FJITST: Finding Joy In The Small Things, a prescription for life
I’d awakened from a restless night’s sleep, grateful for a day off to repair. The thought came to go for an early nature hike, like I had done yesterday morning at Riverfront Regional Park. I’d gone to mull changes I felt brewing around my steady work for senior living communities. Around my longstanding “gig economy” experience. All week I’d been asking myself what turns me on these days, what would I want a new project or assignment to feel like?!
Who knew a pandemic was on its way… and that this 20 year career of mine would careen off a cliff…
Back to my Riverfront morning hiking tale. I nearly had the park to myself. I began swinging my arms and speeding my gait in the gentle morning sunshine. Again the question arose, what do I want? Then it hit me. “Spontaneity! Feeling more spontaneous!” Being with others in a heart-felt, creative, freely expressing way — connecting, ideas flowing, everybody enjoying the play of improvised, shared moments.
Now it was a day later. And I was still feeling the renewal, alertness, promise, good fortune of yesterday’s aha. I decided to get up and go to Foothill Regional Park –it’s closer! I parked and started for the trailheads. Three adults with a group of a dozen enthusiastic children were here too, all shouting over one another. Best for me to head out in an opposite direction, lol, hoping somehow this Saturday would bestow on me some more quiet listening within.
I walked for 45 minutes, avoiding others’ loud voices or cell phone conversations as I zigzagged down the hillsides, keeping to myself mostly. But five minutes from my car and the parking lot, there in front of me, on our single, very narrow pathway, were two young moms with kids. One had a babe tucked close to her in a harness, the other was carrying a little girl, maybe 3 or 4 years old. They didn’t see me. As they drew close, I called out from behind the trees that a grandma type person was approaching!
Suddenly, we all were standing together in a small area of the woodland near a pond. How lovely they were — like encountering deer. The little girl fastened on me: “What’s your name,” she coaxed with inquisitive eyes.
“Marcia,“ I said. “What’s your name?”
“Melody,” she chimed with clear delight. Using a singsongy voce, I teased whether “melody” was like singing a song? Everyone giggled.
I wasn’t expecting –or prepared — for what happened next. This lovely little angel reached out and placed a small hand squarely, gently, on my left cheek, while she gazed into my eyes. I was transfixed in the sweet gift of the moment. She was the old soul, I the newbie. We simply eye-gazed for a long few seconds, with the others holding the space. Melody took her hand away. Still gazing at me, she announced her name again, in three parts. Her mother let me know I’d just been gifted with knowing her entire name… I was now adopted family.
Melody’s mom then asked her daughter if she remembered what song they had been singing at the Farmer’s Market earlier? Seconds later a chorus rang out, “This Land Is Your Land…my land…made for you and me…”
What a delightful encounter! As we parted, I realized that what had just happened was “beginner’s mind”: a spontaneous, free-spirited, improvised moment to remember in the gig called my Life. Fresh, innocent, non-judgmental, curious — a kind way to Be.
Just what I needed then, and what the doc is ordering now. “What the world needs now, is Love sweet Love. That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” On a recent Sunday morning, I facilitated a program on the Gift of small acts of kindness. That afternoon, strolling near Windsor’s Hembree House, I saw a message on a cement staircase. Written in chalk by some visiting angels, were the words, “Find joy in the small things.” Such serendipities themselves are Messages. I’m listening.
Blessings wished in heaps upon us all, today and every day, and through the metamorphoses taking place in our lives. Shining deLight, Marcia
[Published previously in The Upbeat Times, Santa Rosa CA, June 2020]