Man the last couple months have felt like I've been "running the gauntlet," as it were. A major family health problem needing daily assistance, the annual extended family holiday chill, the Christmas blues, and seasonal winter dips in serotonin levels.
Its been enough to tempt me to scarf down an XL New York style pizza. That or stock up on more Kentucky Delux whiskey or pipe tobacco for my new corn cob pipe.
But despite these occasional, descending dips in life's Valley of Tears, I can still maintain enough mental alertness and energy to attend to my daily duties of state, well most of the time anyway. That is, with the help of God's grace and a few daily pleasures, the "Jam on my Bread," as it was called my by Irish ancestors. Here are a few that come to mind.
"The Jam on My Bread"
1. A good long walk. Next to the sacraments, I can think of no better activity for nurturing the soul. The longer and more adventurous the better. A traditional daily recreation for the monastic, the contemplative journey of a long walk does something for the mind, helping it meditate and sustain equilibrium.
2. My little dog. Truth be told, often more loyal than any woman, friend, family member, or priest. That little canine would lay down in traffic for me. She'll be immersed in chewing on a bone over on the couch and I'll whisper "Hey." It takes a moment for her to process what she heard and perk up and look over at me. I'll just signal her with a silent, knowing smile, and in a heartbeat she's skipped across the room onto my lap to lean against me, and lay her head against my shoulder. "A man's best friend."
Except my dog is about 1/10th the size.
3. Savory meals. Readers may remember I eat low carb, so an example of a tasty evening meal is chicken wings fried in coconut oil, drenched in homemade butter-based Buffalo sauce, ranch, celery sticks, and a Caesar salad. Plus a tall, cold glass of diet Mt. Dew.
4. Alcoholic Spirits. I don't drink a lot, but I allow myself modest quantities once or twice a week. The cheap stuff, but there's nothing like the first minute or two after sipping on a whiskey chilled over one cube of ice. Muscles relax, the tension subsides, and the respiratory rate slows. Thoughts drift from daily-to-do lists and philosophical conundrums to happy-happy thoughts about the last movie I enjoyed, the memory foam pillow Santa brought me for Christmas, or my next savory meal.
5. Smoking my Pipe. It is a singularly comforting experience to hold in your hand a warm pipe filled with tobacco, and to slowly draw from its medicinal properties. A couple bowls will usually do the trick.
6. Blogging. If you have any inkling for writing, and need to get out your thoughts and emotions, then try Blogger.com to start a blog on any subject you like, that you would enjoy talking about. Let your inner, creative voice come out. In time you'll carve out a unique niche of readers. For me it has been cathartic. A daily bit of jam on my bread.
7. My new memory foam pillow. Folks, you know when you discover something new in your life that suddenly cures a chronic ill, you say to yourself "Now why didn't I try this before?" That light bulb moment came to me on the first night of Christmas. I think I have a typical problem with pillows that require some adjustment and readjustment through the night, which disrupts your sleep and affects your health. No more. This special pillow is a heavenly God send.