Sometimes, the world just moves too quickly. Sometimes, there is too much to do, or too much to think about. Sometimes there is too much noise, too much activity, too many electronics, or too many pressures. Sometimes, there is too much drama or just too much talking.
Sometimes, less is more
But, it is tough to know how to do less. After all, we can’t just tell our bosses or teachers, “no,” when job responsibilities or homework assignments are expected. We can’t just tell our band director that we can’t do the band concert this week or we can’t tell our boss that an important project is not a priority.
Sometimes, it is important to turn things off.
Maybe we turn off our phones for a few hours when we are watching a movie with our family, or when we are spending time with other friends. Maybe we turn down the music in the car and take a few minutes to enjoy the glorious silence. Maybe, before bed, instead of finishing our last round of Candy Crush on our phone, we take a few deep breaths to reflect on the day and consider the good things that happened.
Sometimes, it is about the small things
Sometimes, it isn’t about getting rid of the responsibilities or the things we feel are stressful. But it is about letting more of the good stuff in. Because all of those things that we do to keep ourselves from feeling stress (like electronics, running from place to place, numbing ourselves from our feelings) also keep the good stuff from getting in.
It’s about making room for small, meaningful moments
It’s about checking in with ourselves, and asking ourselves how we are feeling (and how much we are feeling) throughout the day. It’s about taking time to reflect upon and drink in the silence when it occurs. It’s about noticing the good around us more, and doing things with intention, not just because we have to or because we are trying to fill a space. It’s about remembering to breathe. Not just the normal in and out kind of breathing, but the slow, deep breaths that sustain us and nurture us. It’s about allowing those breaths that fill our lungs with goodness and expel the tough feelings into the world to be recycled into something better or gentler. It’s about giving ourselves a few minutes of silence every day to notice, to be, to enjoy.
It’s about remembering the good things
It’s appreciating the smiles from a friend you didn’t expect to see first thing Monday morning. Or the way your dog cuddles your leg when you sit in your favorite chair. It’s about the smell of new markers when you use them the first time, or the smell the air has after it rains. It’s the sound of the birds on a sunny day or the crickets in the evening. It’s the way your softest, oldest sweatshirt feels after a hard day at work or school. It’s the way warm sand feels between your fingers and toes.
Those little things, those beautiful moments, are the big things
They are the things that help us enjoy our world and our lives. They inspire us to do kind things for others or be compassionate for ourselves. They help us smile and remember our purpose or our own intentions in life. They anchor us when the scary things weigh us down, and strengthen us when uncertainly knocks on our door. They comfort us when the pressure is high.
So, in this journey, this life we are living, find the little things. Find the moments of gratitude. Find the spaces between the tasks, the responsibilities, and the pressures. Find the small joys, the simple things. Find the things that fill you up and nurture you. Notice the times when you are calm and when you are at peace.
They are the difference between getting by and living well.