I’m now into week 10 of The Artist’s Way. (Here’s the week 4 update. Followup: I did not succeed with my media blackout.) Week 10 is called “Recovering a sense of self-protection.” It seems to be mostly about paying attention to the negatives and focusing on the positives. One of the exercises is a list of “happiness touchstones,” which is a list I’ve been working on for myself for forever. A portion of the list was the first post I made on my first blog on Blogspot in 2002. The first item on the list is IKEA. The 2584th item on the list is IKEA monkey.

Julia Cameron is right to call them “touchstones.” I haven’t looked at that list in a long time, and it’s been even longer since I added something to it. But skimming through my “love list” (which I keep in a text file in nvALT–#2267) made me happier. I didn’t even have to listen to #1024 “Army of Me” by Bjork remixed by the Beastie Boys or watch a Polaroid develop (#966). Just the reminder that these things exist in the world was enough to remind me that life is good. That happiness is real. That tiny things matter.

Yesterday, as per Cameron’s instructions, I wrote a whole page of ”touchstones” in my notebook. Enough to push my list past 2600. Motivation to aim for 3000 by the end of the month. ”Self-protection” is really another way of saying “self-care.” Pay attention to the negatives, but focus on the positives. They deserve more of your time.