17 October

Notebook: , On Being Calm, Part Four, By Me

by Jon Katz

I’ve had two surgeries to repair my heart; I had two overnight stays in hospitals, a cat scan to look for cancer and abnormalities, an electrocardiogram, four EKG’s, four IV’s,  and two different unltra-sounds, two urine tests, and three blood offerings.

I am in cardiac rehab twice a week and have joined a gym where I exercise three times a week. I walk up a beautiful hill every morning (above) for the sake of my soul and my beautiful heart.

Oddly, I have never seen myself as healthier.

For now, I am free of pain and long of breath. I have never loved my writing more.

I am finally weaving exercise into my daily life and appreciating it.  Finally, my father would have been pleased, he always fretted that I would never live up to my potential.

What all these tests of every part of my body have shown me is that I am okay. One by one, we are swatting the demons down.

My heartbeat is strong; my diabetes numbers are excellent; my blood pressure is wonderfully low.

Every inch of me has been tested, and there are three more scheduled over the next two months. I am full of gratitude and promise.

I am calm, at peace, and looking forward to being productive, creative, loving, and loved. I have the most wonderful partner, three wonderful dogs, two dear donkeys, a blog that is my creative soul, two wonderful cameras, a fat Canon, and a slim iPhone 11.

I very much appreciate that at almost any other time in history, I would be long dead or living a very different kind of life. I often wonder if human beings deserve the earth, but I won’t be dragged down by those who don’t.

I understand that I could be struck down any time now, a man in his 70’s with two chronic diseases. We all die of something, and my time is tip-toeing along to me. I am filled with humility and acceptance. A troubled heart can do that to someone.

But there is plenty of life left in me, God help all of you.

I wake up every morning and ask, “why has God been so good to me?” Why have you given me the gift of so much and of doing good to others?

I seek to respect everyone, but I have the least respect for those who steal the grief and pain and the loss of others. Some people suck up all the pain and grief in the world and make it their own. Please, angels, don’t ever allow me to do that, and if I do, send lightning bolts right up my butt.

I vow to be grateful for every day.

I won’t wait for an untroubled world to have untroubled moments. The awful test, the terrible phone call, the awful storm, the death of those I love, of me – all of that will come. In the meantime, I am called to grab whatever wonderful moments are flying around that I can snatch and swallow.


  1. “Free of pain and long of breath.” That’s a very poetic way if expressing good health. My mother always said, “when you have good health there’s nothing you can’t do.”

  2. Jon, this is one post I will be filing away and keeping to remind myself in times of stress, like now, with this virus looming over all our heads, when life as we’ve known it is falling apart, businesses struggling,with the election coming up, even though I’m in Canada, the stress of another four years of hearing the anger of the President of the United States coming over the news media, television, is poisoning and polluting the world around me, not me in particular, is wearing me down mentally and emotionally. A world at peace is all we should be seeking and I know that this will never happen collectively, ever. Peace of mind is all I’ve ever strived for and have come to realize that it’s through my own efforts, as you have found, that peace of mind is something one needs to recognize, to court, to look after, to appreciate, to nourish. I wake up and thank whoever for the gift of another day and it is up to me to create my own peace of mind within it. The world has become such an angry place in the past four years of the presidency and maybe this was needed to bring us to the realization of others lives who need to be supported and recognized. Complacency sets in all to easily and quickly and a lack of awareness of others in need sets in…at least that’s how I see it. So thank you for this posting. It will be my reminder when I get ‘ants in my pants’ mentally and emotionally, to reign me back into focus.
    Sandy Proudfoot

  3. My brother has a saying;
    Heaven is here now.”
    Appreciate every day, enjoy the beauty of this world now, and don’t spend your time focusing on, or worrying, waiting for the future.

  4. I am about the same age as you, and have certainly been dealt my share of physical issues. But every day I wake up and I’m grateful. For one more day, for all of it. The chance to do better, to be better. It’s a wonderful life, after all.

  5. Love this, Jon. Sounds like unconditional living – making a decision to need nothing to be different or the way you think it should be, in order for you to be happy or calm or at peace. That is true enlightenment.

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