We do stuff. Our days are filled with the minutiae of our lives, from the moment the alarm shocks our eyes open to when we fall back into the comfort of sleep. What are these things that fill our lives? Are they simply things to keep us occupied…. the means to earn a living, the ways of being a parent or the means of helping our fellow humans make the world a more comfortable place? Or are they something much bigger – perhaps a means of creating the very fabric of what makes us what we are?
Most of us appreciate that there is a bigger picture to the small stuff that fills our lives. The problem is that we struggle to figure out exactly what that bigger picture is. Can we ever really know? Perhaps the answer to this problem is to focus on the small stuff, in a way that helps us understand the bigger deal. This calls for a degree of mindfulness that we rarely practice in our rush to get things done. It calls for a complete about-face in our multi-tasking mindset which fools us into perceiving busyness as akin to being productive.
Starting now, pay attention to the small stuff – how you answer your child when you are thinking of the work project that you must complete, whether you push past someone to get to the front of the checkout at the grocery, or how you judge the young girl with tattoos and piercings that make you think, “ouch!”. Pay attention to the things that come and go in a fleeting moment, rarely lasting long enough for you to give a second thought to them. Pay attention to you smiling at the old man sitting alone on the park bench, telling your partner that their smile helps you through the day, and taking the time to show your parent how to negotiate the internet.
Out of these small things will come a bigger picture – a picture of you as you’ve probably never taken the time to see yourself. If you are intent on personal and spiritual growth, you will see yourself as the light of God working to raise world consciousness. But you will also see things that you want to do better, things that you know will change the very fabric of what you are. There are lessons in the small stuff, and they can teach us big things.
We are told to not “sweat the small stuff” and there is wisdom in not letting the irrelevant take over our thoughts and emotions. Perhaps we just need to learn to sweat the small stuff in a way that teaches us how to grow into the best that we can be.