My life is filled with so many wonderful smaller things ... stuff I overlook all the time. Like the trees as they change to brilliant colors in the fall. Who looks at the single leaf?
If left unchecked, I would focus on only the big stuff of life - big fun, big loses, big achievements, big hurts, big happiness ... missing all the little stuff ... the little stuff that actually fills my life.
I once owned a book called Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It has one of those glitzy titles ... one meant to catch the casual shopper. And it caught me, but it does have a great message. I can't find the book now, but I remember the first time I read it. I thought, "Wow, great idea, slowing down the pace of your life, paying attention to the everyday activities, enjoying the moment, focusing on the now." And then, of course, in one of my fits of cleaning I pitched the book. I wish I hadn't. Now I have to get another copy.
I know can find happiness, satisfaction, contentment in the everyday activities of living if I focus on the everyday things that give me happiness and satisfaction and contentment. I did alittle of that focusing during "beach week" ... the week when my family went to the Outer Banks and I remained home. In previous years I ruminated for a whole week on what I was missing - the whole darn week!! This time I focused on my walks, on my visit with friends, on my knitting group, on Tai Chi, on my cats who were thrilled with my undivided attentions. Yes, I still missed my family, and the grand dogs, and the missed the fun of the sand and the ocean, but I was able to live with what I had rather than what I didn't. I focused on the smaller contentments rather than the big missed vacation. It was a happier week.
The challenge is how to apply that focus to the whole of my life - not just one week.
Writing this blog has helped me see the daily events in my life differently. Walking, pets, hobbies, writing! I had a huge response to my posting on feeding the wild birds and the squirrels. Birds and squirrels are such a small part of my life, but when I think back on it - focus on it, I realize they are so much more. They have provided endless hours of entertainment for my 2 cats and my mom. I can't tell you how many times my mom says "oh, look at the red bird" - like it is the first time she has seen it instead of the tenth time. And the cats think of my deck slider as "TV for Cats". They love staring down the squirrels (and everyone is pretty brave with solid glass between them). And I have learned so much about the kinds of birds that reside in my neighborhood. I have identified almost 20 so far. And writing about my experiences was great fun and seemed to provide entertainment to others. A small thing that was bigger than I thought.
And then there are the things in life that are minimized and overlooked, but are huge when they are at risk of being taken away ... like vision and reading. In a previous posting about reading more, I commented on my husband's reduced vision. Certainly neither one of us ever thought for a moment that one of us would loose the ability to read. Reading is like breathing, after all. You just do it. You were lucky enough to be given the gift of reading as a child, you've done it all your life, you assume because you can do it now you will always be able to do it. It becomes minimized over time compared with the other things in your life. And so you forget to appreciate it, to view it as important, to see it as an immensely vital part of your daily living.
It is small.
Until you don't have it.
Small stuff ... appreciate it!