If you go through life with a Teflon coating, you miss out. So often it’s a matter of incorrectly thinking we have too much to do to take the extra time to enjoy our surroundings. Too much to do? That supposition deserves a second look.
Where does: choosing how you live, so as to have a life filled with pleasure and happiness, rank on your TO DO list? For most of us, sadly, it might not even make it onto our list at all. As parents is that the lesson we want to teach our kids? Should we model a life where drudgery rules and playfulness is squelched in the name of efficiency. Maybe that’s the way we are living, but don’t we all want better for our kids? You, and the way you enjoy life (or not), are the best indicators of how your children will handle their adult lives.
And honestly, I would argue that much of what one misses/lets slip by unnoticed, takes little or no extra time.
- Paying attention to how good something tastes – no extra time.
- Listening to the neat-o sound the sprinkler makes – no extra time.
- Taking note of how nice a slippery bar of soap feels as it glides along your face – no extra time.
- Inhaling deeply the smell of fresh laundry as you switch a load from washer to dryer – no extra time.
Share these sensual pleasures with your children. Try never to miss the opportunity to point out and talk with them about cool stuff that you see, feel or smell. As you do so, you will experience the stimulus so much more strongly. So will they. Noticing all the cool things which are always surrounding you, is a wonderful habit to pass along to them! And as an added bonus, in no time they’ll be pointing out cool things for you to notice.
OK, so the chatting about all the cool things you notice, does take time. What else were you planning? Perhaps to be on your phone? Or maybe deep in a day dream? Both of those activities leave your child waiting for you to tune back into them and their life. Don’t ever forget that your day to day responsibilities, errands, To Do’s, chores, etc….that’s their childhood!!
And if it’s not the time crunch that causes us to miss noticing a thousand small pleasures a day, it’s often that our mind is distracted. We miss the here and now as we replay the past or fret about the future. We’ve all experienced spending too much time thinking and rethinking a subject. I’m suggesting that you turn off that virtual video loop that plays endlessly in your head. But, you have to decide to pull yourself into the here and now. Noticing life, noticing Spontaneous Smileys, is an excellent way to turn off the distracting, internal chatter.
Be porous. Soak up every delicious, fragrant, soft, beautiful moment. Eat your strawberries slowly. Pay attention to just how good the tingly toothpaste and scratchy toothbrush feel on your gums. When you step out the front door each morning, inhale deeply, there’s bound to be something interesting on the wind. Even a stinky smell is interesting! Appreciate how great it feels to scratch an itch or rub a tired muscle. Search for the beauty and the joy in the objects and activities of your life. It’s there, always. You just have to decide to notice!
And, if you think there’s nothing beautiful to enjoy in the places you inhabit each day, I challenge you to look again. Rusty stuff=beautiful. Water running in the gutter=beautiful. The flicker of the light in a subway tunnel=beautiful. Peeling paint=you guessed it, also beautiful. All so beautiful.
Smile. Be Happy.