Life Is In The Little Things

by Kelly on March 25, 2009 · 22 comments

in Inspiration. Happiness. Self Improvement, Parenting. Relationships

little-things-post“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

- Robert Brault, Author

We have all heard that there is power in the present. This moment, and the little routines and rituals that make up your daily family existence are where happiness is found and memories created.

But how much do you actually APPLY this knowledge in your life?

If you’re like me, you’re always moving forward, assessing how far you’ve come, planning your next move,  and caught in an endless spin cycle of act/think/worry. You know it’s no way to live - this frenzied movement of mind and body - but you persist anyway.

What I am saying is not ground breaking. Eckhart Tolle famously calls it The Power of Now, However, in an over-stimulated world, where there is so much competing for our attention and our energy, it is a message that deserves repeating.

The details of life are where the magic lies

So often we get caught up in work - putting in the extra hours, pitching for that promotion, worrying about deadlines, office politics or how to get more clients. The hours get sucked away. Finally, we switch that channel off, only to start thinking about our goals or personal dramas.

We think and strive and worry and complain - stuck on the idea that if we only had MORE we would be satisfied. More time. More achievements. More freedom. More money. More. More. More. More. More.

I know I’m not alone in saying I want to do a lot with my life. I think I already have. But there is much more I would like to achieve and experience, and sometimes I get caught up in that wanting and planning and the need to “make it happen”. So much so that I lose all sense of time and perspective.

Add to that my always thinking, plotting writer’s mind, and it’s fair to say most days pink elephants could tango across my lawn and I really wouldn’t notice.

The Sleepwalking Parent

The problem is compounded when you’re a parent. Now, you are not the only person to miss out if you speed through life, ticking off goals, pushing forward, stuck on yourself and your ambitions.

Your children pay the price - sitting on the sidelines, waiting for you to notice them. Ever hopeful that you’ll slow down and give them your undivided attention.

I would like to say I am not guilty of taking my son’s love and youthful exuberance for granted, but that would be a lie. What I can say is I am much better at being present in my life than I’ve ever been.

I still hope to be a best selling author one day. I hope to travel to the far reaches of the world and own a holiday house in my beloved Mexico. But I also know none of these goals will matter if Bunny and MusicMan are not there to share them.

img_1096_1_1If I sleep walk through my son’s childhood - not seeing him grow and change, not creating memories to shape his life - there will be no achievements to fill that void. I’ll have failed at the one thing that really counted.

So, as hard as I may find it now, I’ll persevere with learning to stay in the moment. When this is my reward, how can I not?

Do you truly live in the everyday beauty of your life?

Are there any techniques you’d like to share that help you stay focused on the moment and the little things, so they don’t pass you by?

Kelly

Flickr Photo by Lille Abe

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Betsy Wuebker 03.25.09 at 9:25 pm

Amen. What’s living all for if you’re not living? Sadly, most of us have had to focus on doing stuff in exchange for pay that keeps the food on the stove and the lights on. Not a lot of time for mindfulness.

I believe the wave of future business/commerce will be with companies who not only recognize (and there are many who do, but only pay lip service), but actively champion the concept of better integration, less stress, and the value of each moment. We’ve spent the last several hundred years focused on what is termed “making a living” and deferring the now for when we are “retired.” How’s that been workin’ for us?

The little techniques we use to remain focused on the now? They magnify exponentially when we consider the possibilities of redesigning our views on work vs. life. The recession provides lots of opportunities (some not by our choice) to do this. The silver lining with economic difficulty for many will be a newly-discovered appreciation and redefinition of value.

Betsy Wuebker’s last blog post..FORGOTTEN FLORIDA IS UNFORGETTABLE

2 Vered - MomGrind 03.26.09 at 2:09 am

I try to live in the moment. I’m getting better at it as I get older. I think there’s something about approaching midlife (I’m 37) that makes you realize how short and precious life is.

Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..Stay At Home Mom? Protect Yourself Financially

3 Tom Volkar / Delightful Work 03.26.09 at 5:35 am

Just yesterday I got fully immersed in the moment by stumbling off the beaten path. I was taking a walk on a paved bike trail in a park nearby and on a whim I followed the deer trails deeper and deeper into the forest. After 20 minutes of hiking I could no longer hear the cars and the deer begin to just saunter a head of me rather than tails up in alarm. I kept going for a long walk and then I realized this was really a walking meditation and I was fully in the now. The recharge was complete. :)

I know how you are torn Kelly but you’re doing the right thing. I was a workaholic when my girls were young and I now wish that I had your insight when I was your age. Bravo to you Mom!

Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Starting Over

4 Marelisa 03.26.09 at 6:48 am

Hi Kelly: I stop once in awhile and listen to what I’m saying to myself to make sure that I’m not rehashing the past or thinking about something in the future. If I can’t focus on the now because there’s something that’s bothering me I’ll do EFT or the Sedona Method to release the uncomfortable feelings so that I can focus on the now. You know, little kids are very good at living in the now, so watching Bunny might even help you stay present :-)

5 Roz Mitchell 03.26.09 at 8:27 am

Hi Kelly;yes it is so much better to have quality time with our loved ones as that is what makes memories for later keepsakes.
The here and now and tomorrow will take care of itself and it will be what it will be.Non of us know of our life span like a candle it could be puffed out and those left behind those are the memories they will remember.Enjoy the moment;

6 Robin 03.26.09 at 8:59 am

Hi Kel - good stuff! (and thanks for the link). You’ve pointed out so eloquently why we need to be pay attention to what is going on right now.

I find it great when I’m feeling “edgy” (for want of a better description) to just feel my body in the world (say the chair or ground it is touching) - it brings me into present time.

Robin’s last blog post..What If? The Movie, A Review

7 Kelly 03.26.09 at 10:17 am

@Betsy
“The silver lining with economic difficulty for many will be a newly-discovered appreciation and redefinition of value.” - I hope so. I would like to think this is our international wake up call that more money and more stuff and dedicating your life to your job gets you nowhere in the end. Despite your best efforts, it can all disappear overnight. Much better to focus on the relationships and simple experiences that feed your heart and soul.

@Vered
You are not approaching midlife - you’re still young yet! Though getting wiser every day, which is always nice. :)

Kelly

@

8 Kelly 03.26.09 at 10:23 am

@Tom
Your walk sounds lovely. My dad has deer near his house and watching them makes me feel so at peace - they’re incredibly graceful animals. And it is nice to have insight, but you still have to put it into action, and that’s the tricky part, I find. Thanks for the pep up, though :)

@Marelisa
I envy the discipline you seem to have, Mares. You often sound like you have your life so together. And you’re right about Bunny teaching me about being present. In fact, I have found he has taught me so many things. It’s like people are born with wisdom they then unlearn in the world and spend the adult years of their life trying to get it back.

Kelly

9 Kelly 03.26.09 at 10:26 am

@Roz
“The here and now and tomorrow will take care of itself and it will be what it will be” - so true and yet, so often hard to remember.

@Robin
I am a fan of grounding exercises and am actually pretty good at doing them regularly to keep anxiety and stress at bay. My problem is more that I am distracted a lot of the time - managing life in my head, working out plot twists for stories, or trying to figure out the right ngle for a client’s copy writing project. I need to focus more on doing one thing at a time.

Kelly

10 Laurie | Express Yourself to Success 03.27.09 at 12:07 am

When I decided that I had to stop doing so much, I found it was much easier for me to be present. Having too much to do, when really, I didn’t have to, made it easy for me to be consumed by what to do next and what’s left to get done. Having less to do has helped me free up some mind-space and focus on what I’m doing now as well as all the ‘little great’ things.

Thanks for the post; I enjoyed it.

Laurie | Express Yourself to Success’s last blog post..Do We Have to Say What’s on Our Minds?

11 Lisa (mommymystic) 03.27.09 at 4:43 am

Great post. Parenting has really been such a teaching for me in terms of learning how to focus in on the moment. And I thought I was already there, having meditated and ‘practiced mindfulness’ for many years before having kids. The difference is that when doing those things in the past I now see I could control when I did them, so I was still oriented around controlling my time and world. With kids I have had to learn to give myself over to whatever arises, and to focus in on those intimate or happy moments whenever they arise, because they can’t be scheduled, and I know the days when they want that attention from me may be numbered. Thanks for the thoughts-

Lisa (mommymystic)’s last blog post..What is Spiritual Parenting?

12 Evelyn Lim 03.27.09 at 7:30 pm

I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle for the past two weeks. Just listening to his voice is enough to make me feel peaceful.

I am grateful to my kids everyday for just being them. But it also does not mean that I don’t take them for granted or feel frustrated at them sometimes too. Like you, I am also much better at being in the present now as compared to before.

I left my career to be with my kids. I don’t regret it. The time spent with my kids is priceless. I would not also have the opportunity to do what I am doing now, if I had stuck to my previous job in banking.

For most of what I am doing, I try to be present. I used to confine the practice of Now to evening meditation sessions. But I hope to bring an increased level of presence and awareness to moments during the day as well.

May you attain your dreams of being a best selling author, Mexico and the holiday home soon enough!!

Abundance always,
Evelyn

Evelyn Lim’s last blog post..Akashic Records Reveal DreamMaster

13 Cath Lawson 03.28.09 at 3:48 am

Hi Kelly - What a brilliant quote. I have definitely been guilty of not living in the now in the past. It’s so easy to focus on planning the future that you forget about the present. But I have improved a lot since reading Eckhart Tolle and also since I began meditating regularly.

Do you have a lot left to do on your novel before you start looking for an agent? Are you still planning another trip to Mexico first? It would be awesome if you could get a holiday home there - which part would you choose? I loved Mexico - the people seemed so friendly.

14 Jenny Mannion 03.28.09 at 3:52 am

Hi Kelly,

Geesh I THOUGHT I had commented on this — I guess that tells you how PRESENT I am sometimes! ;-) I did comment on stumble so I guess that was what I was thinking about. :-)

I think this is a VERY good post and conscious parenting is so very important. Like you and Evelyn there are times when frustration wins out but I think if we are cognizant and learn from those situations and make those the exception NOT the rule… it is all okay… The only person I have ever raised my voice to (repeatedly) is my 9 year old son. I love him dearly but sometimes we are not in synch and I feel myself getting worked up. Last night I felt it happening and I removed myself from the situation to center. I try and think about what it is that is getting a rise out of me. As we know no one can MAKE you feel any certain way - it is all in how you perceive the situation. Mommy time outs have saved my sanity sometimes and I would rather do that than say or act in a way I would regret more than removing myself. I am learning and the best thing is I am recognizing it sooner rather than later.

I also feel blessed that I have become more present while my children are young because I know this experience only happens once. My daughter turns six next Saturday and WOW has that time flown by!

What helps me is taking time to myself when I am not stressed as well. Time to reflect, time to meditate, time to be with friends or take a long walk…. THIS brings me into the now and afterward I am much happier and WANTING to spend that time with my children — just playing and appreciating them.

I also do my daily gratitude list EVERY morning before getting out of bed which helps me start off the day PRESENT and grateful for all I have. The Power of Now is an important book and one Ray and I have listened to on audio several times.

Thanks Kel, As always amazing writing from a beautiful woman!
Love, xo
Jenny

Jenny Mannion’s last blog post..We Are All Healers — The NEW Basics Of Healing

15 Sami 03.28.09 at 2:35 pm

Hi Kelly,

Robin’s idea of “feeling your body in the world” is a good one and is actually one that Eckhart Tolle suggests for feeling your “aliveness” in his new book “A New Earth” (it’s also a great read).

Something that works for me is honing in and really paying attention to each of my 5 senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. I find this works really well for grounding me and getting present.

Cheers
Sami

Sami’s last blog post..Segment from Whose Line Is It Anyway?

16 Lance 03.28.09 at 8:06 pm

Hi Kelly,

Life is indeed in the little things. And I wonder sometimes if I’m really getting that… Or if life becomes something of a haze as it rushes by.

You’re doing great stuff at a Mom, and experiencing life with a child - what a gift to treasure. Or, whatever it is that makes up the moments of our lives - fully being “there” in them is what it’s all about.

Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

17 Paul Maurice Martin 03.30.09 at 8:16 am

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

Bingo.

I’m in my fifteenth year of a rare and incurable progressive illness, housebound for the last four years and mostly bedridden for the last two. I can say that the quotation is absolutely true.

The things you finally miss the most are the things that people usually take completely for granted. Other rooms, other voices, eating with family and friends - even distance.

Because of a continuous headache that’s light-sensitive and easily turns into a migraine, I have to have the house shuttered up. I have dreams from time to time in which my “eyes” feast on distant objects and horizons.

If I had my health back I’d be so happy over “nothing” that people would think I was crazy.

18 Robert Brault 03.31.09 at 10:52 pm

Kelly,

I scan the web occasionally to see where “Enjoy the little things…” is finding itself. Really pleased to be here. You are no mean aphorist yourself, e.g., “Do you truly live in the everyday beauty of your life?”

Paul, I wish I could offer more than a few comforting words. Please know that there is one more person pulling for you.

Smiles,
RB

Robert Brault’s last blog post..A Thought for Today

19 Kelly 04.01.09 at 5:25 pm

@Everyone
Sorry I haven’t replied to your comments. I feel terrible - such bad manners! I’ve been very busy and forgot I hadn’t replied to comments from this post , so please forgive me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I do appreciate the conversation with my readers, and I will come back and reply to some of you individually later.

Kelly

20 Karl Staib - Work Happy Now 04.02.09 at 12:50 pm

What a great title! It’s funny that you wrote this because I’ve been thinking about how little flowers aren’t given the respect that they deserve. Our society loves the rose and the tulip, but what about that little wild flower that’s no bigger than my pinky nail? No one cares. These little flowers have just as much detail and beauty if we just take the time to look at them.

Karl Staib - Work Happy Now’s last blog post..A Whiny Friend and Lonely in Detroit - Reader Questions

21 Odelia 08.11.09 at 10:59 pm

I just loved that piece! I have a 2 year old son, and many of my days tend to pass me by without realizing what im truly missing out on. But just reading that made me reconsider……..sometimes it’s great to hear it form someone who you can relate to..:)

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