The Basic, The Fundamental, Aspirations

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To be a good man.

To do no harm.

To see clearly.

To do my laundry.

To keep an open heart and mind.

To acknowledge my blessings, to share them.

To eat something.

To give away happiness even when I have little or none to spare.

To feel the pain of others.

To laugh at myself.

To turn down this racket.

To reach out.

To find the courage of my convictions.

To find an ottoman at a thrift store.

To recognize and speak the truth.

To be gentle.

To be fearless.

To allow myself to be known.

To clean the dog vomit out of the backseat of my car.

To listen.

To hear.

To forgive, and beg forgiveness.

To wake up and smell the coffee.

To call my mother.

To hope.

To dream.

To fucking sleep.

To believe in all the big, clumsy, impossible things.

To be merciful.

To be compassionate.

To either find the fingernail clipper or walk to Walgreen’s and buy a new one.

While I’m there to also buy some red licorice and a box of crayons.

To bite my tongue when to do so will spare someone pain or embarrassment.

To express gratitude.

To see beauty.

To pause, to wonder.

To take out the garbage.

To praise, to glorify.

To be whole.

To be holy.

To sacrifice, compromise, and comfort.

To finally go see fucking Brokeback Mountain, even if I have to go alone.

To reconsider.

To think carefully.

To change my mind.

To be a part.

To belong.

To drive like a bat out of hell.

To spend less time on the floor.

To alphabetize my record collection.

To love.

To be beloved.

We asked the captain what course

of action he proposed to take toward

a beast so large, terrifying, and

unpredictable. He hesitated to

answer, and then said judiciously:

“I think I shall praise it.”

Robert Hass, from Praise