Life comes at us one day at a time. It’s a relentless fact that we cannot change.
But in one of the most celebrated passages from his book, Walden, Thoreau talks about mastering the art of waking up and living each day.
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn…I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful, but it is for more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of the arts.”
This is a wonderful passage for reflection. I will only add a few questions.
Do you think that learning “to reawaken ourselves and keep ourselves awake” is an important part of our education in life?
If so, what are some ways to keep learning that? What does “reawakening ourselves” mean to you?
Do you think that affecting and enhancing the quality of each day’s experiences is the highest of the arts?
If so, what are some ways to practice that art? What resources do we have to help us in that?
What is the value of seeking to make each day a work of art?