Morning Chill

I’ve recently taken up the practice of journaling every morning. Inspired, perhaps, by my concurrent readings of the journals of Anaïs Nin and Abraham Maslow, two incredibly insightful, creative, and remarkably self-aware influences on my own self-development. It is for that reason that I decided to play around with the form of this post and present the following chain of ideas in journal entry format, much as I wrote them originally. A good bit of this post, in fact, remains unedited.



I awoke this morning feeling heavy. The gray of the morning, the haze, humidity clinging stubbornly to the window panes. Thinking that, within an hour or so, I’d be running in it (Dew point is tropical and even more unbearable if the sun shines.). I’m revivifying with Chill Tracks on Spotify. I spent time last night thinking about goals. I wish I weren’t prone to fantasizing, daydreaming, and getting lost in the little ecstasies of creation. These things can’t take the place of goals. I am not great at setting clear, specific, achievable goals. Sometimes, I do, and it works. Under some circumstances. But, that’s not my main motivation. I am more motivated by feeling. By who and what I envision myself to be. And to be working toward. Goals are secondary. Part of a whole. Themselves often a feeling. I almost wish I didn’t think that way. It would be easier if I went after goals like dangling carrots. I wonder if other women are that way, creatives, people with similar personalities.

I constantly need to align myself with my feelings. Every day a different shade. A different act. Not in a moody, volatile sort of way. But, the aesthetics of self. Sexy, soft, fiery, loving, inviting, strong. Always seeking beauty, depth, and wisdom. I get impatient and rebellious because of the way the world is. One-dimensional and distracted. Maybe Maslow was right about there being a distinctly feminine kind of creativity, centered on process rather than outcome. Reading his journal is such a pleasure. I am immersed. A real sense of the man. There’s no artificiality. Earnest. Cursing and shit-talking. He doesn’t hide his mess. That’s the power of keeping a journal. A place to sort out the mess.

Back to goals and feeling. Maybe I need to feel my goals. Can’t be linear and intellectual. I have to make it part of the woman I want to be. She comes first. Maybe I should write more about this. Goals. Moving toward them in a way that is in sync with your nature. Having interim goals while working toward the longer term. I can articulate my mid-term goals with some clarity. My longer term goals I can articulate with far less exactitude. And, that’s okay—I dare say, even preferable, at this moment. I always need to keep a sense of wonder, possibility, excitement over what might be in store. It’s part of the thrill of living. Like travel. I am in the mood to pack a bag and go, if only for a weekend. It’s the novelty. The physicality. The aesthetics of place. Smells and tastes and sights. Adventure is a terrific means of invigorating oneself.

Maybe I need to go back to the femininity experiment. Not to delve into myself more (I’m kind of over that.), but to remind myself of the image that emerged. The point of the whole exercise, at the end of it: a snapshot of the woman I am/am becoming/desire to be in the most profound sense. The larger whole. That’s what I remind myself of whenever I feel anxious or defeated. The whole image. Goals are a fraction. That’s how I realign and refocus. What Maslow calls B-values, or Being-values–beauty, truth, wisdom, etc. That image represents them, helps me move toward them.

Serenity. Reading Maslow. I wonder if “self-actualizing” manifests in real life as periodic shifts in perspective, or cognition, or, if at some point, those shifts become more permanent. And then you always have an amused smile on your face and become like Jesus or Buddha or otherwise uncommonly serene. I never want to be too detached. Researching secular humanism again. I don’t like that they have manifestos. Too organized. I’d rather do my own thing and be guided by what feels right. Take bits of decisive action everyday. Little gratitudes. I feel stifled by highly organized things. Movements, politics, institutions, “groupiness,” etc. But, I like people. And, I like to join with them more individually than that.

8 responses to “Morning Chill”

  1. I love the sentences, “Every day a different shade. A different act.”

    I certainly do understand your thoughts on having difficulty “setting clear, specific, achievable goals.” Looking back at my own life, I realize that I have usually felt much the same. I would often tell people, “I don’t really have goals in life, just ideas.” That never seemed to sit well with most people, and I often wondered if there was something wrong with me, and that maybe I should try harder to have actual goals.

    Now, I am becoming more and more comfortable with exploring and being who I really am. Being. By just accepting the act of being, I am ready at a moment’s notice to switch things up and change my shade – find a new act.

    Sometimes specific goals get in the way of living life each day – eyes focused on the finish line may cause someone to miss the entire race.

    Living a life filled with new experiences and adventures is, for me, far more important than having a “safe” lifestyle reached through a specific goal. Experiences over “owning” material goods any day. Better to feel each and every new experience, than to get to the end, sitting on a bunch of crap you can’t take with you.

    I won’t say that I never have goals. All I have had in my life became a goal at some point, but it didn’t become a goal until I had almost reached it anyway – after it extracted itself from one of my many, many ideas.

    Whoa! Another lengthy reply on my part! Whoops. Another great post, TheUsedLife! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Tim! I know what you mean about experiences/adventures/being and expanding oneself being primary aims. I feel similarly, compelled by a lust for experience; yet, I also feel I must use my abilities, or make better use of them. I want to fulfill whatever potential I may have. Having unused, or underutilized, capabilities, to me, feels like a kind of slow death. And one (unfortunately) needs goals for that kind of striving.

      I wish it weren’t so, though. I sometimes think there might be a better, more functional way of setting goals and achieving them for those of us who seem to be otherwise motivated. I like what you say about ideas becoming goals later in the process. There is, methinks, some wisdom in that. 😊 Thank you for the thoughtful and lengthy reply, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I certainly get that, too – using your capabilities to achieve your own goals. I guess I feel I have the opportunity in life now to explore my own capabilities, to see where they may lead, without having to be used in the machine to achieve others’ goals. ? Not exactly sure what I mean by this, but…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get what you’re saying. In a way, that’s what I’m doing here on this blog—exploring my talents/abilities/inclinations to see where they lead.

      To be clear, though, when I talk about “goals,” I mean my own, not others’ expectations. I feel as though I need to be working toward something. It is true that following one’s passions is sometimes enough. But, from a more functional perspective (e.g., if I want to make money doing something in line with my talents versus settling for a job that’s “just a job”), I need to set goals to take myself where I’d like to be. The hard part is, it seems, finding out where that is. But, not everything comes to us quickly…


  3. The moment I read the word journaling in your opening sentence, I felt part of what you were writing. Journaling has been an essential part of how I’ve developed as a writer and as a human being. In fact, several years ago I had a moment of insight in which I knew that journaling was at the heart of the process that is my writing. I probably spent more than a year writing everything I wrote in the form of journal entries, and perhaps in an unconscious way I continue to do so. I love your sentence that you must feel your goals. That is definitely how I experience my relationship to goals. And I completely relate to glimpsing or focusing on the larger whole. For me that happens in moments, which is probably why I have used the word glimpsing. I have enjoyed this post, as I do all of your posts, very much.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much! Part of the reason I decided to journal was to increase my creative output, especially here. It’s encouraging to know that you’ve had success with this practice. I look forward to seeing where it leads. Thank you, as always, for the wonderful feedback!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The sentence “Maybe Maslow was right about there being a distinctly feminine kind of creativity, centered on process rather than outcome,” struck me. Although “feminine” isn’t always implicit with “woman” the concept of creativity for the sake of process rather than outcomes is interesting. To that end, I’ve always found journaling very difficult because it is about process and not outcome: it’s about doing something for oneself rather than doing something for the goal of sharing. In that sense, I might embody a very “masculine” creativity even though I am female. Perhaps, I need some perspective on the purpose of journaling as a process rather than looking for a goal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is an interesting and helpful way to look at journaling—as an immersion in process. It is unfortunate that Maslow doesn’t seem on have written much on “masculine” vs “feminine” forms of creativity, though I find it a fascinating line of inquiry. There is something about the creative process, in all spheres of life, that I find particularly enchanting. But, I’d be lying if I said I never fixated on outcome. Journaling, I find, is particularly and innately fulfilling in the moment. Thank you for the thoughtful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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