Rough magic

I remember the day when I was a kid at school that the truly horrific Mrs Reeves, the first of a string of mildly psychopathic, sadistic teachers, who used to spit big globs of saliva onto my exercise book with every ‘s’ as she leaned over to tell me off about whatever I wasn’t doing exactly as she’d instructed, introduced us to what she called our rough books and though I still find it hard to see the Buddha in Mrs Reeves, I will always be grateful to her for the rough book as concept.

The rough book was where we were to take our notes about the notes we were taking in our non-rough books. The rough book even had a rough cover and poor quality paper and in it I could write as roughly as I wished and even do doodles. This was my personal writing space. It would never be appraised. This was the inner sanctum of my laboratory where I did all my experiments with life. This was where I made the vast amounts of gobbledegook that was being crammed into my young, fast-forming intellect, my very own, or at least notating my interpretation of it. And it established a lifetime’s (so far) relationship with a series of rough books in which as an adult I have faithfully written my never-ending list of things to be done that day, that week, that month, that season, that year, that decade and so on. And these lists along with numerous mind-maps and diagrams of complicated systems of ropes and pulleys have always provided the bedrock upon which stand my agreements with myself to undertake the various tasks required to create an adventure of my life.

While you’re on the planet, your list of things to do is possibly one of the most sacred relationships you have. By writing down what you intend to get done, you’re forming a contract with yourself to do it. Some days the relationship needs work and items need carrying over to the next day and often the day after and so on, other days it flows smooth as silk and all the items get crossed off.

But I’ve learned not to get precious about clearing the list, because I’ve understood, that no matter how conscientious, the chances of dying without any items left to do on my list are slim. I’ve realized it’s just a game but one that works to steer my passage to where it needs to go to keep me sufficiently fulfilled and amused to be appreciating being alive from day to day. And I’ve found that the attitude with which I approach my rough book in the morning totally determines the sort of day I’ll have. If I take a moment to love and cherish each item and regard it as an opportunity to unravel the great mystery of life, specifically in terms of the ability to create something out of a mere idea, then the day flows with utter magic. If on the other hand, I approach my rough book with any degree of disdain, reluctance, or resistance, the day tends to stick in its own throat.

So this is really to exhort you to take a moment now to love and cherish your list of things to do today and give thanks for each item as an opportunity to create magic.

Merry Monday wish: that you create enough magic today to transform your whole life for the better by a quantum jump.

Love, D


2 Responses to “Rough magic

  • Cecile
    1 year ago

    You have reminded me about the terms used at school. Prep school was rough book, grammar school was general work book, then back to rough books at secondary modern where I spent the happiest years of my school life.

    I always have a rough book with me, although I’ve not called it that for some time. It’s a kind of guiding light for the present moment.

    Thank you

  • I love a rough book- battered old blue cover, lined sugar paper and complete freedom! xxx

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