Graham Nicholls, the founder of the Priority Academy, posted this on Facebook today:
“We often offer more kindness to others than we do ourselves, but how much true kindness can we give if we don’t offer it inwardly first? ‘Kindfulness’ is the art of taking that present moment to be grateful, loving, and forgiving to ourselves, to be grateful to our heart for its compassion, to love the part of us that wants to give and contribute and to forgive ourselves when we don’t quite get it right.”
(Find out more about him here.)
How right that is!
How many times do we really take the time to notice, pause, and immerse ourselves in the little things in life that bring us joy and celebrate ourselves in the small victories we accomplish?
This year, on a global scale, our whole lives were disrupted due to COVID-19. I was fortunate to be able to work from home, teaching virtually from mid-March through mid-June. Initially, I took the time to relish being at home. Quite honestly, as an introvert, it was a much-needed recharge from the daily crush of students, coworkers, and other social demands.
As we are slowly returning to the “new normal” and expected to go back to school this fall, I have found uncomfortable feelings bubbling up in my little corner of the world that I carved out over the last several months. I am already mourning my loss of time to do all the little things I have been doing to bring myself joy.
You see, in addition to teaching from home, I had the time to indulge in all those little things I told myself I never had the time to do before. I told myself that because I was teaching all day, commuting, doing laundry and housework, cooking, and fulfilling social obligations, I was too drained and exhausted at the end of each day to make that time.
Since the pandemic started, I’ve been writing poetry and articles, practicing meditation and yoga regularly, learning Italian on Duolingo, and earned my Reiki Master certification. Instead of plodding through each day, and only doing what was necessary to earn a living, keep up with what was required and expected, I carved out time for the little things that bring me joy.
Last night, on a weeknight, I stayed up late to view the Neowise comet with my husband. As a bonus, fireflies were blinking out their bioluminescent signals in the dark of our front yard as we searched the sky. Despite being up past my bedtime, I could not contain the sheer joy of pausing, witnessing, and pondering. I felt so vast and so tiny at the same time as we gazed into the depths of the universe.
That is the feeling I want to feel every day; there is so much potential, so much “magic,” so much to be discovered.
But, I cannot spend my life on the front lawn of my home, gazing at comets in the dark. Perhaps, though, I can recreate that feeling in the little wonders in my everyday life.
I am talking about opening the door to smell the fresh, earthy scent after a thunderstorm and feeling the air’s electricity. Or petting my cat and hearing him purr (we are on borrowed time, he is battling cancer) without thinking of the 50 other things I could be doing.
Letting my favorite music reverberate through my body instead of letting it be background noise. Losing myself in my husband’s arms as he hugs me instead of pulling away to finish the dishes. Or tasting my favorite meal—savoring every bite instead of shoving the food down and not even remembering the flavor.
So often, our minds are everywhere else but here. Paying attention, in the moment, to all the “little things” is meditation in itself.
I can no longer tell myself, “I don’t have time to meditate.”
Every act, every moment, has the potential to be a little joy if we pause to enjoy it. If we practice “kindfulness” with ourselves.