Many years ago I remember listening to a singing group called “It’s a beautiful day”. Even then I had at least some realisation that it’s our inner attitude that lets us experience our days as beautiful and precious: each one of them. When it’s “just another day”, my outlook and energy levels lift dramatically when I can consciously value the small, the ordinary, the familiar. And now I am quite certain that those are the moments that are most devastating to lose when illness or death takes us from them – and them from us. They are also the moments easiest to overlook.
A change of “view” means giving at least some of our time and attention and care to what matters most. (And giving up excuses that we have no time to live…) Clarifying our priorities removes a great deal of anxiety. For most of us, this means time to be with the people we love and care about, and who love and care for us. It also means taking time for friendships and community, and contributing in our own way to a kinder, more engaged world. It means time to make things, time for beauty, for walking, cooking, reading, playing…being present to life in all its wonder.
When it comes to what we “must do”, I’ve discovered that it makes a real difference to me to value what I’m doing, rather than resenting it or racing through it. Valuing what I’m doing doesn’t always mean getting lots done, though sometimes that’s nice. It does mean feeling aligned with a sense of purpose even when the day is unfolding modestly. Often what’s most stale is the way we think about what we are doing, rather than the task itself. Approaching familiar tasks more cheerfully or creatively – with a fresh mind and attitude – renews our sense of appreciation and connection to life. It also deepens our gratitude for those precious “most ordinary of days”. There is so much beauty and healing in that.
You can comment on Dr Stephanie Dowrick’s ideas and get more support on her “Official Stephanie Dowrick” Facebook page.