“Seeking joy has been an active practice, because joy doesn’t come easily for me. I’m prone to long periods of fog, as you’ve called it, and if I don’t seek (and make) light, I would stay in it even longer, would possibly never emerge. I swear by keeping routines, which includes taking care of my body—eating enough, sleeping and waking at regular times, getting fresh air, that sort of thing. I also put limits on things that smother my joy; for me, this is primarily the internet, which provides endless messaging that I am not doing enough, am not good enough, and just generally steals my attention and energy, which I would prefer to use on things which nourish me. I believe in the power of creating small joys, instead of waiting for a big one to arrive miraculously in your life. I made a list of these joys so I can refer to it when I’m deeper in the fog, like a menu to order from. 100 joys. They’re simple, but effective—things like bubble baths, calling a friend, dancing, buying flowers, eating dark chocolate, a cup of tea. Some months, I have to challenge myself to meet a quota, when I’m feeling very down. It helps. Little step after little step. Little light after little light.”
— Leila Chatti, from an interview with Sneha Subramanian Kanta in Parentheses Journal, Issue 10
Ursula K. Le Guin said that we don't just naturally know how to create our destinies. It takes research and hard work. "All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them," she wrote. "We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people."
Love has something to do with the notion of being seen — the opposite of invisibility. The invisible, the unwitnessed, the unacknowledged, the isolated, the lonely — these are the unloved. Loving attention illuminates the unseen, escorting them from the frontiers of lovelessness into the observed world. To truly see someone — anyone — is an act that acknowledges and forgives our common and imperfect humanity. Love enacts a kind of vigilant perception — whether it is to a partner, a child, a co-worker, a neighbour, a fellow citizen, or any other person one may encounter in this life. Love says softly — I see you. I recognise you. You are human, as am I.
— Nick Cave, The Red Hand Files Issue #103
If the human condition is viewed as a joke – something ludicrous, and necessarily marred by imperfection – then it makes sense to stop trying to treat it like a puzzle with some sort of clever solution. Perhaps it would instead be more appropriate simply to linger in the presence of that incongruous gap between the way the world actually is and the way we wish it to be, staring into the abyss with fearless amusement. In so doing, nihilists might extract pleasure from a situation that would otherwise only bring frustration and pain.
So why not laugh? After all, if it is true that nothing really matters, then the fact that nothing really matters doesn’t really matter either, does it?
— John Marmysz, ‘In Defense of Humorous Nihilism’
When a Constructive Lens is in your hands, the world you live in starts to look like something that is ready to be re-seen and re-made. - Jay Silver
“Perhaps it’s inevitable, perhaps one has to choose between being nothing at all and impersonating what one is.”
∆ Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
| Mary Oliver
You tasted it. Isn’t that enough? Of what do you ever get more than a taste? That’s all we’re given in life, that’s all we’re given of life. A taste. There is no more.
— Philip Roth