon lights the way.

If I can accomplish these simple tasks each day, my life begins to find its rhythm and feels comfortable and natural. I begin to take note of nature’s gifts: the autumnal sky, deeper blue that at other times and often filled with enormous clouds (I try to see what shapes I can find, just like I did when I was a child); the first buds of spring and the slow greening of the trees; the soft quiet of winter, the snow muffling everything. These are treasures I can pile up and once I have them, can recall them at my leisure, Wordsworth’s ‘reflections in tranquility.’

We do not live our lives alone. Making time for family and friends is important in finding the balance between service to self and service to others. Both are necessary for a full and satisfying life. So, take time for lunch with pals, movies with your spouse and fun with children and grandchildren. Make and keep your connections vibrant.

As we all lead busy and crowded lives, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of nourishing our minds and spirits. Take a class, take a chance! Feed your spirit and joy will follow. Treasure each day!

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Anne Clinard Barnhill is a writer, seeker, explorer, teacher, wife, mother and grandmother. Her novels include At The Mercy of the Queen and Queen Elizabeth's Daughter, released in 2014 from St. Martin's Press. Previous books include a memoir, At Home in the Land of Oz: Autism, My Sister and Me (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007), a short story collection, What You Long For (Main Street Rag, 2009), and a poetry chapbook, COAL, BABY (Finishing Line Press).

Ms. Barnhill has taught both high school and college, as well as classes for adults. She currently teaches writing workshops and creativity workshops about freeing the artist within. She holds an M.F.A in Creative Writing from UNC-Wilmington and loves to play piano, sing and dance.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. This is a amazing inspirational inspire. I sort a lost sight of that. I used to enjoy each day, and new what was important in my life. I got a heath problem, and got self centered. It sounds like I was what I thought was important. I’m m not. I got remedy for my heath problem, and realized I missed my family and friends. Thank you for inspiring me to know what is important in my life.

  2. Dear Patrick, I’m so sorry to hear about your health problems. And I hope you can find a way to deal with them and remember to treasure something about each day. Wishing you the best!

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