It is sometimes easy to forget how much influence I have over my own state of mind. Undoubtedly it is because if my mind is unhappy, it is my mind that is telling me that I am unhappy. If I were to become happy, my mind would be wrong and I’d have to question my own powers of observation. As it is possible to enter into a self-hypnotic paralysis until one tells one’s self the instruction to move, so too is it possible to accidentally enter into such a state.The most dangerous thing then is that things not get worse. It’s easier to bounce off the bottom than it is to stop from sinking. Or perhaps a better metaphor would be the comparative danger of heavy winds versus doldrums.
I went for my walk today because I had a difficult day. I’ve had a difficult week and truthfully a difficult month, but today my plans fell through and though the day started productive, by the early evening I had an uncomfortable combination of agitation over the work I have left to do and a weariness that made me feel as though I could do nothing but take a nap. I even laid down but did not sleep or find it in any way restful.
I thought about going for a run, but I felt too tired. Eventually I decided that a walk of moderate length would help. It was more likely that I could clear my head and catch a second wind than lie there staring at the ceiling until I felt better enough to get back to work. The Sun hung low in the sky so a walk on the beach as the Sun set seemed opportune.
It didn’t happen all at once, but there is an effect of putting one foot in front of the other again and again. I walked on the beach rather than the paved path so walking took more attention than normal to keep moving and upright. It may not be obvious that just the act of walking can sneakily siphon enough mental attention that troubles are slowly edged out, but over time it has a very real effect.
The sunset was a good one. The hues were rich and the Sun appeared to land almost directly on the Transamerica pyramid from where I was standing. I found an empty bench with a good view at Crown Beach and as I sat down I noticed that the bench bore a plaque that read:
> We used to be young and beautiful. Now we are beautiful.
…which I found to be a lovely sentiment. Ain’t none of us getting any younger.
I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way back to get myself some dinner to bring home and as I was browsing the aisles shuffle play happened across [*Noor (The light in my eyes)* by Azam Ali](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=7dA09vV2Adk&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Falbum%252Fnoor-the-light-in-my-eyes%252Fid430044405%253Fi%253D430044407%2526uo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30). Of course Ms Ali’s voice is amazing but for some reason in that moment it brought me from the already-achieved relief to a peaceful awe not unlike a religious experience.
Now I’ve eaten my dinner (a spinach salad) and it is getting late. I still have some work left to do but it might wait until the morning. Right now though I could get some rest if I turned in, or I could accomplish something if I sit down to work. (It is not lost on me that sitting down to write 600-plus words about my evening walk is actually accomplishing *something* — but it’s not the sort of something that will pay my rent.) Either way I’ll probably have more done and better rest by noon tomorrow than I would have if I’d stayed in the apartment and tried vainly to either rest or work. In the face of the choice between two paths that won’t work, a third path must be blazed.
Any of this I could have told you a few hours ago. But sometimes I need practical proof that these things *are* true, and not just things that I talk about being true.
7dA09vV2Adk&offerid=146261&type=3&subid=0&tmpid=1826&RD_PARM1=https%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Falbum%252Ffrom-night-to-the-edge-of-day%252Fid430044405%253Fuo%253D4%2526partnerId%253D30)[From Night to the Edge of Day — Azam Ali](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/stat?id=