The Great and the Small
A close friend made a comment the other day, which set me to thinking. He noted that we stop noticing. We go through our daily lives oblivious to much that surrounds us that we couldn’t do without, or at least, would struggle in its absence.
So many things support us each second of every day, and we don’t register their existence, let alone feel grateful. In fact, too many folks spend their day in constant complaint, only seeing the lack and blind to the bounty.
When was the last time you stopped and noticed?
When you hung your coat on the hook so conveniently there for you? When you switched on a light in the dark? When you turned the key that locks the door that keeps you safe? When you took a deep breath of fresh, life-giving air?
Our human condition seems to dictate that we see the bad far more readily than the good. We remember the negative for longer too.
How many of us complain about the potholes in the road and miss the fact that the road is there in the first place? Yes, an ill-repaired road is an inconvenience and can damage our cars, but at least we have a road to use. The next time you drive anywhere, take a moment to reflect on what that same journey would be like without the modern convenience of a motorised vehicle and a road.
How long would it take you? Would it be a dangerous journey? Could you drive to work/run your errand without it? Or would it just be too ridiculous a prospect for you to consider?
Usually, we do notice the big things. However, it’s the small things that make the most difference to our existence and experience. If we go through life feeling that we don’t have enough, or that we want more of this, that, or the other, we will never feel truly satisfied. Something will always feel as though it is missing.
To find contentment, I had to face that within that believed that I (and my life) were, in some way, inadequate. In paradox, I had to give up everything to find the greatest riches. In having nothing, and wanting nothing, my cup overflowed. What an awesome way to live!
These days, gratitude and joy offer me constant companionship. That’s not to say I don’t wobble from time to time. I do. I’m only human. The difference is that the state of contentment and happiness make the baseline that I return to constantly. The point from which I depart and return and live my life.
When we look through the filter of gratitude, everything is enough. Whether great or small, we’re grateful for it all. Not only that, once we stop complaining, we see solutions.
Just yesterday, my neighbour came to call. In the house eaves, I have swallows nesting, and over the course of their summer occupancy, they’ve left a great mess with their poop. My visitor noticed this when she walked past and, knowing that I cannot climb ladders due to my disability, she went home and returned with a bucket of soapy water and other cleaning bits and bobs while her husband carried their long ladders. (Only after asking if she could clean it for me, I might add. Not at any point did she take anything for granted.)
Instead of moaning at me and telling me that I couldn’t leave the wall and sills in that state, especially expecting visitors as I was, she took care of it. I cannot express the depth of my gratitude for that simple act of kindness and generosity. And, I’m equally grateful that the swallows have found a home in my home. I could, of course, only see the mess they make (and the noise at five AM). However, I’d far rather enjoy their company and see the beauty of nature all around.
More important still, is that I can live with the actual instead of hankering after the ideal. Unable to physically do anything about the mess on high, I let it go. A far cry from the perfectionist I used to be. A world away from the gal who would have minded.
In the wise words of Zen:
‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough.’
If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: https://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/ 🙂