The Joy of Living

As I was driving on such a beautiful, sunny day along the ocean on Pacific Coast Highway to Laguna Beach, there were a lot of thoughts unrolling in my mind.

Like saying a prayer, it was as though I was talking to myself — arguing, praising, preaching, all at the same time.

There is so much nagging and complaining, fear and fright, and negativity going on all around the world these days, even though the actual fact is that we are going to survive it all. As for me, I just refuse to believe that the glass is half empty. I’m just grateful for all I am and all I have. I will continue to be grateful and present in the here and in the now.

I would try not to be a complainer. So many times, I see people who just enjoy to complain. They are not even looking for an answer or a solution. At times, it seems like they love hearing themselves complain. These individuals have probably even identified with their problems, and by talking about it, they just feed their problems further and make them even larger than they already are. They play at being a victim, always making someone else wrong in order for them to be right.

I should promise myself right here and now to always try to let go of the old, expired, negative issues in my life, replacing them with new hopes and positive plans. I should try to think that everything in the end works for the best, even if at times it does not seem so. I promise myself to try to find good in everything and in everyone; to forgive myself and others for not being perfect; to not expect too much from my fate, the universe, and people. Once I am given something, consider it as a great gift to me, and try to have joy at all times and not allow things or people to frazzle and confuse me.

Soon, I was approaching my house, and then I was stepping into my home, where everything — the walls , the floor, and the celling — is white. It was midday. I was being embraced, caressed, wrapped, attacked by, whispered to, and screamed at by all the colors of all my paintings hanging on the walls. Colors are very important to me as they absolutely determine my moods.

I then stood in the middle of my living room, where the windows allow all of the sun to crawl in and make itself comfortable. In here, the sun wakes in the early morning and slowly walks out of the door by tip-toe come mid-afternoon. From the large widow of my living room, I can see the whole ocean — its waves, which are so emotional, so moody, and so temperamental. When you live with the ocean and see it every day, you learn to love it no matter what kind of mood it is in. The ocean is beautiful at any hour of the day, like a woman who is beautiful at any stage of her life.

I felt so exhausted, driving, thinking, and going through the dos and don’ts, and setting all these rules for my life. I sat on my favorite sofa, took off my shoes, and put my feet on the coffee table. I picked up the book of poetry by Emily Dickinson and read from my favorite page, line by line, slowly and patiently, like I was sipping on my favorite drink. Now my mind was uncluttered, quiet, and I absolutely felt like a very serene eighteenth century woman. I love these special moments of joy and peace deep in the bottom of my heart. Oh, how I wish you were all here with me.

From Ploughshares at Emerson College
Emily Dickinson
Of all the women in the world and all the places in the world,
I saw Emily Dickinson today in the locker-room of my gym!
At first I could not believe it —
I was not even sure if she was dead or alive.
Her skin was pale her lips were thin
And she had some of the largest hips I had ever seen.
Having a white towel wrapped around her,
Standing on the scale,
Probably thinking of her new diet.
Passing by me in a hurry she stepped on my toe.
She did not even notice.
She did not even look at me,
She did not even apologize!
I said “Ouch!” and made a frown
And murmured behind her,
“You mad, clumsy, big-hipped
18th century poet!”
— Mahvash Mossaed
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