Embracing the simple in difficult times
This is a new world we are living in today. We are trying to answer questions about circumstances some of us have never experienced before, and sometimes the only answer is I don’t know.
The other morning, my youngest daughter asked me if there would be a shorter summer since they shut down the schools in response to the coronavirus, so I took a second to think before I answered with this: This whole situation is new for me, and I have never experienced anything like this before. We are all going to learn and figure it out together though.
Little by little, our conveniences have been temporarily reduced, and it is providing a rare opportunity. We live in a fast-paced world, and there have been so many times in my own life where I feel that I’m getting left in the dust. In this time of global slow down, it seems as if the dust has settled a bit and all of us are forced to slow down as well.
My wife had brought home a large amount of movie theater candies from the store yesterday. This is funny because we are trying to go sugar-free for the season of lent, but things changed for everyone recently. I said, “I guess we aren’t going sugar-free anymore,” and my wife simply replied, “it’s the little joys.”
It’s the little joys.
The simple is such a beautiful starting place for great things. Perhaps that is the gift of this time we are in, a discovery or rediscovery of the little joys on life. Simple does not mean insignificant, neither does a little joy mean little impact. Instead, both are foundational elements of great impact and beautiful expressions of life.
I have been sick the past nine days, so I have been very limited in what I can do and have been unable to be around other friends and family so I knew that I had to come up with a gameplan. Here are some of the ways that I am going to try and let the little joys and simplicity build on each other to create good things.
Staying at home for this long of a period is new for me, and is also the very thing that I needed to learn to be okay with. In this time it does my mind no benefit to long to be out and around people when that is the one thing I can’t do, so I’ve had to practice accepting what is. If I can accept the fact that I need to stay at home for a stretch, then I can focus on how I can make an impact from this space.
Here is a good video on acceptance that my friend sent me: Acceptance – Mindfulness- Principle – Jon Kabat Zinn
They say that boredom is a platform for creativity. If we allow the boredom to settle in just a bit, we will make it past the initial urge to fill that space with something meaningless or not beneficial for our mental health such as scrolling through social media or feeding ourselves more of the same news stories. Some activities that can kickstart us into this space could be taking a walk, doing a meditation, or start journaling.
Once we have accepted the way things are and are willing to step into a creative space, we can seek ways to connect with others. If we cannot be face to face, we can utilize all of the other forms of connection such as text, call, email, snail mail, Facetime, or other video conferencing applications. Likewise, if we can be around others, find the little joys in here and now. Get outside and play, create pillow forts, play some board games, or just have a conversation.
Find ways to love others, and we will find ourselves stumbling into purpose. We have found ourselves in a place of needing to love and take care of someone else in our life who has fallen into difficult circumstances, and though it is starting onto a long hard road, it is an opportunity to love someone else.
Look for those around you who are in need of some love and hope. Practice acceptance, creativity, connection, and love. This is what I am going to try in my life during these times, and I hope to find that the little joys will lead to great impact.