The Joyful Mind

The joyful mind occupies my mind. In my case, it seems to occur when I least expect it. Something happens, I feel immense joy, and the feeling creates a joyful mind. The state lasts for a few minutes or even a full hour.

I suppose one can pay for a joyful mind, but that seems unlikely for me. Cultivation of a joyful mind, however, is possible. I believe I can cultivate a joyful mind or at least try to initiate one. Going to the beach is such a method of initiation for me.

The other morning, I saw a squirrel on the South Jetty and I was astonished at how much joy quickly reverberated through me. The joyful mind built up to skyscraper heights in a second.

After the squirrel vanished into the rocks, I sat down on the sand and listed everything I could think of that creates a joyful mind within me.

Here it is:

Writing this list of joy.

A good walk with my friend Joe and listening to him discuss the various potions he invents to heal himself and others (myself included).

Discovering an old and out-of-print book that delights me and informs my thinking and writing. The latest discovery: West Coast Shells, first published in 1877.

Building a driftwood fort.

Rescuing forlorn paper from thrift stores.

Building a driftwood sculpture and decorating with beach treasures (pictured here).

Walking with Bonnie and Clyde.

Distributing my books in street libraries and returning to find them gone.

Hearing Russian spoken in nature.

Sipping Calvados with my two best friends.

Teaching writing workshops.

Reading names and equations of love carved into the walls of beachfront cliffs.

Documenting Oregon Tavern Age life.

Encountering anything related to elk, including scat.

Finding Virgin Corduroy Garments (good band name!)

Inventing absurd band names.

Hearing that someone has renounced social media.

Finding keyhole limpets.

Watching deer in my back yard.

Watching deer eat my tomatoes.

Making soup on a rainy day.

Eating breakfast with gulls.

Writing hand-written letters.

Receiving hand-written letters.

Seeing someone change her mind.

Meeting someone with a curious mind.

Reuniting with someone who was once a major part of my life.

Watching men fish for surf perch.

Meeting new people who care about the world.

Generating a new idea to save me from marginalization and financial ruin. (I got one today while watching the squirrel.)

Seeing someone dance on the beach to “LA Woman” by the Doors.

Writing a love story that was pure truth.

Meeting someone who hasn’t written me off.

Hearing from a former student that I taught them something valuable.

Watching Youngs Bay.

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