Simple Pleasures

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Find a quite place and enjoy this guest commentary from Paducah’s Dr. William Renzulli, author, artist, and friend of Paducah Life.


More than at any other time in my life I have almost complete control over how I choose to spend the hours in each day. What an enormous privilege this is, and like most privileges, it brings with it a certain amount of responsibility, especially if one is still under the influence of the puritan work ethic, one of America’s more questionable cultural heritages. But this is not the time to editorialize about that; the fact is I do feel an obligation to use my time wisely, even as I remain appreciative of the opportunity to do so. Tomorrows tend to grow more precious with each passing year, reinforcing the importance of the day at hand.


However, using time wisely means more that using it productively, if one measures productivity by some form of material output. I enjoy being productive with my art and my writing, but I also enjoy the “non-productive” time, when I can indulge in what has become one of the simple pleasures in my life.


Solitude, quiet moments when the world around us becomes silent and still, is a gift for our soul. Sadly, in today’s lifestyle these moments are hard to come by; we are exposed to a constant stream of sensory input, auditory and visual, which, if unchecked, eventually becomes noise. There is so much we can learn from ourselves if we allow it to happen, if we make the time for these islands of solitude in an otherwise busy day, if we learn to listen to the silence and pay attention to what it may be saying to us.


For years I have made time every morning (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes) to spend alone with my journal. Rilke once referred to the sound between 2 notes; this time for me has become the pause between yesterday and today, and when circumstances deny me that time I feel like I have lost something that cannot be retrieved.


Quiet time with my journal is one of my most precious simple pleasures.

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