This week I’m just going to share this a wonderful passage about grace from the book Fortytude by Sarah Brokaw. It struck me as a perfect way to look at life when things don’t work out as expected.
“When we make peace with life events, even when things don’t go the way we want, we exhibit grace. When we manage stressful situations with humor, we exhibit grace. When we are accepting of others, we exhibit grace. Grace is not about physical beauty or having a ballerina’s poise. It is composed of generosity, forgiveness, and equanimity in the face of trying times.
Behaving with grace can prove challenging when we feel vulnerable. These are the moments when we must dig deep, appreciating what we do have, reaching out to our loved ones for help, and trusting in our higher selves to get us through.”
As I sit down to write this post, I find myself wanting to give you sunshine. Looking though my notebook of writing ideas the topics feel heavy to me – advice on how to survive, how to make do, how to become comfortable in uncomfortable times. But maybe what we need is simpler than that. Maybe we just need to reconnect to the little pleasures in our lives, those special people, things and events that already surround us.
As children it was easy to become absorbed in small pleasures. I remember spending entire afternoons in the hills near my home, exploring, playing, and finding new things. Fun was any place I could pretend was a house – I’d flatten tall grass, find a crook in our grapefruit tree, or sit in a hollow bush – anything to provide walls for my little tea parties.
It’s easy to get disconnected from the small delights in our lives, especially when we hear what sounds like dire news every day. Finding and enjoying these pleasures can provide warmth and texture to these precarious times.
Below is my “Sunshine List” for today – just a sample of what brings sunshine into my life:
My breakfast, every day.
A sunny walk at lunchtime with my daughter.
Watching reality shows with my best friend.
Taking a hot bath on a cold day.
A coaching session where my client has an “ah ha!” moment.
Goofing around with my business partner when we’re supposed to be working.
My house, especially when it’s clean.
Finishing an article that I believe really captures what I want to communicate.
Seeing my cat roll around in ecstasy just because I walked in my front door.
What puts the sunshine into your life?
Take a moment, put your feet up, and grab a pencil and paper and create your own Sunshine List. Once you’ve created your list, what can you do with it?
Here are a few ideas:
Post it where you’ll see it every day and make sure you do at least one thing on your list daily
Each day add a new item to your list
Create a whole new list of 10 items every day for a week
If your list includes loved ones like mine does, share your list with them and suggest they write one of their own
Even if you don’t do another thing with your list, be aware of the things that add pleasure to your day and add them to your mental Sunshine List
It’s important not to get lost in the tension of everyday life. Staying connected with the small things that make us happy builds a storehouse of pleasure that can provide balance when troubles or worries strike. Take a look at your list – how many things on it are available to you every day? How many items on your list not only give you pleasure, but also give joy to someone else? Our lists are filled with rich pleasures that increase the quality of our lives and of those around us.