Appreciating the Small Things
Yesterday I was in my backyard potting herbs for use in my kitchen this summer. After trekking back and forth across my yard a few times to the garage, I started noticing the mock strawberries and clover scattered throughout the grass at my feet. They are there all the time, but I forget them and walk by without a moment’s recognition or acknowledgement. I suddenly became more mindful of my step and tried not to smash the small berries reaching for the sun.
I remembered the mini feasts I’d make of the small wild berries in the yard that were low enough to miss the blades of the lawnmower. I’d sit on the itchy green blanket, contented, eating every small red dot within reach. I thought of the clover necklaces, bracelets and head bands I’d knot together as a child with my grandmother. I recalled the small bouquets I gathered for whomever in my family might accept them.
As a child, there was no flower too small or common to escape my notice. I’ll never forget the bundles of dandelions I so proudly gathered only to have my mom proclaim them “weeds”. I would place the bright yellow poofs in a white styrofoam cup (the only vessel available in her small office) and would wedge them onto her desk amidst the stacks of towering papers and buzzing machines where they mostly went unnoticed. I would traverse the ditches along the gravel road and make many attempts (often futile) to cut the beautiful purple blossoms off the thistles without getting scratched and pricked. The bright blooms themselves were so fluffy and soft and a favorite to bees.
These small things filled my life with presence and joy but, at some point, I lost touch with them.
I wonder, at what point in our lives we stop noticing and appreciating these small things? I guess it isn’t so much a single moment as a slow hardening to life over time. We are hurt, we start to lose trust and faith, we accumulate larger, more expensive things to fill the void and are always looking for what is next, new and better. We are too busy and lose our connection to nature, to earth, to simplicity, to beauty, to truth. We are no longer present in the moment.
So, how do we turn that around?
The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. Like many spiritual guides of its kind, it talks about being in the space in between thoughts. That silent space is your true being, where you can sense the true divine essence that is you.
Deepak recommends meditating for 30 minutes every morning and every night to really find, and become comfortable in, that space. Well that sounds great, but this busy girl (yes, I am making excuses) can’t sit still for that long (even though that is the point). However, I’ve been meditating in my backyard for about 10 minutes in the morning, and I do feel the shift. Even the slightest change can cause waves of difference.
The particular shade of blue in the sky becomes known to me. I really see the birds, squirrels and chipmunks dancing around my yard. The combination of breeze and sun on my skin meld perfectly. My thoughts quiet. I am grounded into the moment.
Such a small change for 10 minutes a day may not seem like much, but it really has created a difference in my day, even after just a few weeks. It helped me again to recognize those small flowers at my feet. And, while it is a very human trait to want to “have them” and remove them from the earth, the small vase of tiny blooms and berries on my desk is a wonderful reminder of the small things that make a life. They call to the center of my being, my true self, and ground me throughout the day.
I hope you find a sacred place to sit still and just be, even if you can only find time for a few moments in your day. And I hope it leads you to the small connections you may have lost along your journey. When you reside in stillness and space the world opens up and reveals itself to you. It has been there waiting for you all along.