Small Things

Some days it’s hard to find something to write about. Not because there’s nothing good or beautiful in my day, but because the things that are there are small, common, or specific to me. They don’t seem “big” or “important” enough to write and post about here.

Then I remember why I started this site. And I look at the news and all the negativity and “doom and gloom” in the world today. I needed reminders there were good things to be found. Friends, family, and other people I know needed pops of joy and beauty in their lives.

The whole reason for this site is to show people that even when everything looks bleak, when things are falling apart, joy and beauty still exist. It might be tiny and hard to see unless you’re looking for it and seeing it, we feel better. And when we feel better, we’re kinder, more understanding, and more patient and accepting of others.

It’s a small thing, yet it isn’t. Because we affect everyone we come into contact with even if it doesn’t seem like it. So if we’re kinder, understanding, patient, and accepting, we spread a little bit of that beyond ourselves. That person we interacted with may interact with someone else differently and spread our influence to someone else. So while most of us can’t make big changes in the world on our own, together – by doing little things – we can have a much bigger impact than we think we can

So I’ll keep pointing out the small things. Because they matter. You matter. And we can make a difference. Together we can make the world better moment by moment, person by person.

Awe in Frustration

I’m working out at the gym more often lately. I’m not seeing big progress yet. What I am feeling a lot is sore and challenged. Things I did without thinking when I was younger are difficult, or even out of reach of my current abilities

It’s frustrating. And I could let it get to me, let it discourage me. Sometimes it does. But I often choose to look at it differently. I’m in awe of how my muscles and joints work, amazed at how I took it for granted when I was younger.

The difficulty and the soreness I have now reveals the intricacy of how everything works together. I might not like the way my body looks or feels right now. But I can still see and appreciate the beauty of how muscles tendons, and ligaments work together.

And there is one place where small progress is really big progress. About a decade ago, before I had health insurance, I separated my shoulder. I didn’t get it treated, never did physical therapy. And my mobility and range of motion in the shoulder has been bad ever since. My trainer had a similar injury at one point. So she’s been giving me exercises that help increase my range of motion and mobility in that shoulder. I don’t notice it too much when I’m working out. But every so often, I reach up or out with that arm and am struck by just how much the mobility and range of motion have improved. That excites me even when I’m exhausted or hurting during a work out.

Reminding myself that the soreness I feel after workouts is the muscles repairing themselves and getting stronger makes it easier to deal with. Appreciating what the human body is capable of when I have difficulty with an exercise keeps me from getting overly frustrated. And it reminds me of my goals, of what my body will be able to do eventually.

What about your body created moments of awe for you?

When Darkness Looms

There are times when I have difficulty finding something to write about here. I’ve had a bad day, or maybe a so-so day. Or maybe I can’t think of something I haven’t already written about. Maybe nothing has sparked for me recently or I haven’t had that moment
of beauty, joy, or love.

And then I realize that love and soul aren’t always beautiful or joyful. Sometimes they are ugly and hard. And that’s a truth we don’t acknowledge often. We shove it out of sight and pretend, at least in public, everything is lovely and easy.

It’s okay for things to be difficult. It’s okay to struggle to find the positive, the beautiful, they joy. It’s okay to acknowledge things aren’t perfect, or even good. It’s human to lose sight of the little lights when the darkness makes everyday life a challenge.

I find a quiet kind of joy in knowing that by sharing my difficulties, my imperfections, I may help someone else realize they’re not alone. It’s hard to be human, to have human frailties and weaknesses, when we see everyone’s edited lives online.

There’s a beautiful symmetry in finding a topic for this post as a result of admitting I was having difficulty finding something beautiful and joyful to write about. And my writing about it, thinking it through, sharing my humanity, how I feel has changed. I was feeling blah/meh when I started writing. As I’ve written, my mood has lightened, I’ve relaxed, and I feel better about myself and more optimistic.

Admitting and accepting our frailties, our imperfections, is a reflection of our love and our souls. Not always joyful and beautiful, but always capable of returning to those states.

Guilty Pleasures- Happy Tears Binges

Sometimes we need to experience something comfortable, something that makes us feel good and hopeful. The news is bad, work was frustrating or infuriating, we’re sick, depressed, or exhausted. We don’t want to think, maybe can’t think. We don’t want something new or exciting.

Some people turn to favorite movies. Some, like me, tend towards favorite books. With streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, and others, many people are turning to binging series. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t require individual attention – you can do other things at the same time, or let your attention wander.

It gives our minds and souls time to rest, relax, and renew. It can help us remember there are good things and good people out there when we need it. Shows like Queer Eye, The British Baking Show, The Voice, and Dancing with the Stars are some of my go-to’s.

Do I tell everyone that I watch them? No. They are my guilty pleasures. Sometimes they bring me to tears – not sad or angry tears, but what I call ‘happy tears.’ They’re the tears that come when someone touches they’re dreams, when a life is changed for the better. They’re the tears that make you feel better.

And that’s the point. There’s enough negativity in the world that we have to deal with. We need those comfortable, comforting, and uplifting pleasures in our lives – guilty or not! We need to take the time – a few hours, a day, a weekend – to recharge and renew our souls, as well as our bodies.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?

Clouds

We’ve been seeing a lot of clouds in central Texas lately. Not a lot of rain, but partially cloudy and overcast days. It’s nice because it cools the temperatures down and it’s been hot here. But that’s not why I find beauty and joy from the clouds.

Partially cloudy days are wonderful. The white and gray clouds against the bright deep blue sky and be beautiful. And finding the shapes and images in the clouds is fun. And it teaches me something about the state of my own mind and soul. If I can’t find the images, I know I’m too stressed or tired and I need to rest, relax, and be kind to myself.

Overcast days are often harder to appreciate, especially because the humidity they bring. But there are times. A light overcast diffuses the bright sunlight. It makes landscapes and surroundings look like paintings or dreams, at least to me. And then there are the storm gray clouds. They look angry and dark, but that particular shade means we’re going to get rain – and rain is almost always welcome here!

Sometimes overcast clouds make me want to curl up under a blanket, in front of a fire, and read. And that’s a comforting, relaxing, contentment. That’s my idea of a quiet, everyday, joy. If those clouds make me feel sad or depressed, I know I need to take some self-care time. I don’t, in those times, see beauty in the clouds, but they show me the needs of my soul.

What do clouds say to you?

Time

Time is a funny thing. We’ve measured out 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. Time, as we measure it is objective.

But time as we experience it is anything but objective. Minutes, hours, days, and even years fly by or stretch out seemingly unending. The times we most want to hold on to slip through our fingers like sand. And stretched time is often filled with anticipation, fear, or despair.

Yet if we measure those seconds, minutes, and hours, we find they don’t total up to what we think they should.

How can time be so subjective? How can it be discretely measured and yet so fluid simultaneously?

I think there’s a beauty in this kind of paradox. Different ways of seeing things and dimensions of how we perceive them. For me, these paradoxes touch on the heart and soul of what the thing presenting the paradox is.

Time is a perfect example. We can, and do, quantify it. Yet it often seems to contradict the set quantification we give it. We know time, yet we don’t. To me, that’s the beauty of it. We don’t know, and we don’t know just what we don’t know.

Necessary Luxury

Is luxury beautiful?

It can be. Imagine a morning, laying in bed. You stretch slowly. You fell asleep without worries or thoughts of things that need to be done. No alarm disturbed your sleep. Your mind and body are rested and ready to start the day that has no demands but those you want to accomplish.

Does that sound like luxury? It does to me. It’s a luxury I try to give myself as often as I can – usually one day of my weekend.

And it’s beautiful. It’s self-care and self-love. It recharges my soul.

Beauty, love, soul.

Recharging yourself – your soul, your body, your emotions – is just as important as finding beauty, love, joy, and soul in the world. Recharging yourself lets you help others. You can help them recharge. It’s easier to see the light in the world, to take action to bring light into the world where and when it’s needed.

It doesn’t have to be a day without alarms and plans. It can be a bubble bath, an evening spent with friends. It can be a long run, a meandering drive. A music festival or an hour spend alone in nature. It is whatever soothes your soul. Whatever recharges your emotional and physical energy.

You can’t work to make things better, can’t see the best, the light in the world, if you’re running on empty. Take the time – make the time – to recharge. To experience the necessary luxury, beauty, or recharging.

Your heart and soul will thank you. And so will the world around you that you touch.

Finding Light from Outside

There are times when finding beauty, love, and joy in our own lives is difficult. Nothing seems to be going quite right. The weather is less than optimal, maybe even dreary. Our mood just can’t, or won’t, see the points of brightness in our own existence for a time.

We may need to look outside ourselves to find that spark to kindle our own light. In times when news and politics only darken the work, where can we look?

We can look to our family and friends, to those acquaintances on social media we consider friends, or people we admire. Among them, we can find the pleasures, triumphs, and joys they are experiencing. And in these, we can find our light.

It is not our own light, beauty, or joy, but it is those those things all the the same. Any eye can see beauty. Joy can be, should be, shared. And light grows when more people share it. Those who care for us, those who share such things where we can see them, are sharing them with everyone. They do not begrudge us being lifted from our own darkness by what they share.

So when you have little light, joy, or beauty in your own life, take head of the light in the lives of others. Use it to spark your own. Then share it for the next person who needs something to kindle their brightness.

Not Invisible

Find the Soul is a project that I started, then set on the back burner. It wasn’t intentional, but life got in the way.

Wait

Stop

Rewind

Find the Soul is a project I started and then I *let* life get in the way. When it could have done the most good, I put it off. But I never completely lost sight of it. And it’s time to wake it up. Because I’m not the only person who needs the reminder that there’s good out there.

A lot of us need that reminder right now. And not just now. Everyday, every minute, someone is looking for that one thing, that small bright spot that tells us things can be, will be, better eventually.

But better doesn’t happen until someone takes action. It doesn’t have to be a big action – but it does have to be something. A pebble, in the right place, at the right time, can keep a flood from happening. And the pebble may never know the difference it made.

I am a pebble. I’m taking action. I’m not taking a big, public, dramatic stand. I’m putting pebbles and twigs in place to turn a flood – or create ripples – I may never see. And I know there are others out there doing the same. I know there are people out there who need the one tiny light to show them darkness is not all there is to look forward to.

There is beauty and love out there. There is soul in the world even when it appears it’s been lost. I can see it if I look for it. I’ve seen it before.

So it’s time to start looking, start seeing, again. And it’s time to share it. It’s time to make a start, however tiny, however invisible, it may seem.

Because beauty, love, and soul are not invisible. I am not invisible. You are not invisible.

We make a difference.

We see the beauty.

We share the love.

We are the soul that needs to be seen.

Clean Sheets

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring comfort and joy. Simple things like clean sheets on the bed.

The crisp, clean, soft feeling of sliding between sheets just put on the bed straight out of the dryer is a simple pleasure. It’s not one single thing about it, but lots of little things that we often can’t quantify.  That inability doesn’t make it any less special, enjoyable, or comforting.

It’s a common thing – not an everyday occurrence, but commonplace enough to be considered and everyday experience.  And yet, it’s special in it’s own way. That first night after putting new sheets on the bed, I always sleep better than the nights that follow. I wish I knew why.

Maybe, deep down, it reminds me of home and family, of an earlier time when I had fewer worries and responsibilities. I do know it helps reduce my stress and insomnia. Who would think something so simple and normal could make a sizable difference?

How do you sleep in clean sheets? What dreams do you dream?