The mood comes upon me: longing, joy, curiosity. Or I realize I need a practice for showing patience or facing disaster. When is my state of mind getting in my way -- leaving me flat or turning me into a lunatic? When do I need to seek an antidote or a consolation? Or when should I sink deeply, richly and productively into a mood, even if it a a bad one?
Whatever psychological state is shadowing me, I'd like it to be a robust one that I can work for all its worth. If it's the doldrums, the blahs, and I am set adrift, I'd like to pump in enough energy to turn drifting into an art. If I am spinning, churning, and out of control, I'd like to harness that energy and channel it into producing something unexpected.
If I am sustaining a hearty, vigorous, all-in mood (even if I'm singing the blues), I'd like to be able to push it deeper, higher, wider. I'd like to experience a "moment of being," an epiphany, a sudden sensation of deep authenticity.
[My plan is to do a page of methods and practices for each of these.]
Anger. That obsessive kind that gets you talking to myself.
Anxiety. Neurotic fear that takes me nowhere.
Other people's unbearably amazing Craftsmanship. A specific form of envy that can hamper my learning by making me veer away from good sources.
Curiosity. A driver for learning of all kind and especially for family history.
Fear. That icy feeling that something is going terribly wrong. Stone-cold dread.
Joy. Celebration, friendship, sociability and how to rid it of anxieties and distractions.
Longing. Missing something mysterious, something Other, a new source. Often masked by the delusion of hunger, thirst, lust, or need for material possessions, with unsatisfying results. I love this motto: "Follow the disturbance." See also the Portuguese saudade.
Nostalgia. Memories and the sights, smells, sounds that evoke them and make me react with pleasure or pain. Compare with mono no aware, a Japanese phrase for the sensitivity to passing time and an awareness of the transience of things (like cherry blossoms). Compare also lacrimae rerum ("tears of things" or "world of tears" from Virgil's Aeneid), a Latin phrase conveying melancholy toward human folly (esp. war). See Marcel Proust's monumental work In Search of Lost Time (1913-1927).
Organizing. The impulse to get things done.
Patience. Kind of a catch-all for a cluster of skills related to keeping a calm center when dealing with frustration and annoyance.
Sadness. May accompany an objective loss or tragedy or may be "the blues." Maybe a sense of hopelessness is involved -- I'm thinking of Negro spirituals and slave songs. Interesting that so much of music is dedicated to broken hearts. Odetta sings "I Feel Like A Motherless Child."