Developing the art of finding the best aspects of each day of our lives is both an exciting opportunity and a daily challenge. Competing demands on our time and energy can make it hard to pause long enough to notice what is actually happening with the people and the world around us.
I think a great way to start experiencing the best that each day has to offer is to pick out a few very simple and small things to focus on and appreciate. This might start with taking in the beauty of hoarfrost crystals that grew overnight on branches outside your window. It could be a brief smile you share with a total stranger passing on the street, or a few seconds to notice the new leaves or flowers unfolding on a house plant. It could be a moment to enjoy the way a shaft of morning sunlight adds cheer to a room, or how that light plays on the edge of your garden as it makes its way through the trees.
Noticing the little things around us costs nothing, but can yield great rewards. When we practice noticing things and people around us, we are on the way to being able to appreciate them. We may see both the ugly and beautiful qualities of people and things, giving us the opportunity to choose to build on and remember the best, and move past the rest.
Almost all of us like it when we sense that someone appreciates us. Most of us find pleasure in beholding things of great beauty, and very often that beauty is right beside us largely unnoticed. Practicing the art of noticing the little things leads to appreciation, which leads to a sense of connectedness which leads to a reverence and love for the people and things around us.
On February 3rd, we will have a full moon. If there are clear skies a few days either side of this date, take just a moment during the night to take in the way the moonlight shadows dance with the tree trunks and the sparkle of the snow cover.
Even in the dead of winter there are moments of magic waiting to be discovered. We are now best when we practice the art of discovering the best of the things and people around us. When we fail to do this, we short change ourselves.
When we keep practicing this art, people around us begin to notice and respond positively. I think one of the reasons that gardening is America’s most popular hobby is that its a relatively easy way to grow our ability to appreciate things. The beauty of a flower is simple and powerful, and easy to appreciate. This can prepare us to get better at appreciating things in general, like the beautiful red of the Highbush Cranberries in the winter landscape, and the evidence left in the snow of wee creatures feeding on the cranberries.
I believe that the more we practice appreciating the simple things in life, the better equipped we are to appreciate the more complex aspects of life – like the people around us. We are all pretty complex, but also share some simple common ground. I think we all like to be appreciated for our good points, and almost as much appreciate it when people can graciously look past our shortcomings.
Have a great day and discover and enjoy the little things along the way!