turn to the sunlight: a thursday birthday list


It is Thursday, list day, when I challenge myself to write a list based on the Write ALM prompt. And this day also happens to be my forty-second (yikes!!!) birthday.

When I read the phrase “turn to the sunlight,” I immediately thought about the way a potted houseplant must be turned regularly, so it will grow evenly. I tend to have a melancholy nature, so my ways of turning toward the sunlight, whether they’re physical, spiritual or creative, are ways of balancing my bent to pensiveness, wistfulness. And I am a non-driving introvert, so lots of my ways of letting the light in are homespun ways to recalibrate, to shift the scale. Today, I give you forty-two ways, some literal, some metaphorical, to turn to the sunlight:

  1. Ask for help. Whether it is the dishes or a health problem or a change in perspective, reach out and ask for a hand up. Turn to find you’re not alone
  2. Find the voices in your family, in your life, even on the Internet, who speak hope and encouragement. Tune them in clearly.
  3. Open the windows.
  4. Plant something, anything.
  5. Reach out when you have something to give as well. Write a note, make a call, clip an interesting article or funny cartoon and send it to one of your people who will appreciate it.
  6. Wear color. Red, coral, turquoise, yellow.
  7. Keep angling for the best shot, the best word, the right amount of freshly ground pepper.
  8. Go browsing a the magazine section of a big bookstore. Pick up a few you’ve never explored, and leaf through them slowly.
  9. Do several breath initiated sun salutations. Feel your spine release in forward fold, feel the way a good, belly-filling inhale raises your arms.
  10. Write down good quotes from what you read.
  11. Listen to Pandora. Like ripples, a good Pandora station can steadily widen the world of musicians you listen to.
  12. Balance past wisdom about people or situations with giving the benefit of the doubt.
  13. Put on lipstick or gloss. Pause to smile at yourself.
  14. Light scented candles. (And you can fill the house with the fragrance of honeysuckle or lavender or mango in February as well as in July. I won’t tell anyone. )
  15. Rearrange the furniture.
  16. Look through seed catalogues.. Imagine salads and bouquets.
  17. Reconnect with old friends. They have loved you through bad haircuts and bad boyfriends and pregnancy and seeing your dark side.
  18. Listen to the music you loved when you were younger.  (I’m looking at you, Joshua Tree, Indigo Girls, Springsteen, Dave Wilcox, Madonna, the Cure. . . ) Dance in the kitchen. Sing along, loudly and regardless of skill. Horrify the middle-schooler.
  19. Do something that’s not your thing, but will delight someone you love.  Play legos, watch funny you tube videos together, read comics.
  20. Memorize an inspiring scripture, a beloved poem, a great joke.
  21. Remember to play with art–  it is just a few words, a little paper and glue, a yard of fabric. It isn’t plutonium. Mess around. Start something especially when you don’t know where it is going.
  22. Let go of competence. Shoot baskets, ride a skateboard, do something with someone you love, something they love doing that you’re not good at.  Laugh readily, but don’t apologize.
  23. Eat something messy and fun, like ribs or an ice cream cone.
  24. Clear your calendar. Say no. Give yourself the gift of a day.
  25. Wrote a handwritten letter.
  26. Clean the kitchen. Pause to just behold it when you are finished.
  27. Iron your pillowcases for a little bedtime luxury.
  28. Make the bed, slowly.
  29. When considering a task, a role, or a bit of drama, ask yourself, “Is this on my plate? Is this honestly part of my portion?” If yes, consider your response carefully. If not, don’t consume it or be consumed by it.
  30. Reread a book you loved as a kid. Preferably a slightly yellowed, softened paperback.
  31. Go hear live music.
  32. Take a nap.
  33. Read aloud, just to savor the sound of the words.
  34. Set a lovely table.
  35. Play in your own closet. Put together pieces that have never been worn together.
  36. Go see art. A museum, a gallery, a kids’ art show.
  37. Sit outside for awhile. Without doing anything else. Check in with your five senses.
  38. Leave the smartphone at home.
  39. Listen to podcasts while you cook or fold laundry .
  40. Sit in a new seat, at your own table, at the coffee shop, in church. Look at the vie from there.
  41. Go to the library and visit a new section. Bring home some fresh ideas.
  42. Unclench your jaw. Relax your hands. Embrace the day. Mercy has been new every morning forever. It’s unlikely to run out now.

Turn to the sunlight. Grow in all directions.

Stretching toward spring with all my might

and with the prompts at Write ALM


Joining in the fun of Lists With Friends 2014


13 thoughts on “turn to the sunlight: a thursday birthday list

  1. edillow

    Oh, this one is getting pinned to my writing board write this minute. I love it, Missy, and I wish you the happiest of birthdays! 1972 is our year, too : )

  2. janeygingerboy

    I hope you are having a lovely birthday…many happy returns! What a wonderful list…many of which I need to adhere to myself…thank you for sharing. Love The Cure so much : )

  3. Stephanie Horn

    Love this! I hope that your special day has been exactly that…special!
    Miss you friend! Rocked out to Madonna earlier today…thought of you!


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