The majestic is all around us.
Despite all sorts of truly awful things that have happened since the COVID-19 crisis started, I hear people every day saying good things they’ve noticed. “I saw the butterflies,” “I saw dolphins near the shore,” “our planet seems to be healing,” “I’m grateful I still have a job,” “It took this time for me to really get to know my neighbors,” “I am focusing on things I used to love, but hadn’t had time for before.” A friend wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper outlining how many wonderful acts of kindness and international good deeds and things she had noticed, people bending over backwards to reach out and love their brothers and sisters and how truly magnificent that was.
There are good-news websites and the like, and we know the importance of gratitude in our daily lives for mental and physical health and wellbeing. But do we stop and acknowledge the majesty all around when we are not physically ground to a standstill in the world? There was always poetry in the garden and beauty on the corner sidewalk, but did we stop and “mindfully” take it all in? So, in the look-at-the-sliver-linings-moments, I see how many good things I can count.
Connecting and listening to those older people whom I naturally connect with has been more important to me as I’ve aged. I find that I have a need to learn how they have aged gracefully and joyfully. And the conversation isn’t always about that topic, per se. Those older friends and loved ones I speak with have a propensity to have a good perspective and be positive. That’s a certain and healthy wisdom.
The other day I had a student in a workshop I taught who responded to a writing exercise where I’d asked the participants to write about one of their amazing strengths or talents as if that strength or talent could be a tool in this time and help them get through any new challenges. After this person had written and reflected on their writing, they stated that they often don’t stop to think about what they’re good at, but rather, they’re more focused on keeping on, moving forward with new goals, emphasizing self-improvement.
That is fine AND we know from educating children or others, that that which we wish to grow, we need to feed. If you water the flowers, they will bloom.
I’ve hosted “So, Tell Me Something Good” parties and I coach people on having these in both physical or virtual spaces, and I notice that sometimes there’s a tendency in conversations to start off with the “good” and then devolve into the “not-so-great” followed by the fearful or the bad. If words have power, then I want to personally try to remember to not spiral totally downward with the awfulness of the news cycle and all else in conversations with self or others.
There is much to be concerned with and to try to better and change in this world. It is a prescient question for me to ask myself how I can make a positive change in the world. What can I notice that makes people “choose good” in the face of sometimes obvious danger, and what helps people reach out beyond their comfort zone to notice the good, to grow it and make a difference? What helps people notice those majestic moments in the natural and man-made world around them?
A woman in my greater community who suffered from a debilitating neurological disorder recently passed away. Many stories were told of her and some have already been published. One spoke about how, when asked how she how she was doing, though it was evident to others that she was visibly struggling to get around, her answer was an enthusiastic and heartfelt, “so good!” and she meant it.
I find myself checking in with people on the phone more, enjoying funny jokes and good times with friends or crafting and chatting with girlfriends via zoom. Cooking food that is healthy has been a blessing.
And I’ve been making lots and lots of gratitude journals, small ones, big ones, of different dimensions and various craft materials and embellishments…and filling them with all these wonderful things I’ve noticed and am grateful for.
What do you want to write about right now? What do you want to notice that is good or amazing? How can you find your good space to notice and tell me something good…down at the ocean, in the mountains, in nature, at home, 5 minutes of solitude somewhere, or anywhere? Find it and take the time to expand what you want to grow in your life.
It isn’t just now that we should do self-care and this larger type of “world care.” The sparks of goodness and light we wish to notice more will be evident when we set out to notice them. Notice the amazing majesty in a blade of grass and tell yourself and others something good.