It only takes a moment to stop, notice something special, appreciate that it existed, and move on with your day. Doesn’t sound hard, does it? It is certainly not very difficult at all, but unfortunately many of us forget to do it often enough. We can easily get so caught up in all of the drama of our daily lives that we lose sight of the small wonders that make life truly worthwhile. I’m talking about times when you hit all the green lights on your way home from work, an old friend calls to catch up, you find the last sweater in your size in the store, someone “likes” a picture you recently posted, the subway pulls up right when you reach the platform (and it isn’t too crowded), someone in the office bakes cookies for no occasion, and you get the chance to see the snow-covered streets before the sparkly white turns gray-brown when mixed with sand and city grime, just to name a few.
Truth is, no matter what major events life brings us, we are all experiencing these simple joys each and every day. It is up to us to bring our awareness to them because they are present even in some of the darkest moments. For example, you can be furious about an argument you had with your partner when you notice the first blossoms of spring on your walk home and appreciate nature’s beauty despite your anger. Or you can be mourning the loss of a loved one when a child engages you in a silly song and you can put aside your deep sadness to enjoy the interaction and smile through your grief.
I’m not saying that we should aim to see the world through rose-colored glasses or overlook the harsh realities that may also be present in our lives because it is important to be cognizant of one’s difficulties in order to work to improve the circumstances. Instead, I’m suggesting that we make efforts to see life for all of its infinite complexities. Nothing is ever all good or all bad, it is always some immeasurable combination of all of the factors that lead to that particular moment/situation. In the end, it just is what it is, exactly the way it should be. When we believe this, we are open to fully experience all that the world has to offer. How you feel and what you want to focus your energy on then becomes your choice, so why not choose to spend some of your valuable time appreciating the simple pleasures in life?
Next up: Chris Smith, Ph.D. on Giving and Taking