Every so often my head feels like it might explode as it gets overloaded with thoughts, ideas and plans. So not literally explode (thankfully). It makes me feel overwhelmed and I start to focus too much on silly little things that really don’t need that much attention.
And every so often a man very dear to me reminds me to focus on the present and the simple joys in life. He is wise, loving and patient. And he is right to remind me – in the hustle of today’s life, we often times forget to appreciate the simple things in life, to stop and smell the roses if you will.
Last night, I turned off the radio and lay on my couch, enjoying the quiet surrounding me. My thoughts were everywhere but after a few moments, my head slowed down as I focused on some simple things that make me smile.
The outdoors. A soft breeze, birds chirping, the warmth of sunshine. I developed a keen appreciation of fresh air and the outdoors during chemo. Nothing felt better than feeling the wind on my face after 7 -14 days in the hospital.
“I love you.” Hearing those words from the people I love always seems to right the world for me. It has special meaning from the individual speaking, and nothing feels better than knowing you are surrounded by love. It warms me and protects me.
Hugs. Along the waves of “I love you” getting a hug from family and friends seems so simple an act, yet can have such a nice feeling. From my 15-year old niece to my mom to my boyfriend to my best friend, I always feel grounded and happy. I come from a “hugging” family so maybe that’s why this gesture means so much to me. I remember the days when a hug from my parents would make everything ok in my world. I admit that while my mom can’t always fix my adult problems with a hug, it certainly helps me feel better.
The smell of horses. I suppose this is an individual appeal but horses have been my passion since I can remember. Every time I visit Shecky at Horses Haven, I take several deep cleansing breaths. Something about being surrounded by these majestic animals brings me both joy and peace. I have wrapped my arms around many horses, sharing stories and thoughts with my four-legged friends.
Laughter. The phrase “Laughter is the best medicine” is certainly true to me. In the blink of an eye, a seemingly bad moment can be brightened through amusement, laughter and silliness. It lifts our spirits. The other day, something in a conversation with Justin made me start laughing. It wasn’t even that funny when I think back (I’m sure he’ll agree!), but I couldn’t stop laughing. My stomach and cheeks ached, I could barely catch my breath. But gosh is felt awesome! It’s amazing how the human spirit finds ways to heal itself – my family and I found many opportunities to laugh during my Dad and my cancer treatments. It felt good and it brought us closer together.
Exercise/being active. Something about my body being in motion makes me happy. I know those endorphins are probably what make working out feel so good, but for me, it’s also a sense of accomplishment. I used to be able to do anything or at least try. Since my knee/femur replacement, I sometimes have to think before moving so I don’t injure my titanium rod. However, last week I tried step aerobics for the first time since surgery 13 years ago. It felt awesome. What an adrenaline rush to feel confidence in my body again. I learned since my surgery to appreciate my body’s ability to move and participate in a variety of activities. So when I’m on the move, whether biking, at the gym, practicing yoga or just walking around my neighborhood, I appreciate that my body is healthy and it’s my own legs propelling me.
A few more: Clean sheets. Great conversation with Justin over a glass of wine. Speaking of wine….crisp, chilled Riesling. Fresh towels.
Simple, maybe silly to some, but calming and comforting to me. Perhaps that’s the beauty of simple things – a reminder that life isn’t, and shouldn’t be, about bling and always being on the go and relying on text/email to tell people how you feel and never looking at the world around you.
I encourage, maybe even challenge you, to take time for the simple pleasures in life. To reflect on what makes you happy and content. I’m sure you’ll find great satisfaction from that activity alone.