What do you cherish in your life?
When we are asked this question, the usual impulse is to list the big-ticket items, priceless and powerful aspects of life such as family, intelligence, and love. Some may cherish physical objects of great sentimental or monetary value. Some may be focused on physical beauty or great talents. All of these are, of course, wonderful. Who wouldn’t cherish any of the above listed blessings?
But, just as we sometimes hit obstacles that force us to take things day by day to get by, focusing only on the big-ticket blessings can actually make a person lose sight of the amazing experiences that we take for granted every day. We remember to say “don’t sweat the small stuff,” but often forget to remember to appreciate the littlest things.
A few days ago, I woke up and realized that I had managed to fall asleep in such a way that I was actually feeling no pain. It was an amazing thing, and I stayed where I was and reveled in what it was like to be temporarily without pain! Luxury!
There are little moments in our days when something, sometimes something microscopic in the scheme of things, is perfect. Far too often, we gloss over those things because we are caught up in something else – Facebook, worrying about our day, chronic pain. This is not to say that those things aren’t valid or important, just that perhaps we could do ourselves a favor sometimes and acknowledge the tiniest joys in life.
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, and like many of my fellow Gen-X geeks, I loved Twin Peaks. One lesson I learned from the show (aside from making sure there’s not a fish in the percolator), is to give yourself a gift each day.
That’s right, give yourself a present. But, and this is important, the present doesn’t have to be something you spend money on. It doesn’t have to be something physical. It can be something as tiny as taking the time to enjoy watching a squirrel scamper about in a park, inhaling the scent of old books, or humming your favorite tune. It is giving yourself permission, even if only for a fleeting moment, to remember the pure joy that exists in the world.
I am not saying we should forget the multitude of problems in this world that need fixing. I am not saying that we should ignore it when things go wrong. We have a responsibility as human beings to look out for one another and to stand up for the rights and safety of ourselves, each other, and our planet. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a second to marvel at a butterfly gliding past, or to revel in the luxury of having a brand new toothbrush.
To encourage myself to notice the tiniest moments of happiness in life, and to encourage others to do so as well, I am proposing a project to come up with one of life’s little joys each day, and share with friends.