Today I felt led to write this post about little things. Since I have had back problems for several years now, I know there are some things I cannot do without having pain sooner or later. A little back ache after being on my feet for hours without rest tells me that I need to sit and rest my back.
It takes a lot of energy and a few days to get several cleaning jobs done. I have a housekeeper once a month who mops and cleans the floors and carpets and any other chore that might make trouble for my back. These are little activities for any homemaker. But for me they are big things.
When I was younger it was a little thing to carry heavy boxes when my husband and I moved. When I worked 12 hour shifts in the hospital and turned and helped lift heavy patients. I thought it was a part of my occupation to do these jobs.
A few years ago I had abdominal surgery and later that year Achilles tendon surgery. I had to have help for at least a week both times. I couldn’t even do the little things like empty my cats’ litter box or cook.
Thankfully I had two sons and their wives who came in and helped for about a week. My neighbors brought meals for me, emptied my cats’ litter box and one drove me to physical therapy once a week for a month. They counted these kindnesses as little things. I counted them and was thankful for, (as I saw them) big things.
I understand more about illness, pain, dependency, even aging from what I lived through earlier and more recently. Sometimes it’s the little things that are really big things. The little things can teach us lessons, just like the big things that happen in life.
I love my home but sometimes have only a certain amount of energy. Some days I can go strong like yesterday when I got so many little errands accomplished. It’s funny how just getting those little things done made me feel so exhilarated, happy and strong. Little things make a difference. I even have hope that my back was getting better.
This morning I noticed that the toaster hadn’t been cleaned off in months. So I pulled out the little trays and washed them and the exterior surface of the toaster. Then I noticed the can opener also hadn’t been cleaned in a while. So I soaked the little mechanism that cuts the lid for a few minutes and wiped it off. Two little things done in less than 15 minutes. Boy, was I on a roll!
Have you ever watched a little spider spin a huge web? How amazing that it is that that little creature can remember or know by instinct how to throw the first anchor lines; then the outer boundary lines connecting the spokes; make the center and so on.
Amazing still is that the spider dots a gluey substance along certain lines and not on others! They somehow know with their poor vision (I checked Google) know which threads are sticky and which are not. How can a little insect make that much web and know where to step and where not to step?
This is how! You don’t have to watch the whole thing, but just the little bit at the first will amaze you. Warning I couldn’t decrease the size of the video. Just skip the following if you freak out over spiders. I do apologize.
Then there are the tiniest of birds, the hummingbird, who can catch a bug on the wing; build a nest and care for 2 to 3 tinier babies. See video for fun.
A child’s little smile or laughter can set me laughing. The beauty of a flower; the color of new leaves or fall leaves; seeing my grandchildren after a long time, is a big, little simple pleasure. Have you ever just sat and watched a dragonfly zip around, hover, or light on a car antenna? Any of these simple, little pleasures can bring joy.
During the time of Covid isolation I looked for the simple, little things. Look at the wonder of the little things in nature. We can’t do a lot of the things we want to do so why not try to make the unnoticed the center of your attention.
Another exercise you can do that doesn’t involve jumping or even moving much, is to practice a few minutes of mindfulness. Sit and close your eyes in a quiet room. Feel the air rushing into your lungs when you breathe; notice the tightness in your shoulders, the pressure of your feet on the floor. Your mind can tune into any part of your body and be aware of it more fully.
Then take a look at your loved one(s). Notice the changes in their face; posture; what they are wearing; how they are moving; do they look happy, tired, stressed out?
When you are eating alone and want something to do, glance around at other people (without staring). Notice how they look, if they are enjoying their meal, distracted, stressed. It’s really interesting.
I have been watching “Psych” on Netflix. The show is about a guy who was trained by his father to notice everything when he entered a room. This served the character well in solving crimes for the police department. I wouldn’t say we need to be as exact and observant as he was. But being aware of those little things around you may protect you from crime or an accident.
I’ve heard the saying, “simple pleasures for simple minds.” But the little things can make us happy. The tinier the more amazing. And sometimes making our minds not be wrapped up in problems, stress, hate, anger or lonliness and noticing others around us and the beauty that exists even in the little places sometimes can bring us joy.