We all know the old saying "stop and smell the roses" or "enjoy the small things" - but who has time for that, right?!
We all do.
And not only does it help us to reconnect with ourselves, but with our beautiful Gaia and also our higher selves.
This holiday season I want to help you remember that we do not need to be rushing around and losing focus, or losing ourselves to the chaos that is typically December. With the ongoing pandemic adding to the stress of the holiday season, it is more important now than ever to truly slow down and enjoy the small things.
So what puts a smile on your face? The kind of smile that lights up your day. The kind of smile that can fill the room.
As I sit here on day 10 of being sick (flu, COVID, AND sinus infection?! Ugh!) it feels almost impossible to smile or enjoy my time. But today I have realized that I have lost sight of...well everything! Who I am, how to enjoy life, etc. And it all comes to this one thing - I forgot to enjoy the small things.
Now, adopting this perspective will not prevent unpleasant situations from happening, but it will help to avoid exaggerating their impact on our day-to-day lives.
So what does it mean to truly slow down and enjoy the small things? And what small things could we be even talking about? Is there a wrong and right way to be doing this?!
No, there is no wrong way. I know it is easy to get caught up in racing thoughts and comparisons, and that is the exact reason we do this mindfulness practice. It begins with allowing yourself to be where you are, a peaceful acceptance of self.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” ~Arthur Ashe
The appreciation of small things is invaluable to all aspects of you. By teaching yourself to find something positive in every situation, to actively seek out the good, you can maintain a level of optimism and gratitude even through tough times.
Focusing our attention on what is delightful, nourishing, and sustaining in our lives rather than on what is irritating, upsetting, or painful, is an important part of appreciating the simple things in life. It includes expressing thanks for the small pleasures in life that are easy to miss or overlook entirely.
Self Love and Confidence
Taking time to slow down and pause during your day, practicing this kind of mindfulness, we learn to cultivate self-love and accept ourselves as we are. We learn to demolish the wall created by the ego. There is no longer any external attribute and label that places conditions on our self-esteem. We start to see what is hidden, eternal, and timeless in what we truly are.
Practicing gratitude in everyday life is saying thank you for another day, every time you open your eyes in the morning. Smiling as you open your eyes that first time. Remembering that you have shelter. Appreciating the vehicle that transports you and keeps you safe. Taking a moment to close your eyes while your children are laughing and feeling their joy in your own chest.
Sights and Sounds
Stop and thank the bumblebees buzzing around the spring flowers. Taking a moment outside of your local grocery store to check out the new floral arrangements, or smell the new fruit vendors.
Be in the moment and truly surrender yourself over to it. Stop thinking, stop moving (if possible) and just watch your surroundings. How the wind kicks up the fall leaves. How the birds play in the sky. How your cat's chest rises and falls as they sleep. The way your loved ones smile curls that cute way you like. Just observe every little thing around you. Take notice of even the "insignificantly small" things because they are not insignificant at all. Every little thing put together adds up to you and your life, and you my dear are not insignificant.
Send a Love Note
Now this can be something as simple as a quick text to a friend you haven't spoken to in some time. Maybe a handwritten letter you mail to a grandparent. The art of writing is never lost. And taking time out of your day to sit quietly or with your favorite music and write a letter can be an experience quite like meditation.
We must celebrate all victories, big and small.
When you add the practice of mindfulness and gratitude to your daily routine, you may begin to notice that you start doing it without even meaning to. By conditioning the mind to a mindset of abundance and grace, you train it to see the beauty around you even when you're not doing it intentionally.
The way we view the world around us becomes our reality. So by finding the beauty in your surroundings, there will be more beauty to discover.
"Blessed are those who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing" - CAMILLE PISSARO
So, as you head into the holiday season, I hope you can find some time to enjoy the little things and get your concentration away from the hectic everything you “must” or “should” do.