"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done."
The ability to affect the quality of life is an extraordinary gift.
There are days when I purpose to interpret every encounter through this lens. The other day, I was sitting in the coffee shop and I made a decision to converse with people in a "fully present" sort of way. That is, I channeled all of my energy to my face, even more specifically, my forehead. I funneled all of my being through the core of my head, the center of my face. When I do this, it's like all of the blood of my body rushes to my head and leaves all other faculties and appendages temporarily out of order. I literally feel like my head is the only thing that exists and I'm completely centered therein.
I'm not thinking of standing, or gestures, or appearance, or even words...I'm simply dwelling in the moment...I'm taken hostage inside my head. There is a word that a friend of mine uses to describe this discipline...splonkna, which is the greek word for bowels. gravitos is another greek word that describes living with a gravity in the moment that is palpable. Somewhere between these two words dwells a sacred space of human interaction. It assures you that when you're talking with someone, something spiritual is happening, not just something audible or physical.
And when I set out to affect the quality of the day, I am a better human being...I'm better at being human. I am tasked by God to make life, even in the most infinitesimal of details, worthy of this sort of urgent contemplation (Thoreau)...I think Paul called it "redeeming the time" or "making the most of every opportunity". It is honorable to expend energy on the discipline of living...professio of victus (the art of living). This again speaks of the divine and poetic life we, all of us, should be chasing after. To put hundreds, yea, thousands of man-hours into the definition and refinition (that is refining) of life through deliberate pre-visualization and post-debriefing. There is something to be said for self-fulfilled prophecy as it relates to the quality of one's life, for those who expend mental and spiritual energy speaking out (or writing) their dreams for a day's living, tend to bend toward those declarations even in the mode of default. Life is worthy of this kind of intentional excursion of energeia (energy).
He is not wasting his life who exhausts himself in the artistic living of it.