Tag Archives: Little Virtues

Loving the daily current of existence

The news brings us a daily diet of people’s lives lost or wrecked by events beyond their control, tempered with accounts of the apparently glamorous life-styles of the rich and famous, and interspersed with advertisements that lure us towards the pursuit of success and happiness.  However, the advertisements are selling products that make others rich and, on their own, are unlikely to make us happy.  Instead, we need to learn ‘to love the daily current of existence which flows on evenly’, to quote Natalia Ginzburg.  Or as Pope Francis, has said about achieving happiness: ‘Slow down. Take time off. Live and let live. Don’t proselytise. Work for peace. Work at a job that offers basic human dignity. Don’t hold on to negative feelings. Move calmly through life. Enjoy art, books and playfulness.’

Sources:

Natalia Ginzburg, Little Virtues, London: Daunt Books, 2015.

Egan T, The pope and the art of joy. International New York Times, 16-17th May, 2015.

Feeling extraordinarily at ease

At the beginning of September, I assumed significant new responsibilities and have had to rethink some of my priorities, including the weekly posting of this blog.  My decision to continue writing posts was influenced by a book I was reading at the time by Natalia Ginzburg.  In ‘Little Virtues’ she talks about her vocation as a writer and how when she sits down to write she feels extraordinarily at ease.  She worries about being misunderstood and claims to know nothing about the value of her writing.  These comments are made early in the book and much latter she writes ‘that at the  moment someone is writing he is miraculously driven to forget the immediate circumstances  of his own life.’  I can confirm that this is sometimes true for me and that writing can transport me away from the pressures of everyday life and, more recently, the stresses associated with my new role in the university.  So, I intend to continue to carve out time to write weekly posts even though, like Ginzburg, I am dubious about their value to others.

Source:

Natalia Ginzburg, Little Virtues, London: Daunt Books, 2015.