"Moods are worth my attention. I am discovering during these first few weeks in Genesee that I am subject to very different moods, often changing very quickly. Feelings of depressive fatigue, of low self-esteem, of boredom, feelings aslo of anger, irritation, and direct hostility, and feelings of gratitude, joy, and excitement- they can all be there, sometimes even during one day. I have the feeling that these quickly changing moods show how attached I really am to the things given me: a friendly gesture, pleasant work, a word of praise, a good book, etc. Little things can quickly change sadness into joy, disgust into contentment, and anger into understanding or compassion. Somewhere during these weeks I read that sadness is the result of attachment. detached people are not the easy victims of good or bad events in their surroundings and can experience a certain sense of equilibrium. I have the feeling that this is an important realization for me. When my manual work does not interest me, I become bored, then quickly irritated and sometimes even angry, telling myself I am wasting my time. When I read a book that fascinates me, I become so involved that times runs fast, people seem friendly, my stay here worthwhile, and everything one big happy event.
Of course both "moods" are manifestations of false attachments and show how far I am from a healthy form of "indifference." Thinking about all of this, I guess my main problem still is I have not really made prayer my priority. Still the only reasons I am here-I mean the only reason I should be here- is to learn to pray. But, in fact, much of what I am doing is motivated by many other concerns: getting back in shape, learning some skills, knowing more about the birds and the trees, getting to know interesting people, and picking up many ideas and experiences for future teaching. But if prayer were my only concern, all of these other things could be received as free gifts. Now, however, I am obsessed by these desires which are false, not in themselves, but by their being in the wrong place in the hierarchy of values. That, I guess, is the cause of my moodiness. For the time being it seems so important to at least be aware of it."
-Excerpt from The Genessee Diary by Henri Nouwen