The Little Things in Life
Flowers are really amazing little things and I have learned so much lessons from them. Flowers might have no significance to some, most people would not miss them if they are gone and that is a reflection of what people lives are, walking past these little blobs of colors without any attention to them because life is serious, serious enough that there is no time for the little things. A person of awareness, of someone living in the moment will definitely notice the colors. They are like bright saturated colors painted on the canvas of a muted colored world, how can one of awareness not notice? Each single petal, beautiful in itself, contributes to the whole of the flower, giving it the grace of colors, shapes and its distinctive characteristics. When the petal falls, the flower withers, its lifespan comes to an end. It might not have a long existence but it had blossomed and sometimes that is all that matters. These little blobs of colors are like a gentle reminder that life is made up of powerful little moments.
There was a time in my life when I treated trivial things and activities with disdain. You know how we are wired to do great things? The little things in life that gets in our way just seemed to be such a big waste of our time. However, in the most depressing moments of my life, I realized how far away I am from the truth—those little things are what life is made of and great things can only happen as a result of the accumulation of the little things done well.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Leonardo da Vinci
These little trivial things must be done, there is no way around it. Your very survival depends on it. Things such as eating, drinking, laundry, hygiene, sleeping and the list go on and on. Even cleaning the floor has its own significance. These are some of the simple things in life but to the highly ambitious, there is no room and time for all these nonsense, they can always be outsourced to someone else who lives a trivial life. Is that really so? In cities, the trend seems to be focused on making money, so that we can pay others to clear our own rubbish. We have servants, cleaners, maid, etc. Those less fortunate have to make their living doing the work that no one else likes to do and yet no one owes anybody anything—the mind might make you feel more superior than the next person but in reality no one is lesser than you, no one should clear the mess that you leave behind. You are responsible for your own thoughts and actions, not the next person who unfortunately comes into your life so that he or she can be your slave. In a perfect world, we would all be helping one another but not because we have to, it is because we want to and that is a big difference, a big difference in a life of intention and fulfillment.
Little things lead to great moments.
A clean and minimalist apartment or house contains a lot of stories within. If the occupant of the house is the one that takes care of the place, you can tell a lot about him or her by just looking at the living space. It takes a great effort to keep the house tidy, clean and spacious. Dust accumulates every day and by just maintaining the house to a minimal dust free environment requires a lot of the little tasks that are repeated often. A lot of housewives are repeating these little task daily: maintaining the house, cooking and taking care of the children. They might not make a name for themselves in the traditional aspect of society and they might not even bring in money to the household but just follow the tasks of a housewife and you will understand how much sweat goes into daily lives of these extraordinary women. Can you imagine spending a big part of your life dedicated each day to these little tasks all because of the love and well-being of your family? Some don’t even get a simple thank you from all the things they have done. From the surface, they might look like a maid, cleaner and nanny with no wages; who doesn’t want to go out there and do great stuff, to have a life instead? These women decides to stay home and take care of the family, it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice to them because they do it willingly with love and passion. In a single day, you might not even notice the kindness of someone making the tea for you. In ten years time, that person who does it for you everyday has become an invaluable part of your life—little things lead to great moments.
I admit that at times I am guilty, I lose my mindfulness sometimes and I wonder why I am doing all these seemingly unimportant stuff and I hate it. There are more important things like my business, my purpose in life and my art. I feel like I am wasting my life away doing things that doesn’t matter. Things like groceries shopping, looking for places to have meals, queuing up to buy things or just plain waiting for someone who is late. On the other hand, if I am aware, these little moments can be of great joy and pleasure. Groceries shopping are intimate time spent with my child and wife, queuing up allows me to read that article on the cell phone, waiting for someone isn’t the point, I am just there to see and experience the beautiful moment that will not happen twice. If these little moments are unavoidable, know that they too shall one day lead to great moments in your life.
Being a photographer, I experience these little moments all the time. That epic place and beautiful light doesn’t happen continuously every second of the day. You will pass by many uninteresting stuff just to get to the interesting one. You will have to wait for the harsh and uninteresting afternoon light to pass before the magical rays of the golden hour can arrive. It is simply taking each step along the way and enjoying what life happens to give. All these little things are an inevitable part of life, it is just that we are so future focused on those big moments that we miss all these little ones along the way. Grand things happen very infrequently in life and that is only because we sacrifice the moment just so that we can hit the big success we are waiting for somewhere in the future. The longer and harder the sacrifice, the bigger the gain we hoped and so epic moments only happens to us when our life is gone. What if we can make every single dull moment into a great one? Then grand things will happen all the time and that to me, is the only way to live. Life is a series of events, we don’t have to enjoy only the finale of each event, we can enjoy each second of it if we choose to. If you are washing the dishes, enjoy every moment of it, feel the water, see the sparkle of the plate and wipe it as though you are polishing gold nuggets—it doesn’t have to be boring.
Usually the little things are the simplest and because they are the simplest, most people don’t do it well. Simple things are usually rushed through with half-baked efforts. Sometimes we accidentally trip ourselves and fall and we blame ourselves for not paying attention but most of us don’t think consciously of walking. It is a simple thing learned early on in life, albeit with much efforts during the time when we were babies. When we master something, it becomes unconscious and happens automatically without much efforts in thinking. That is why simple things tend to be boring and easily forgotten. Walking for instance, nobody thinks about it and yet it is so crucial to our lives; nobody thinks about it until they lose that ability to walk and all of a sudden it becomes everything. Simple things are of extreme significance and yet easily overlooked. A master painter paints each stroke with intention, flow and consciousness. Every single stroke is an important contribution to the whole masterpiece for without the parts, the whole cannot be there— to master life is to master the simple things.