Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thought for the Day: It's The Little Things, After All

"Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important.  The reason it's important is that fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn't just ourselves that we're discovering.  We're discovering the universe." -- Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart

Isn't it funny how we need to learn to be kind to ourselves?  How we'll run ourselves ragged for other people and their needs, while we neglect ourselves and our needs until something breaks and we finally become aware?  Why is it that the easiest person to put last is ourselves?

Remember when you were a kid, and it was all you, all the time?  Kids are notoriously self-centered, and I'm not suggesting that's the way to go, but somewhere along the line we're taught that, no, in fact you are not the center of the universe.  We get the message that we should put our heads down, and get busy working.  (And usually, not for ourselves and what we want.)  Talk about taking the fun out of it.

Kids know what they want.  They want an ice cream cone and a trip to Disneyland (at least I did).  Why?  'Cause. 'Cause that's what's fun.  And you know?  There's something to be said for the little things.

I found this great article the other day: 101 Small Pleasure You Can Enjoy Every Day, and it reminded me that when I was a kid, I loved making lists of things I loved.  Rainstorms.  The clean scent of dryer sheets.  Hot tea with honey.  Flirting.  Spinning.  Sprawling on the grass and watching tree leaves spin in the wind.  And then at some point, I stopped seeing the little things, and started worrying about the big ones.  (I don't think I need to be specific here; I think you know what I'm talking about.)

And yet, it is the little things where we can find joy, I'm reminded. Especially when we learn to listen to ourselves.  What starts out as a quiet, timid voice will become louder and clearer when we start listening.

So start making lists of all the little things you love, just for yourself.  Write them down.  Anywhere and everywhere: on scraps of paper, in a journal, in emails and text messages to yourself.  Start listening and noticing, and I think you'll find that joy will start to trickle back into your life.  I have.


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