The measure of your life is the amount of beauty and happiness of which you are aware. – Agnes Martin
As I was rushing out the door today, I noticed my clematis had bloomed. It was in the shape of a heart.
Sometimes I play a game with myself, looking for messages in nature and other unexpected places. When I see something like this heart-shaped vine, I like to imagine it’s saying “Hey, take a moment to notice the little things.”
Appreciating simple pleasures is a helpful way to choose gratitude over despair.
You can find a hint of joy in any moment if you look hard enough:
- One mom whose daughter is struggling with depression told me she tries to notice beautiful cloud formations. Looking at something so vast as the sky sparks a sense of awe and lets your mind take a break from worrying.
- Another parent told me she looks for plants that have somehow managed to burst through pavement. She said she loves finding examples of nature prevailing over adversity because it inspires her that anything is possible. It helps her believe that her son, who faces developmental differences and social challenges, will find his way.
- When another friend had her eyes peeled, this beach emoji appeared and it made her smile, too.
Noticing the little things.
Here is a simple exercise to help you notice those little pick-me-ups you might otherwise miss. I call it “Snap 3”:
As you make your way through your daily routine, snap a picture of 3 things you think are beautiful.
Whether you’re taking your kids to activities and appointments, running errands, plowing through work, or preparing dinner, look for anything that gives you pleasure. You’ll be amazed how this activity helps you focus on the good – and fixate less on the negative.
I’ve never thought of myself as a photographer, but when I started to look at the world as if I were one, I became more aware of the little delights around me. Over time, you’ll have a small collection of memories on your phone that will lift your spirits.
Here are the three things I found the first day I went hunting for beauty:
- I laughed about how well my dog blends into our bedroom carpet.
2. I noticed this amazing round rock in a neighbor’s driveway.
3. And I appreciated these lilies in the local park pond.
When I saw these lilies blooming in the pond, they reminded me of the quote “no mud, no lotus”. Suffering and happiness are connected. The emotional roller coaster of parenting can be a wild ride, but there is always something beautiful asking to be noticed.
I hope you keep your eyes peeled for the small wonders around you. Let me know what you find!