What Do You Love to Do?

“Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.” —Natalie Goldberg

What do you especially love to do? To share a list of the activities that give you joy is to allow a glimpse into the essence of who you are.

In this era of vast, worldwide suffering from the coronavirus, of quarantines and social distancing, some of the things we love to do must be modified. But those of us still blessed to have health for ourselves and our loved ones can remember the joys of past times, dream of joys to come, and recognize the joys still open to us, even now.

Here is some of what I love. A number of these pleasures still offer themselves to me in full measure. And all of them are possible in some version, from reading about favorite cities to attending choir practice on Zoom. My list is probably not interesting to you in itself. I hope, though, that my loves will remind you of your own, perhaps inspiring you to give them renewed places of honor in your life.

  1. Encouraging others, especially about their writing
  2. Being—simply being—with a close friend, whatever we’re doing, and working on shared projects
  3. Listening to music that reaches my soul
  4. Shopping at health-food stores
  5. Interacting with other people out and about town or in my community
  6. Writing a poem and sharing it with others
  7. Meditating inside quaint or magnificent churches
  8. Seeing art in places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Uffizi Gallery, or the Louvre or in the piazzas and churches of Rome
  9. Walking through towns and cities—especially Rome or other Italian cities and towns, Paris, New York, London, or Montreal—up one street and down another, catching glimpses of daily life and imagining how life is for the people whose activities and homes I glimpse
  10. Sitting in a café and writing in my journal, reading, and soaking up the atmosphere
  11. Reading about how other people have handled life’s challenges
  12. Finding a poem that captures what I’ve felt or would like to have said
  13. Watching wildlife of all kinds
  14. Browsing and shopping in bookstores
  15. Listening to audiobooks
  16. Learning languages and reading in French or Italian
  17. Taking and teaching classes
  18. Reading about and discussing spiritual philosophy
  19. Making schedules
  20. Traveling by train and seeing the changing scenery
  21. Attending the opera
  22. Reading novels whose characters captivate me
  23. Beading
  24. Connecting with loved ones on the other side
  25. Making a fresh start
  26. Getting outside early on a fine spring or summer morning, or taking a walk at dusk
  27. Expressing myself about strongly held opinions
  28. Making music and singing with others
  29. Dancing with a partner who dances well, or expressing myself through dance
  30. Handling challenges successfully
  31. Experiencing unspoiled Nature
  32. Looking at catalogs, especially when I could do this with my mother
  33. Hugging loved ones
  34. Translating interesting literature or articles from Italian to English
  35. Writing up an experience so that it comes alive for someone else
  36. Rearranging furniture and organizing my books and other belongings
  37. Looking at the stars on a clear night, especially when I could do this with my father, or bathing in moonlight
  38. Going to a good movie
  39. Eating with a friend at an interesting restaurant
  40. Attending retreats and Masses with my best friend and the Sisters of St. Francis

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