Cover photo: a spectacular sunset it was my pleasure to see in Rocklin, CA.
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about the book 7 ways to think and feel better
For twenty-one months, I bicycled around Palm Springs, California. It was an amazing, wondrous, and difficult time. When I say bicycled around, I mean bicycled around: my bike was my means of transportation. For those of you not familiar, Palm Springs is a small town in the desert. It gets really hot in the summer and has an average of only five inches of rain (12.7cm) a year. I had a discontinuous series of odd jobs, jobs which, when combined with the generosity of friends, kept me mostly afloat. There were times of not having much money and little to eat (lemon juice and molasses kept me going for a day or two one time); times when I was not sure where I was going to sleep that night; and a few times when I had nowhere to go and slept on the streets. Fortunately, the number of those nights was few. I could have, gotten a usual, perhaps even a steady job if I had wanted to. Tried harder. But then again could I have? I did not let myself. Would not let myself. My spirit would not let go down the same path I had time and again before. I had decided a year before movin to Palm Springs to this time try something new. I decided to go after, find meaning, my meaning, Life. I was sure life had to be more, offer more, than just marking off time. I searched for, and, to a good extent, eventually found, my meaning in life. Not the one and only meaning of Life but my meaning. My purpose.
Prominent in that purpose was/ is the desire to feel better. To feel, as my usual state of being, good. I did not need to/ do not need to be eternally happy, always high on life. But I would like to be mostly happy. Mostly feeling good. I think: why not? Why not, if possible, feel good? I had but a few belongings and usually not much cash. I could not buy myself into feeling better by shopping, or going to the movies often, or eating when and what I wanted. What I did have, however, was my mind. My mind, and what I actively choose to think about. I could and did decide how I was going to think about things. About my life, others, and Life.
About a year into this odyssey, I had breakfast at a fast food restaurant with a new friend. This person was going through a difficult time. Had been for quite some time. Their worries were great. But between the two of us, though I was ostensibly in the far worse position, I was, in fact, in the much better mental space. I was not always cheerful, my life was not particularly safe or easy, but I was in good spirits overall. The more we talked the more amazed the person became. It got to the point that this person said they wished they could have my mind; that is, to think as I did.
The comment stayed with me. Exactly how did I come to such a mostly-stable state? A state where I was, in general, feeling good? From the exterior, my situation was dire. Catastrophic. I saw clearly then that we are more than our exterior. We can experience the more that we are If we allow ourselves to.
That is the genesis of this book. I wrote the first version over a two week period a couple of weeks after that breakfast. It introduces the reader to ways to think, and suggests things to think about, and, in the so doing, feel better. In the so doing make life better.