Friday, July 21, 2017

Beginner's Guide to Joyful Living -- Day 21

Joy has its own music, a spiritual hymn with movement and melodies, the notes playing through our days. And it can be muted by the sheer busyness of living. Without realizing it, we can become tone deaf to positive feelings. Negative emotions are so loud, they muffle the lovely background music. All we hear is grinding heavy metal from high expectations, over-committing, too much social media, saying "yes" more often than we say "no."


Well, no one ever said we can keep the pretty music playing. Even in music, pitches can be in unison (consonance) or in disagreement (dissonance).

Fiction writers are advised to show a character's primary emotions, not to gloss over them with cop-outs, like "She was afraid." No, the visceral reaction must be put onto the page--a thrumming pulse, tight stomach muscles, hairs lifting on the character's arms. The author learns the language of the human heart, becoming adept at taking the temperature of a scene. Along with the character, the writer feels anger, grief, happiness, love, fear, excitement. And hopefully these emotions are translated to the page so the reader can feel the character's inner music.

To access your own joyful music, take the temperature of your feelings. Sometimes a day's music can be calm, even humdrum, but the song can change in a heartbeat, from a soft ballad to jangling rock music.

And just like that, we're out of kilter. The problem can be itty bitty or monumental. A traffic jam. A missed appointment. Scorched biscuits. A sudden illness. 

Identifying a feeling will help us find the soothing soundtrack.

This is my one and only life. 
Today, I will hear the music playing, good and jangly, so I won't miss a thing.

The 31-Day Challenge

6 comments:

  1. Funny how you can feel so joyful one moment and it can come to a screeching halt, instantly. I have been relishing over the feeling of a relaxed vacation in a sunny place, only to read of another's angst while waiting on results from skin cancer screenings. Screeeccch. A small example, but consistent with your topic today.
    Then, I turn to read your entry today, see that photo of the wooden table, Windsor chair, brown transferware with gorgeous floral arrangement, and I am immediately transported into a sense of calm and comfort. Again, small, but poignant.
    Acknowledging how we feel and choosing our mood and actions is important. It may mean soldiering through hard stuff just to get through, it may mean relishing in a happy time and reliving it all, it may mean screaming or crying things out. The point is to feel. I hope I never become numb and cannot feel the emotions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Rita. I have known people who are so out of touch with feelings. But it is hard work to dig beneath the surface. In a way it's like cleaning a refrigerator-- so unpleasant, and I always seem to make an even bigger mess while I excavate.

      Delete
  2. This post is incredibly timed for me...yesterday I had the whole day to myself alone, a rare occurrence, and I noticed I did go through a range of emotions, and spent a lot of time wondering how I could be so content one minute and then the mood would suddenly swing...interesting to think about and figure out the reason...so I will be spending more time on that in the coming days. Fascinating insight to the thought process of an author~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I myself have a tendency to see the drama, and in the last month I've been making an effort to turn potential negatives on their ear.

      Delete
  3. Negative music can really blast out the peaceful, positive music in our lives, Michael Lee. I wish I could cover my ears (mind) to the loud tune that is always present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took a meditation class, and the instructor said we can't really control thoughts (unhelpful ones), but we should acknowledge them and let them move through us. Repeating a power word, affirmation, or prayer is a good way to regain focus.

      Delete