As important as those big-ticket items are, I believe it is the little things we see, hear, smell, taste, and experience that make life worth living. No matter what the circumstances of your life might be now, being aware of and appreciating the small things can make you happier and more content.
I am a big fan of Marie Kondo and her book and the Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. She has a unique style of helping people organize the stuff of their lives. She asks her clients to go through everything they own and to only keep the things that spark joy when they look at or think about those items. If you have not done this, try it on a small scale. Clean out a drawer in your home and pay attention to how that makes you feel. You will feel more organized, a little happier and lighter in spirit once you have done it.
If you are worried you won’t know what feels joyful for you, don’t be. It comes instinctually and the spark of joy will be different for everyone. If you take the time to really look at the things in your home and in your life, you might realize what makes you happy and what does not. What things can you live without and what do you need to survive and thrive? What brings you down and what lifts you up?
I am currently looking at a picture of a pumpkin on my refrigerator that my almost 2-year-old grandson colored for me. Every time I look at that scribble scrabble, I think about his cute little fingers holding the fat crayons as he created this masterpiece for his JoJo. My heart grows two sizes.
I have a sign in my dining room that reads "enjoy the little things in life, for someday you will realize that they were the big things." It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. We do not always take the time to stop and notice things like the leaves falling from the trees, the birds at the feeder, the smile of the little boy holding his mommy’s hand at the store, or the feel of our dog begging a pat with her nose. These little things truly ARE life. If we do not stop and pay attention, we will miss the things that make our lives richer and more meaningful.
I encourage you to dedicate one day to purposefully noticing the things that spark joy for you. Write them down or record them on your phone. Ask a friend to do the same and compare notes at the end of the day. Wake up and pay attention to this life you have been given and appreciate the sun as it shines in your window to brighten your day or the smell of the fabric softener that reminds you of home. To get your creative juices flowing, I offer you a poem I wrote several years ago called “The Little Things.”
The Little Things
It is the little things that make us smile,
the mundane things that are worthwhile.
A chirping bird, the warmth of sun,
a loved one’s hug when the day is done.
A delicious meal prepared with love,
the sight of clouds floating by above.
The moon at night shining through the window,
the whistling train, sounding sweet and low.
A cup of tea on a cold winter’s night,
a formation of birds as they take their flight.
A cozy bed at the end of a day,
the pillows all fluffed as if to say ...
… welcome home, now get some rest,
deep restful sleep that is the best.
A crackling fire, a warm strong shower,
a blooming tree, a budding flower.
The ocean waves crashing to the sea,
watching squirrels as they chase through a tree.
A glass of wine shared with a friend,
a book to read at the long day’s end.
A loved one’s voice on the telephone,
coming back from a trip to a place that is home.
Muffins in the oven, tea steaming in a mug,
the cat all curled up cozy on the living room rug.
The sight of the porch light, welcoming us home,
calling us from wherever we roam.
The little things that are worthwhile help make the difficult better.
A handmade item from someone dear, like a painting or knitted sweater.
Life is full of challenging things that are sometimes beyond our control.
We cannot always change the things that we’d like, but the little things help to console.
They bring a reminder of beauty, of peace, of delight, and yes of love.
They give a welcome reminder that the Divine is not just above.
Source is in the little things that bring us joy and hope.
A bird at the feeder, snowflakes on our face, the smell of our favorite soap.
We must be awake to notice them, mindful that they are near.
Someone is using them to whisper to us, “I love you so my dear.”
We at Cheerful Gear are always looking for ways to help you improve your emotional health and we would love to hear from you. Feel free to respond in the comments and let us know what sparks joy for you. Joy can be contagious!