Daily Guide — February 2005

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 1: Emotion

Generally speaking, females are considered to be more emotional, while males tend to face much of life with a rational detachment. That’s not to say that men are unfeeling, only that the well of their emotions may be deeper and that tasting of its water requires greater reach.

In children the emotional differences between male and female are less noticeable. Little boys are apt to cry just as easily as little girls, and for both sexes, a sense of life is wrought with emotions. I recall just recently the tears of disappointment that welled in my second grader’s eyes when she discovered that four minus three wasn’t seven. How sweet is the tender heart.

But such rendering is fitting only for a young child, and maturity signifies a growing and healthy level of emotional checks and balances. Growing up means having the ability to accept that four minus three doesn’t equal seven.

At times I find myself to be what I consider too unemotional. I don’t enjoy that state of mind. Nor do I like the feeling of being emotionally bound and teary-eyed. There’s an important balance that makes me feel complete, a level of control that allows me to see things in the light of rationality but also through the lens of a deeper understanding and attachment.

As a parent, I find that I often call on the strength of rationality, but never do I want to lose sight of the love and the sympathy for my children and their problems. And children, I think, are looking to the adult for the fortitude that they themselves have not yet developed. They want love, sympathy and composure all rolled into one. They want to know that you understand their problems, but they also want to know that everything is going to be okay. Whereas sympathy is the emotional response, composure is the rational one.

Day 1 Guide

This first day of February, the month of love, is a great time to consider your emotions. Think today about the balance of your emotional and rational faculties. For some, the well of emotions may seem to be overflowing, while for others, empty.

I know that it’s easy in some settings, business for example, to overlook the need for the emotional mind. But businesses are made up of individuals, who each have the need to feel purpose and meaning in life. Consider today, the balance of mind (emotional/rational) in all of your roles – as employer, co-worker, parent, and friend.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 2: Memory

The Gate

Beyond the gate

A flower grew

To wrest my soul

And make anew,

Left injured

From a present fear

Of ghosts that settled

Often here.

A soft and tender

Gentle leading,

My captive heart

In love proceeding

Through the gate

To stay me there

Amidst the beauty

— Levi Hill

Day 2 Guide

Today, consider the things that carry your spirit. Memories light the passages to Joyous Gard.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 3: Retrospect

The song Times of your Life was first made popular by Kodak, which bought it from the writers William Lane and Roger Nichols. Originally called Our Town by the Sea, Lane and Nichols rewrote the song for Kodak, which used it as a jingle for what turned out to be one of their most successful ad campaigns. Paul Anka later recorded the song, and it quickly rose to #7 on pop billboard charts. I love the song and its lyrics:

Times of your Life

Good morning, yesterday

You wake up and time has slipped away

And suddenly it’s hard to find

The memories you left behind

Remember, do you remember?

The laughter and the tears

The shadows of misty yesteryears

The good times and the bad you’ve seen

And all the others in between

Remember, do you remember

The times of your life? (do you remember?)

Reach out for the joy and the sorrow

Put them away in your mind

The mem’ries are time that you borrow

To spend when you get to tomorrow

Here comes the saddest part (comes the saddest part)

The seasons are passing one by one

So gather moments while you may

Collect the dreams you dream today

Remember, will you remember

The times of your life?

lt;instrumental interludegt;

Gather moments while you may

Collect the dreams you dream today

Remember, will you remember

The times of your life?

Of your life

Of your life

Do you remember, baby

Do you remember the times of your life?


Do you remember, baby

Do you remember the times of your life?

Day 3 Guide

The mem’ries are time that you borrow

To spend when you get to tomorrow.

Today spend your time as if you are building for tomorrow. Love, laugh and learn.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Days 4-6: Humor

I’ve never been accused of being neat or well organized. And in college I was especially bad about things like keeping my car clean and getting my bills paid on time.

I remember one day driving to the gas company to pay a past due bill; I parked my blue station-wagon out front, and went in with my check book. After settling up with the cashier I walked back to my car, opened the door and was startled to find an old lady sitting behind the steering wheel. I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew that one of us had the wrong car.

Making a few quick observations and confirming that the car was mine, I had to break the news to the lady: “Mam, I think you’re in the wrong car.”

Embarrassed though she must have been, it was without a moment’s hesitation that she said, “You know I thought something was wrong. I don’t have all these empty beer cans on my floor like you do.”

I chuckled as did she, and then I drove out of the parking lot straight to the nearest trash can.

Days 4-6 Guide

I think it was Lilly Tomlin who once said, “Reality is the leading cause of stress.” Sadly enough, that’s probably true.

Life is funny, but only if you let it be. Have fun this weekend. Laugh about life, laugh about yourself.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 7: Visions

In 1998 an issue of the journal Cell was devoted to molecular machines, with articles like “The Cell as a Collection of Protein Machines” and “Mechanical Devices of the Spliceosome: Motors, Clocks, Springs and Things.” Referring to his student days in the 1960’s, Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote that “the chemistry that makes life possible is much more elaborate and sophisticated than anything we students had ever considered.” In fact, Dr. Alberts remarked, the entire cell can be viewed as a factory with an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of a set of large protein machines. He emphasized that the term machine was not some fuzzy analogy; it was meant literally.

–“Design for Living” by Michael Behe, New York Times, Monday, February 07, 2005

It’s easy for me to lose sight of life’s big picture. And it’s especially the case that when my day gets tied in a really big knot, my thoughts of the miracle of life seem so distant, even strange.

But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my mind will not be constantly engaged and in sync with the wonders of this universe. Little things like worry, fear, and even boredom, constantly parade themselves through the passages of my brain and blind my thoughts of greater things. I must at times pause to remind myself that life is truly remarkable and that its complexity speaks plainly of an intelligent design. It seems equally clear to me that design did not end with the original creation and that events themselves are complexly woven. This speaks of an intelligence that is living and active.

But like I said, my mind is too often tied up with the tedium of the day to be held in constant awe of such a great, yet obvious, presence. And while it’s hard sometimes to even believe the obvious, I know that it would take even more effort to convince myself that biological life and the seeming progression of universal events all result from random forces — that there was, or is, no intelligence, only energy. And to think that those forces intersected in such a way as to produce the complex machinery of life, well that’s a real stretch. And I think it is for some scientists as well.

For example, Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, once wrote that biologists must constantly remind themselves that what they see was not designed but evolved. (Imagine a scientist repeating through clenched teeth: “It wasn’t really designed. Not really.”)

— “Design for Living” by Michael Behe, New York Times, Monday, February 07, 2005

I think that I’ll just continue to take the easy road and believe that it was God who created the universe and that infinitely so we live within the greater design of His active plan.

Day 7 Guide

Pause at the start of this week to consider the thought of awesome power. Get your mind on the fact that you are part of God’s active and beautiful power and that this week you are to play an important role in His plan.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 8: Thought

During the summer months one year a friend of mine hiked on the Appalachian Trail by himself. He saw other people only in passing, and so striking up a meaningful conversation was terribly rare. That experience, I imagine, helped him to better understand the human’s psychological need for relationship. Just hearing about his trek helped me to better appreciate my own connections.

The mysterious interrelationships of love and friendship that so bind us as humans urge us also to share our experiences. It is the natural longing and tendency for lovers, friends and family to share a laugh or a hug — to kiss or converse. But it’s so easy to overlook those joyful bonds until sometimes they are sadly broken.

Day 8 Guide

Take extra time today to think about your relationships. Think about those you love and enjoy, and try to savor those important moments of sharing experience.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 9: Accessibility

One of the most creative movies of all time, “The Wizard of Oz,” gave us that unforgettable cast of loveable misfits: the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow without a brain, and the heartless Tin Man. And it was the charming and innocent character of Dorothy, lost in a strange land and looking only for her way home to Kansas, that led them all to fulfill their greatest hopes — but not without first facing the dread of their greatest fears. They were certain that in Oz they would find what they were looking for; they thought that if anyone could help them satisfy their dreams, it must be such a powerful figure as the Wizard.

The intimidating ruler of Oz was most unapproachable. Yet together, the Lion, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Dorothy, along with her little dog, Toto, finally met the Wizard and made their pleas. The story’s value comes to light when even the Wizard, who had billed himself as the “Great and Mighty Oz,” was revealed to be a simple, lowly, insecure man hidden behind a curtain where he pulled levers and pushed buttons to make this “wizard” appear superhuman and untouchable. Surprisingly, it was only after he was thus unmasked that his real powers as a man were released: those of honesty, accessibility and wisdom.

And then, by simply reminding them of what they already had within themselves, this man was able to help the cast of characters led by Dorothy. It was by his simple words of encouragement and symbolic gifts that he gave courage (a medal) to the Lion, thought (a diploma) to the Scarecrow, and compassion (a heart/watch) to the Tin Man. As for Dorothy, the “Good Witch from the East” told her finally that all along she had possessed the power to return home, but that she needed to discover for herself that “there’s no place like home.”

Day 9 Guide

I believe that life itself is the best teacher. Facing difficulties and battling the forces of self-doubt – these are part of life’s lesson plan. And the wisdom is in seeing your own humanity — to be honest with yourself and others and to be available to help others who are lost in fear and doubt.

The Wizard’s greatest fear of being accessible turned out also to be his greatest strength. Don’t hide behind a curtain; reveal your true self.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 10: Sympathy

The world felt new and evergreen,
A pristine Eden place.
I saw the guests as people now,
Each one had a face.

— Lady in White

A friend and I once went to Panama City, FL. It was near the end of summer, and as we discovered when we got there, the trip was ill-timed; the “season,” we learned, had pretty much just ended, and it was like a ghost town down there. But we stayed for a few days anyway and made the best of it.

The amusement park was desolate, but for lack of anything else to do we decided to go one night. We went into a haunted house, and the first door we went through opened up into a room filled with more doors. The object, we quickly realized, was to figure out how to get the hell out of there. But the room was dark and we were alone, and after trying half dozen doors unsuccessfully, we both began to get a bit nervous.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? That two college-age boys would get nervous like that in an amusement park in Florida? But at the time, being trapped in that room was “our world.” And at that moment, it was all we knew.

We finally found the door that would take us out, and immediately the pressure lifted. Everything was okay again, and we both smiled with expressions of relief, “brushed ourselves off,” and acted like nothing had really happened.

Today, I think of how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in my own concerns. And I think it’s probably the general tendency for most people. Don’t you sometimes feel trapped? Often times other people hold the energy that would help you to escape the bindings of short sightedness.

I think that relationship is the key to the door of release, and I believe that God intended for people to help each other — to sympathize with one another and to work with each other, releasing the energy that so liberates the spirit.

Sympathy isn’t about feeling sorry for someone; it’s about connecting and sharing hope with someone. Think about it: just your presence could very well crack that door of liberation for someone. People need windows to get “out of the box;” they need reminders of what is beyond and what is possible.

Day 10 Guide

Today, be a window for someone. Offer a hug, a pat on the back or a smile. Or maybe you’re “in the box” yourself and need a helping hand. Open yourself up to others, being careful not to let anger set up roadblocks to your soul.

I’d be glad to hear from you; send me an email.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Days 11-13: Science

Okay, I’ll admit it: I am a product of the “television generation.” And although I watch almost none of it now, TV was a prominent part of my childhood. Psychologists and other scientists would probably say that I watched it too much and that part of my brain is likely damaged or underdeveloped due to the hypnotic effects of TV’s radiation frequency. But let me simply say this: I watched a helluva lot of TV growing up, and I enjoyed it.

One of my earliest memories is that of sitting in my mother’s lap in front of the TV in our kitchen. I recall the black and white images of an American flag draped over a box, and I remember the tears rolling down Mamma’s sweet face. I was too young to know it then, but an American president (Kennedy) had been assassinated, and it was his funeral that we were watching.

I also remember the one special day that we were allowed to have a television in our school classroom. We watched in amazement as the Apollo rocket was launched into space. And then it seems like only yesterday that the country watched as the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated only minutes after takeoff. Those two events are constant reminders of the risks and rewards of exploration and science.

Television also brought into our living room comedy’s greatest, including Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Flip Wilson, and Carol Burnett. I remember the night of Steve Martin’s debut on Home Box Office (HBO). Oh my! He was funny. His “wild and crazy guy” routine, his banjo and balloon tricks, his “happy feet.” Remember all that?

Through most of my early years and adolescence I enjoyed shows like Gilligan’s Island, Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, and All in the Family. And the variety shows of Ed Sullivan, Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, and Dean Martin – well, they just don’t make ’em like that any more.

I know what you’re thinking: this guy was a childhood television junkie. But I don’t think that’s all bad. The way I see it, meeting all of those wonderful characters over the airwaves marks the trail of my life.

But I suppose too that the “television age” has shocked and challenged me in many ways. It’s hard for me to forget the fearful images of Charles Manson, Jonestown and the Twin Towers. The images of Hitler’s concentration camps, and most recently those of the tsunami in Asia — they all have a tendency to challenge one’s perspective and make one question mankind, nature, and even the very forces of good and evil.

It’s unprecedented — the human mind being delivered such high doses of news and information. And it’s hard to predict the outcome of such an age. But here’s what does seem clear:

We humans will never lose our capacity to love and our desire to live. The forces of hatred have no chance against the power of striving individuals committed to good. And the ability to find beauty even amidst the ruins of battle will overcome any vision of destruction. We humans want to live and be happy, and generally speaking, we seek goodness and joy.

Days 11-13

Teach your children to feel confident about this world and the future they face. Teach them how to seek beauty and how to conquer despair with hope. Teach them that love and friendship have all the power necessary to defeat envy and hate. Move them to feel the undeniable presence of a transcendent and living God.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 14 Work / Love

Only the beginning of what I want to feel forever.

— The band Chicago, Only the Beginning

Love – how many songs, how many poems, how many stories have been written about it? Love, especially romantic love, is so unlike anything else in the universe. And if you’ve ever felt it, those feelings are there inside, waiting and wanting desperately to be replayed. Thankfully, nature itself gives us thousands of cues that take us back to those wonderful and warm feelings of connection and union. The literary and artistic worlds have left us so many beautiful footprints to the soul as well.

Love extends well beyond the bounds of romance to include the sweet feelings of mother/child and friend. And being wrapped in relationship expresses the truly unique and beautiful nature of the human bond. We don’t want to go it alone. We want to share experience and hold each other as we pass over the waters of life. I think that we all want deeply to pass along the beauty and arouse in others those wonderful integrated feelings. And love is that far-reaching and binding force whose language directly touches the soul. The human heart beats quietly underfoot, waiting for you to reawaken those intense feelings.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Nature Boy, E. Ahbez – sung by Nat King Cole and later, Celine Dion

Day 14 Guide

It takes only a few words to crack the door to a meaningful relationship. Find the words and fall in love again today.

Note: In the book Joyous Gard, there is no chapter about Love specifically. But I think it’s such an important and pervasive element in life. I wanted to include it.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 15 Hope

I think I was stopped by every red light on the way to work this morning. And there beside me at every one was a driver in a black PT Cruiser with tinted windows. When the light turned green, he’d race up to the next light well ahead of me, hoping, I’m sure, that his luck would change and the next light would be green. But he was disappointed, and like me, he caught every one. He seemed so impatient. Why the big hurry?

Impatience is all too common these days. It seems like we’re all caught in some sort of huge race. But I’m not sure what we’re racing for. The whole game makes me rather nervous. And I’ll be the first one to claim that if it’s a race we’re in, then I will surely lose. I just don’t stand a chance.

But really, what is the big hurry? Where are we going? What are we hoping to accomplish?

Did you know that thinking has a speed? It’s fast, certainly, but bound by a speed. There’s a limit to how fast one can process information, and it’s based on the underlying electrochemical processes occurring in the brain. But that shouldn’t really be a surprise; everything in the universe has a limit. Even light has a speed and a limit.

I think we all ought to slow down a bit, just enough to see the beautiful white clouds move across the sky, enough to enjoy our children’s laughter, enough to make a hug meaningful. Think of the old aphorism, Good things come to those who wait.

Day 15 Guide

Maybe it’s too late to rearrange your day. But think about it tomorrow: slow down a bit. If you’ve got too much going on, let some things go. Give yourself time to enjoy life. Think of the things that are most important to you and focus most of your energy on them. Forget the rest. Give yourself enough time to make a difference.

Whether you know it or not, people look to you for an example. Demonstrate the power of hope that God’s plan really doesn’t rely on the speed of your delivery. Your trust in His wonderful creation is best shown by simply enjoying it.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 16 Experience

Day 16 Guide

Sometimes your days may seem hard or repetitive, like they’re getting you nowhere. Maybe even the thought of today is burdensome. But try to start your day attentive and alert to the content of the world around you. Heighten your senses and your level of curiosity to discover what the world is trying to teach you. Listen to what others have to say, and look for connections. Today holds something beautiful for you, something important for you to experience.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 17 Faith

Feelings of tired desperation and panic, of being lost and alone, cold, hungry, and fearful: God doesn’t intend these for us, but we undoubtedly have glimpses of life without. We all know what it means to feel panic or fear. And some even know the pangs of hunger.

Sadly, the lives of many across the world are filled with such feelings. And it’s hard to even fathom the depth of despair that survivors of recent tragedies must feel. How could you go on? What do you hold on to?

At times even we, who generally live in good health and among people we love, want to be reminded of life’s purpose, of its design and our reason for living. What are we really supposed to be doing? Is it enough to love? What are we to seek? And for what are we striving and building?

I believe that God wants us to leave traces of faith across the world. Ours really isn’t a fight to counter the forces of evil, but rather a celebration to declare a present victory. That’s right, victory. Darkness has been defeated, and we are to enjoy the light and illuminate the paths of escape for others.

And therein, I believe, rests our purpose, that we should fight only to escape the grips of woe, helping others to also find their reason for living. Love? Deeply, we should. Dance? Oh yes, dance we shall. Laugh? As much as our bodies will allow. Celebrate? Everyday.

Difficulty will always besiege us, and so the fight will be constant and living. But that’s okay. We should continue daily to light the candle of life, enjoying her sweet aroma and wanting only to remain resolute in the faith that its light has forever overtaken the darkness.

Day 17 Guide

Don’t consider a life fraught with challenge to be a life of penalty. Keep you eyes focused on the pathways of escape; others want to follow your lead. Demonstrate that in the bog of life, there is always a way out.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Days 18-23 Progress

My father’s old friend, Warren, was a simple man. He loved to laugh with his friends and have an afternoon cocktail; he enjoyed reading and being outdoors. He was kind and friendly. He was easy to talk with, and though forty years my senior, he was always interested in my “goings on.” He asked good questions and listened; he truly cared.

But Warren had sufficient reason to pale on all of life when his only son died tragically in an automobile accident while driving home from work late one night. In the prime of his life and his career, Warren, Jr. lost control of his automobile and hit a tree.

Warren could’ve easily turned bitter on life. He could’ve withdrawn in disappointment and fear. But he remained uncomplicated and his source of joy, simple. Though deeply hurting inside, Warren continued to enjoy the same pleasures. And the life that had so drastically changed for Warren that night didn’t seem to change Warren at all.

That’s what I want, a spirit that can find the light regardless of circumstance. I want the comfort in knowing that my well of strength is deep enough to draw cool water even in the droughts of life.

Days 18-23 Guide

For those of you who trust in Christian prayer, ask the Lord to do this work:

Give me, Lord, a gardener’s mind

A desire to grow and energy to find

The plan I’d love to fill my clay

This empty pot, Lord, take away

— from A Gardener’s Prayer

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 24 The Sense of Beauty

Jim seemed to be a simple man who gets a lot out of life. Living and working in Colorado, he’s an airport taxi driver in the winter months, but when spring rolls around he switches over to what he really enjoys doing, fence building. Driving to the airport, he said this about his work:

“Anybody can build a fence. But to build one that’s level and straight, well, that requires skill. I found that I was good at it. It’s hard work, but I finally found something that I love to do.

Look, see that fence outside the window? Up on the side of that mountain? I built that fence. That was a great job, a lot of fun. You see how straight the top rails are? Looks easy, doesn’t it? But to do it right requires a lot of patience and planning.”

It’s refreshing to talk to someone who enjoys his work and who finds beauty in the product of his labor. I think it’s an important element in living well – to sense the beauty and taste the fruit of one’s own efforts.

It’s not what you do that’s so important; the vital component of living well is to confirm your ability to produce results. And daily, we all need that sort of validation.

Day 24 Guide

Certainly, there is beauty in nature — in the birdsong and the whistling of the wind. But today look within the field of your own labor and seek beauty. Look at your patterns, your habits, and your skills. As you work, pay attention to your hands, your body, and your thoughts. Consider the beauty of satisfying family members, friends, or customers with your labor.

Carpe Diem!

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Days 25-27 The Principle of Beauty

Daniel Tammet is a twenty-six year old Englishman whose unusually strong cognitive powers make him one of today’s most impressive savants. In a New York Times article published Wednesday, February 23, 2004, Tammet is described as a boy whose childhood seizures somehow changed his way of thinking. ‘I’m seeing things in my head like little sparks firing off,’ says Mr. Tammet.

When asked about his awesome ability to calculate, Mr. Tammet says, ‘I’m seeing the numbers. But I’m not seeing them. It’s strange. I’m seeing pictures, shapes and patterns. Almost like a square, like a texture of water. Drops – ripples, almost.’

The writer of the article goes on to say this about a documentary on Tammet called Brainman that aired on the Science Channel that same night:

For Mr. Tammet, beauty is a significant component of thinking. In the most affecting scene in the documentary, he dreamily describes the aesthetic merits of numerals.

The number 1 he’s drawn to for its brightness. ‘Two is kind of like a movement, right to left, kind of like a drifting,’ he says. Five is a clap of thunder or the sound of a wave hitting a rock, Six ‘is actually the number I find hardest to experience,’ he says. ‘It’s like a hole, or a chasm. Number 9 is the biggest number. It’s very tall.’ He seems frightened for an instant. ‘It can be intimidating.’


The unusual capacity of the brain to sense in things certain qualities that are outside the realm of their objective identity is called synaesthesia. Seeing numbers as sounds or colors, as does Mr. Tammet, is an example of synaesthesia.

I believe that the highly creative mind pushes the limits of thinking to break down the walls of objective identity, creating for itself a virtual, multi-sensorial reality. The singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan reports that she often experiences sounds as shapes. Essentially, she sees the music. That’s awesome!

What does this mean for you and me? I believe that the mind intent on seeking beauty often times finds it in the various patterns of life and nature. The entire collection of sounds, shapes, smells, and light can evoke in the seeker a sense of beauty, a feeling of power beyond the normal state of mind. It’s an integrated feeling – one that is simple yet expansive and includes everything essential.

(To learn more about synaesthesia Click Here)

Days 25-27 Guide

Today, use all of your senses to draw from your surroundings a feeling of beauty. Write about memories or images that are evoked when you sense the various things in your surroundings. Try to push the limits of normal cognition.

© 2005, Levi Hill

Joyous Gard: Daily Guide
February 2005 ~ Day 28 Life

Life — you never totally figure it out, do you? Even when you’re happy, there’s that lingering suspicion that the bandits are in the bush, waiting to rob you of your joy. What are you really supposed to be doing? Are you here to fulfill some purpose? For whose benefit are you living?

Many of you probably feel like your purpose is to teach and provide for your children, to build a business, or to be good citizens and role models. And some of you likely hold the Christian purpose of “advancing the kingdom of God.”

I believe these are all great aspirations, but consider for a moment that your purpose in life is simply to live well. Try your best to suspend the thoughts of building things, getting your children through college, or advancing kingdoms. If your purpose is simply to live well, then what do you need to figure out? What is it that constitutes the good life?

Life is complex. There are many facets and elements that make up the goodness in life. And by assuming the above proposition, your primary effort would be to identify and prioritize these things – both the things that are important to you and also the things you want to avoid.

Obviously, the love that you have for your family and friends will factor into your answers as might your feelings of justice and honor. You might look around and also observe the implosion of lives in order to identify the things to guard against. What are the common features of lives gone awry?

I think it’s good to occasionally take an inventory of your life. Try to simplify things and ask yourself basic questions: Where am I headed? For what am I living? What is the good life?

This is the last day of the Joyous Gard cycle and also the first day of the week. It’s a good time to reassess.

Day 28 Guide

Today, begin an assessment of your situation. Ask yourself some of the basic questions, assuming that your purpose is simply to live well. What does living well mean to you?

© 2005, Levi Hill

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