Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Kate Bush -- Pi

So. I got my new glasses -- they are cool Flexon Magnetics -- instead of 'clip-on' sunglasses, the sunglass part attaches with nifty magnets that sit unobtrusively in front of the hinges. When the sunglasses are on it's really hard to tell they are not just rx sunglasses, and you don't have as much of an irritating gap between lens and sunglass lens as you have with clip ons. The shape is a tiny bit boxier than my previous glasses. And they are matte black. My eyes had not gotten worse as far as distance, but had gotten a bit more astigmatic, so I got new lenses and frames, because my old frames were busted. And while I get a headache from new glasses, I love the odd 3-D feel I get from a new pair, when things are extra crisp and focused. I could tell especially looking at Mars last night and seeing it clearer, and seeing the Moon clearer...

A while ago I bought a book by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, "Growth through Tehillim" and now I am reading it as part of my lunch break. Pliskin has written all sorts of books I guess would be considered "mussar" in that they are all based on self-improvement. One my dad gave me years ago is called "The Gateway to Happiness" and is all about how being happy is a mitzvah. There are parts that detail why it's a commandment to be happy, and then there are parts that are all about how to become more happy... anyway, it's like regular self-help books but about twenty times as dense and more useful for learning Torah, since everything is based on some written or oral reference.

Anyway, so now I am reading a psalm a day and Pliskin's bit on that Psalm. To be organized, I'm starting from Psalm 1. I like Psalm 1 because it has a nice image of the tree deeply rooted next to brooks, so it's well-watered. Also, like Pliskin says, it purposely emphasizes positive behavior, when it starts out "Praiseworthy is the man who walked not in the counsel of the wicked..." rather than "Cursed is the man who walks in the counsel of the wicked..." That's always my weak spot when I parent -- I fall too easily into taking good behavior for granted and commenting on negative behavior, rather than commenting on positive behavior, for instance. And with me as well as with my daughter. And Pliskin points out that sometimes, doing mundane stuff, we feel like we aren't doing anything positive. And he points out that in just being occupied doing something mundane, we aren't at that moment doing anything wrong. And in avoiding evil, we are for all intents and purposes doing a mitzvah. That's my big struggle. It's really easy for me to lose focus at work and get distracted by stuff. Like blogging, for instance!

Maybe with my new glasses I can keep these lessons in better focus. Couldn't help that one.

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