The “What Makes You Feel Good” Parade – Part II

More of the Good Stuff – A Bit Deeper

Now, Where Were We?

We started this conversation back in March with a short list of things that make one feel good. The plan is to divide that list into three levels – the easy everyday stuff, which was titled The Light Stuff. You may recall that my Light Stuff list included an eclectic but not unusual mix. It included:

  • A perfect baguette
  • A walk in the woods
  • Time in a hardware store
  • A really good cheese platter
  • Being up early enough to wait for the sun
  • Serious red wine
  • Being in a baseball park before the game

Many of you wrote to concur with parts of that list, which was great fun to read. We share something, don’t we? Others suggested their own lists or variations on this one. Nice.

Next – The More Powerful Stuff

This is in the sort of list, but here we have a list of things and actions that strike a bit deeper cord. A bit deeper, more intense; often rarer and longer running in each happening.

No less pleasant that the Light Stuff, but deeper in resonance. Like the previous list, no special order. They all are number 1. I bet you will recognize at least some of these as well. Enjoy.

Herewith, The More Powerful Stuff
  • Longer Times in the Forest. Best in the mountains, with sustained silence. Enough time to declutter the mind and heart. OK, this is not all that different from the earlier Walk in the Forest, but the time is a critical difference.

    I find that when I long for some extended meditative time, it takes me the better part of a day to clear my head and silence the background noise.
    Nothing does this better than extended time in the forest. I feel more at home, more at peace, and more connected to the universe when in a deep forest. The planet and nature speak. In such a place, we can hear them.

  • Communication and Connection. I just said that I crave silence and alone time, but there are elements of human communication that are priceless. Music of almost all types, great writing, powerful speeches, singular photographs all are truly gifts.

    They inspire, challenge, and comfort in special ways. There may come a time when Artificial Intelligence can do this just as well, but so far, we need our fellow humans to reach us with these special resources.

What Else?
  • Discovery. In particular, discovery that presents much needed answers and equally feeds curiosity for more. This is the adult version of an easter egg hunt. When you find an answer, you can revel in the joy of knowing
    But you can be sure more awaits your search.Such occurrences are landing spots and launch pads all at once.

    We find them everywhere if we just look – in science, in nature, in art – even in simple conversation. I pity the person who thinks he has all the answers. She or he is missing the greatest hunt of all time. Curiosity is at once a scratch and a tickle. So much to know – so much more to search for. Hopefully, the cycle never ends.

  • Suspending gravity. This might include flying helicopters or light aircraft (not riding in, but flying them), parachuting, zip lines, rappelling, etc. Admittedly, as time passes, I do WAY less of this sort of thing than in earlier years. The occasional zip line is about it these days. But I remember all of it clearly, and my fingers still itch when a helicopter flies by.
    Giving oneself 
a moment to feel what a bird feels, to be in touch with the sky the way we normally are with the earth, is sublime. Too few of us take the taste. It’s worth a little fear and risk.

    As you can see from this grainy old photo, I was up for a new experience from time to time. That’s me at the bottom of the photo, on the end of a LONG cord, with which I was snatched up from the ground. The foolishness of youth.

There’s More (Of Course)
  • Working with others.  Partnering with others to accomplish something worthy of time and sweat is a joy. Such activity can build friendships and accomplish things we cannot do as well alone.

    If lucky, along the way, we learn the power of service, the value of “sweat equity,” and the pleasure in realizing its not always about ourselves.  is a real thing.

  • Meditation. I started not to list this one, as I am so inept at it and I use the term loosely to use it in all its forms. Sometimes I give myself credit for mediating when I have just been watching an open fire or watching the birds hit my feeders (got my first hummingbird of the season last week. That pleasure takes one out of the meditation mode, but for a worthy celebration).
    This one is, for sure, a first cousin to that time in the forest, but here I am thinking of a more frequent activity, most often only a few minutes. Eventually, one learns that it takes time to clear the clutter and the clearing only takes place if one invests time and energy on learning how to do this.
  • I have long said that if everyone meditated 15 minutes a day, went into nature every few days, and got a good massage once a month, our national health profile would improve dramatically. I think that is true. Meditation is a good place to start.

OK, Back to Work

Enough with this pleasure stuff, at least for now. One more round sometime later.

The blog is going back to familiar territory in the coming days. As this is being written, we are waiting on final results from the election in Turkey, the budget deficit cliff hanger continues, and Americans are shooting each other at a record pace. We have much to work on.

See you next week.

           Bill Clontz

If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do three things:

(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here. If you wish to share COMMENTS anonymously, make the last word in your comment “PRIVATE.” I will assure your privacy via anonymity.

(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts (

(3) You are welcome to share this post with anyone. It is easy to pass on via email, of course, but also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Reddit; simply click on the links for these services at the end of this article.

Let’s grow our circle.

6 replies to The “What Makes You Feel Good” Parade – Part II

  1. I have read that spending time in the forest is “forest bathing” – an apt name I think.

    • I agree! I went in a half-day forest bathing experience some time ago. Throughly enjoyed it.

  2. After compiling my “light list” of what makes me feel good, I started on my list for the next level. In doing so, I didn’t consider their rarity, simply the degree of pleasure they provide me. Although I didn’t elaborate in writing, with each item
    listed, my thoughts were filled with many examples and nice memories. Thank you, Bill, for suggesting this reflective activity. I’ve enjoyed the process.

    Sandra’s Part II list of “What Make You Feel Good Parade” –

    observing the sky over my head on a clear night – stars, planets, our moon, etc.

    reading a phrase that emotionally moves me

    seeing the layers of mountain ridge silhouettes and rolling hills that surround my Asheville home

    sipping a cup of warm Earl Grey tea and munching toasted almonds at dawn

    watching daytime clouds moving across a blue sky

    jigsaw puzzling

    reading a delightful fantasy with great characterizations and descriptions

    lingering over a mug of hot chocolate in winter

    spending the majority of each day barefooted

    climbing into bed between crisp, cool, clean sheets

    swimming laps in Deerfield’s pool

    regular communications with and shared photos from our exchange daughters’ families in Brazil, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands

    reading poetry

    observing trees


    all varieties of bears, especially Appalachian black bears and Winnie-the-Pooh

    taking a hot bath before bed

    maintaining communication with distant friends and extended family

    finding contentment in volunteering

    wearing comfortable, barely there clothes

    the DERC community

    • A splendid list! I would sign up for about 99% of these myself. Thank you for sharing.

  3. What makes me feel good? It’s hard to top laughter. It’s easy to diminish it because it’s common, but sometimes I think it borders on the holy.

  4. Excellent, Sandra! I agree with all of them.

Your Turn to Comment