Beautiful moments (Things that make me better)

The other afternoon I made myself a pot of tea.

I was intending to sit down and watch some episodes of the latest TV series I’ve picked up, and it was a gray, chilly afternoon, so the idea of a warm drink was very welcome. I made my tea, set the pot on the stand by my couch, poured the first cup, and went back to the kitchen for a minute. When I came back, I got stopped in my tracks.

My couch sits by my front windows, and there was a tiny peek of sun for once. The mug of tea I had poured was still steaming hot, and the steam rose up into the sunlight, ethereal, insubstantial, and beautiful. It was a tiny thing that struck me deeply, and I stood there for a minute, just absorbing the loveliness of it.

I’ve been noticing something recently as I move around in my daily life. Every now and then, something totally ordinary will catch me out, and I will be absolutely struck by the beauty in it. Little things, a color or shape or smell or taste. They get my attention, and if I stop and really look, there’s something they touch, something deep and internal and almost tangible, something I can’t really get words around. I wish I could, because oh, what words they would be. It is like a sense of utter satisfaction and rightness, it fosters peace in my spirit, it makes me smile. These tiny, beautiful moments.

There’s a definite correlation between the kind of day I’m having (rather, the kind of mood I’m having) and the noticing of these peeks of glory in the everyday. If I’m generally happy, I uncover more of them. If I’m depressed, I don’t find them at all, and if I do, it’s hard to really stop and feel the beauty. I don’t know which one comes first — if the mood fosters the seeing, or if the seeing fosters the mood. I suspect it can go either way, though. If that’s the case, the place to focus is on the side I can directly affect: I can choose to look for these tiny, beautiful moments, whether or not I’m in a pleasant mood. I think they’re connected to the idea of mindfulness, that wisdom taught in many philosopies from many ages, urging us to be fully aware of what’s in the present moment, really alive and awake in the world we’re standing in. I think this is where real life lives, in the noticing and appreciating what is happening. I think it’s not about just waiting for these beautiful moments to cross our paths, I think we can go looking for them. I think, if I wanted to, I could find one right now, while I’m sitting at my keyboard in the space where I work. If I just opened my eyes and looked, I don’t think I’d be disappointed.

This idea of seeing and being fully aware of what’s real is so vital for me, who lives so far inside my head for so much of the time. You can’t live an entire life inside the brain. That’s not what humans are. I have to come out and experience the world, and the beautiful moments I find are reminders for me, reminders and gateways into really living.

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