Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss equates ‘glow’ with fervor and joy.

This morning, I bask in the glow of accomplishment.  Twenty-five months after writing the first sentence, I can call my seventh novel complete…

“Until the railroad comes in 1863, Amersfoort claims nothing of particular importance other than, perhaps, the Tower of Our Lady, one of the highest church towers in the Netherlands – 322 feet, 7 inches to be exact – that reaches well above the city that surrounds it.”

I patiently await the ‘proof’ copy from the publisher so I can hold the physical book in my hands and give it a final inspection.

Writing a book is a journey and while the result is satisfying, the path can be difficult and painful.  After publishing my sixth novel in 2014, I experienced severe writer’s block.  I started and stopped no fewer than four manuscripts, which remain unfinished and unpublished in my files.  In January 2018, the muse grabbed my undivided attention and I spent the next two years writing, editing and completing this seventh opus.

I bring this to your attention to inspire you to work through the challenges you might face and to do it with the conviction that the outcome will be worth the effort.

Several years ago, my good friend Gail recommended a short book Silence in the Age of Noise by Norwegian author, adventurer, collector, etc. Erling Kagge.  Two months ago, my middle son loaned me his copy of Mr. Kagge’s 2018 book Walking One Step at a Time.  Both books are worthy of your attention.

Reading Mr. Kagge’s Walking book early this morning, I learned about Mr. Næss’s equation for well-being:

W=well-being; G=glow (fervor/joy); P=pain, b=physical; m=mental.

Not a mathematician by trade, I rely on Mr. Kagge’s interpretation:  a small increase in ‘glow’ can outweigh a lot of pain.  From another perspective, “If you have very little glow for anything whatsoever, you will experience little well-being, no matter how few inconveniences you might suffer.”

Experience tells me Messrs. Næss and Kagge are right.  I took a major hit last year that threatened to knock me off my feet.  But I soon made my way back to Arizona and when I did, I found great joy in reconnecting with my sons and their families, with old and trusted friends, immersing myself in writing, getting back to ‘turning the desert green,’ biking daily, hiking regularly… the list goes on.  My ‘glow’ increased significantly, and its expansion dwarfed my pain.

After completing my seventh novel, I was overwhelmed with immense joy and fervor, and the ‘glow’ I felt influenced me to consider Mr. Næss’s equation when I read it this morning.

As Mr. Kagge accurately states, “It’s pointless to ride to the top of a mountain in a car or helicopter instead of hiking or climbing up, because the experience of standing on the summit is superficial if no pain was involved.”  Prophecy Ridge in the Tucson Mountains has been one of our favorite hikes since we discovered it a decade ago.  Here is a picture.  The vista is inspiring.  What do you think creates more ‘glow:’ looking at this picture or physically making the ascent?  If you opted for the picture, you are missing out on life.

As Mr. Kagge concludes, “Our need for comfort not only implies that we avoid uncomfortable experiences (the physical pain associated with the climb), but it also means that we lose out on the many good ones.”

Look for ways to expand the glow in your life.  If physical pain and mental anguish are part of the process, so be it.  The well-being it brings to your life will be well worth it.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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