Is ‘Sweating the Small Stuff’ Really a Problem?

‘Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things’.

I was thinking about how we go through our days, months and years; how we cope with life and the pressures we bear at times. We try to be diligent and concern ourselves with the rights and wrongs going on the world; what will happen about Brexit – how will the actions of President Trump impact upon us – what about global warming – the economy – the NHS – slipping standards in behaviour – the gloomy news we listen to everyday? I could keep adding to this never ending list…..

Throughout the day or week, your routine is most likely set and the little things happening during that time are the ones that are making a difference.

Last Sunday, I was invited to a service of  remembrance at the local church. This was held in the early evening – and although it was Remembrance Sunday this was an additional service held for all those who had lost someone close to them in the last year. It was a way of honouring the memory of a loved one recently departed, and a chance to give thanks for their life: ‘A gentle service to remember loved ones no longer with us.’

The service was very moving and conducted by the ministers with love and grace. It gave everyone time. Time to reflect and think about those we loved and lost, in a calm and peaceful environment. Towards the end of the service we were invited up to the altar to add a flower to the cross laid at the front, together with a lighted candle. As we returned to our seats and the lights were dimmed we sat quietly in contemplation for a while, before saying goodbye and going out into the dark night.

The service was beautiful for so many reason. As I had watched everyone walking up to lay a flower for their loved ones, I realised again, that all we really want in this life is to love and be loved. Just as the flowers thrive with the warmth of the sun and the gentle rain, so we thrive when we are loved. We may feel bereft when we lose someone very dear to us, but we can reflect on all the love we shared with that person and be glad. Love is at times, responsible for causing us heartbreak and pain as well as great joy, but without it we are lost. And when we show love and receive love we don‘t really need to worry about the bigger picture – the big wide world; it is the small things in life that matter.

I watch cookery programmes often; with each new series of Masterchef or The Great British Bake-Off I get drawn back into the show and get to ‘know’ the latest contestants and their particular way of doing things. I watch as they sometimes dissolve into tears when a soufflé sinks or a casserole burns  and it is easy to get into a cynical way of thinking and judging, and then I wonder why? It’s good to get passionate about cake! It may not change the world but a good slice of cake can make someone’s day!

We are all striving to be the best we can be – to make something of ourselves and our lives and there is nothing wrong with that. If we feel bound to make a difference to the world then we should go for it! Where would we be without explorers and pioneers in every field; those who work relentlessly and discover new drugs and new ways of healing? There are so many people struggling tirelessly to help people and to care for those who need it most. They are often the people too, who still find time to stop and enjoy the small things in life.

So when we focus on the small things, the little things that concern us, I don’t think it is a bad thing. Of course, we don’t want to get stressed particularly, about blocked drains (me at the moment) or being cut up on the motorway or any of the daily annoyances that beset us all from time to time. But stopping to study the new shoots on the trees or listen to the birds can only ever do us good.  Throughout the day or week, your routine is most likely set and the little things happening during the time are the ones that are making a difference.

It’s worth noting that the good feeling we get from taking some freshly baked bread from the oven or watching a child jump and play, is far more heartening than studying a politician arguing in a debate on the news, no matter how important the topic!

The good small things for me:  

Waking up and feeling good – making porridge the Cornish way.

Good hair days! A cup of tea in my favourite angel mug. My sister’s dog, Willow Writing a poem I am happy with. Going to the beach. Cooking a chocolate cake. Listening to Clifford T. Ward – listen to ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad’it’s beautiful. Laughing with friends. Messages from my sons. ❤️❤️ Christmas movies. Looking at photos of my mum and dad. Listening to my husband singing along to ‘Sounds of the sixties.’ 🎼 Reading to my grandchildren 📖   Life is made up of moments. Collect them and keep them in your heart.    

The magic of starting to focus on these little, but important things, is that you will gradually change from focusing on what is missing in your life, to what is there. And when we feel grateful for what we have, we gradually add to our happiness levels, bit by bit.

      IMG_0071 What small things make you happy? I would love to hear from you.  

Lest we Forget and The Importance of Small Things

It’s been quite a week.

We all woke up yesterday to an era of change. Again.

This year has been interesting. Have we missed obvious signs pointing to an overall desperate need for change? A lot of us were shocked or surprised by the Brexit result and the American presidential election results, but perhaps we assumed too much. Perhaps we didn’t see the  signs of unrest and dissatisfaction that were simmering away under the surface. And although some of us wanted things to stay the same, history has a way of showing us that this rarely happens; there will always be a new leader with new ideas waiting in the wings, bringing change, sometimes with far reaching consequences.

So much has been spoken. So much vitriol. There has been so much mud slinging and media manipulation. Wherever we live, is easy to feel real despair about the choices that are made in our own countries. The interesting thing is, as human beings we all passionately believe it what WE feel to be right, and cannot always understand other points of view. Of course, it is a good thing that we challenge each other. There have to be opposing views and discussions otherwise we wouldn’t have any hope at all of a fair society. But what do we do when we feel real despair about things over which we have no control? And what do we do when we are frightened about what could lay ahead ?

Maybe we should look to the past and ask ourselves what we have learnt, if anything. We need to question things of course. We want to be well informed and up to date with current events, but maybe now we are bombarded with too much information and too much negativity. And how much of the news we are fed is really unbiased? Are we manipulated and led in the wrong direction? I’m talking in riddles here I think, but I don’t want to make this a political rant, that is not what my blog is about and my aim has always been to steer away from politics. It’s more a case of talking about how we deal with where we are now. How do we do that? How do we face a changing world?

Actually, is the world really changing?

No. The people who run the world are changing, but the world still turns in exactly the same way as it always has; the seasons come and go, the moon waxes and wanes; the sun rises and the sun sets. We may not think we can change the way things are done, but we can make a difference if we all look towards a positive future, even if we can’t always see a clear path ahead. And every small act counts. Good things start in your own back yard. We can act kindly to our neighbour, nurture our families and ourselves, and aim to create an eco friendly world.

As we approach Remembrance Sunday in Britain, we wear our poppies with pride and remember fallen heroes; we think of the pain and the loss suffered by so many and remain forever saddened by the terrible inhumanity of war.

I think of unsung heroes. I think of my own uncle who was awarded the D.F.C  – The Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded for acts of valour, courage and devotion to duty- in the second world war. Flying many times in a Lancaster Bomber, he was only nineteen years old when he was first sent to war. He was one of the very few in his squadron to survive the war, and we will never know what he really experienced as he never wanted to talk about those times. The only thing we do know was that he was incredibly brave and a wonderful person who my sons completely looked up to and revere to this day. And he had an amazing sense of humour.

My   grandfather (pictured below) was an Air Raid Warden in Exeter during  the second world war; Exeter was bombed very badly and he witnessed unimaginable sights. He was the very kindest of men, and my mother once told us of how he comforted a young girl who was being herded onto a train to get to safety and was distraught about leaving her dog behind. He gathered the dog into his arms, and smiled at the little girl, assuring her the dog would be just fine with him. This story always brings tears to my eyes; it is often the small acts of kindness that affect us the most.

That brings me to think of today, and the importance of the smaller acts of kindness. Kind words and compassion will never go amiss, whoever sits on the smartest throne,  wears the glitziest crown or rides in the smoothest presidential limousine.

   ‘Never fear; Thank Home, and Poetry, and the Force behind both.’

    ‘All I ask is to be held above the barren wastes of want.’

    Two quotes by English war poet and soldier Wilfred Owen.

What are your thoughts today?

Blessings to you.

 

Arthur Richard Harris  1891 – 1972

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