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Searching for the Marvelous

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension.
But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.” — Anais Nin

“The secret of a full life is to live and and be open to others as if tomorrow they might not be there as if you might not be there. This eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of putting things off, the missed communions.” — Anais Nin

I’m often accused of talking to everyone—this is often true—for in each of us there’s a story worth discovering. Every now and then you discover magic, sparked by interest. These are the high moments I believe Anais Nin was seeking as well. She seemed a woman I’d have loved to have met. Forget for a moment her fame for writing erotica, she just seemed so damned interesting. We must each find the fascinating things about living and bring it to the world. When you meet someone equally compelled to discover, the space between us erupts in wonder. You don’t have to take your clothes off for that to happen.

There are moments when I feel the infinite meaning, when I feel the marvelous. You sense these things all around you when you’re attuned to discovery. It might be something as exhilarating as travel or as commonplace as gardening: I’ve found it in waterfalls deep in the forest and in the crashing surf seen from high on a cliffside trail in western Portugal. These are to be expected, and the compelling reason why we seek out such places. But I’ve also found it hiding in plain sight in my backyard garden, in the scent of tomato vines on a hot summer day. It’s all around you when you look for it.

The trick is to be open to experiences. Find possibility in the circumstance we’ve stumbled into. These occasions are fleeting at best, and gone in an instant. To be fully alive is to tune in to everything around us and savor its sweetness in its season. For this is also our season, and we may never pass this way again. Carpe diem. Let’s not waste another moment.

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