May 06, 2009

Research Headache, Cancelled Meeting, Double Saber

Do you know the blog Three Beautiful Things? It’s run by an Englishwoman named Clare Grant, and the idea is simple: every day, she describes three beautiful things she experiences. The idea itself is a beautiful thing, and, inspired by the original, a whole community of three-beautiful-things sites has arisen, people from dozens of nations visiting each other to swap beauty, preserving tiny moments that wouldn’t otherwise have been recorded.

I wish I’d thought of it first. Then I’d never lack for something to blog about. Hey, wait! Do I have to be the first one to have thought of something before I can try it? It would be beautiful if I learned that that isn’t true. So here are three beautiful things I experienced yesterday:

I did so much research for an educational writing project that I got a headache.

I was looking forward to attending a get-together for some people in Austin who do The Work of Byron Katie, but it got canceled because I was the only one planning to show up.

I felt out of my depth learning a double saber form in tai chi, thinking, “I’ll never get this, everyone else can do it better than me,” as I twirled two sabers over my head and around my body in a room with ten other people struggling with the same moves, blades barely missing blades and bodies.

Oh, you don’t think those things are beautiful? I’m certain that if I happen to remember them on my deathbed, I’ll smile at the memories. People work hard and get headaches; they plan and the plans fall through; they try to learn and it can take a long time. We are that beautiful.

The saber moves I can’t do now will become easy habits. I’ll do the freelance project competently and get paid for it. And without going to the get-together last night, I spent two happy hours doing The Work on the phone with one of the group.

You can watch your baby’s head emerge from the womb into its first light; you can sell a novel; you can watch the sun set from a cliff on the Aegean. You can make a plan that falls through, and give yourself a headache, and learn painfully slow.

I don’t know whether I understand something or I just have a particularly fortunate life.

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