January 10


Today's quotation:

For many years now I have listened to the stories of people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses as their counselor.  From them I have learned how to enjoy the minute particulars of life once again, the grace of a hot cup of coffee, the presence of a friend, the blessing of having a new cake of soap or an hour without pain.  Such humble experience is the stuff that many of the very best stories are made of.  If we think we have no stories it is because we have not paid enough attention to our lives.  Most of us live lives that are far richer and more meaningful than we appreciate.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Today's Meditation:

Rachel Naomi Remen is one of my favorite writers.  Her stories about her life and experiences are full of love and compassion, and I've learned a lot from her awareness and attentiveness.  In her books she gives me a sense of peace, of purpose, of hope, and of appreciation, qualities that make my life much more pleasant and much richer.  I recommend to everyone that they find a writer or two who make them feel this way, and read all they can by those writers.

The passage above speaks of two different concepts, though, one for today and one for tomorrow.  First, it tells us of the importance of the little things, the aspects of life that we tend to overlook and/or ignore in our day-to-day lives.  We have so much to be thankful for, yet we lose the gratitude when we're not conscious of those things.  Have you taken a hot bubble bath lately?  Personally, I'm thankful for the water heater that gives me hot water at the turn of a knob, the people who developed the systems of pipes and faucets that make indoor plumbing so easy, the people who have spent time developing bubble bath with nice smells and textures, and finally simply for the time I have that allows me to indulge in a luxury such as that.  How many people in the world never have experienced such a thing?  More than we'd like to count, that's for sure.

I don't want to have to be terminally ill before I recognize and appreciate all that I have to be thankful for.  The hot buttered toast on a cold afternoon, the stereo that plays my favorite music for me, the sunshine in the early morning, the laughter of children, the smiles that people share with me--life is full of "minute particulars," and we have to choose:  do we recognize them and give thanks for them, or do we continue to allow them to have no positive effects on our lives at all?

Questions to consider:

What are your favorite "minute particulars" of life?  What things give you that small joy that makes you feel great?

How many of the small things that make you feel good can you notice today?  Perhaps making a list all day long could help you to see just how many there are.

Have you ever tried to help someone else to notice the small things?  Do you take your own advice?

For further thought:

A greater poverty than that caused by lack of money is the poverty of unawareness.  Men and women go about the world unaware of the beauty, the goodness, and the glories in it. Their souls are poor. It is better to have a poor pocketbook than to suffer from a poor soul.

Jerry Fleishman

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