If you sometimes have those days when everything seems to go from bad to worse, then this article is for you.
The other day I had that type of day. I could not get any work done, the babies were misbehaving, my husband had a headache and was in a bad mood and on top of all that I had an argument with my mom and grandmother who live in Ukraine. If you do not see people you love for more than a year then you definitely do not want to argue with them.
When it was time for the babies to go take their afternoon nap they went into hysterics and screamed and cried for about an hour, making sure that I had a steady and irritating headache. If you do not have little children then you probably do not realize how important these naps are. These are the 2 hours that let me and my husband recharge and feel that we have at least some control over our lives and we are not being completely manipulated by our little munchkins (whom we love to death of course )
Anyway, that was the type of day I was having and I was not happy (in spite of the constant practice of gratitude, mindfulness and other happiness-boosting techniques.) My husband got a phone call from our real estate agent and told me some of the best news I could hope for – we were closing on a house we’d been waiting for 6 months in a day. “WOW”, you would say, but my happy-o-meter was not registering any emotions. Mu hubby suggested that I go for a walk on the beach and he would take care of the babies while I got a little bit of ME time. He also gave me an important task to collect as many beautiful seashells as possible (this is sort of our hobby right now while we are renting a condo on the beach.)
It was really cold on the beach and there were no people at all. My only companions were seagulls who were wondering if I was crazy to go out on the beach in such nasty cold weather. I started walking without any particular purpose. Most of the time I go running on the beach when I have some free time from the babies because I try to maximize my productivity (get exercise, breathe fresh air, enjoy beautiful nature and at the same time come up with new ideas for posts.) This time it was just a walk without any time or distance limits.
At first I could not see any beautiful seashells. They all seemed broken and completely unexciting. As I was walking I noticed that I have never seen a beach so beautiful. Try to picture it in your mind.
The setting sun colored the entire beach in a million of shades of yellow, orange and red. The ocean was so calm that you could probably see your reflection in the water. The low tide revealed the most amazing ocean landscapes: puddles looked like lakes, sand dunes looked like mountains and flat and smooth sand spread out in all directions like an enormous desert. The beach was absolutely empty and there were no sounds other than the soft murmur of the waves rolling on the beach.
An hour passed like 5 minutes and I felt completely revived. It was some sort of a walking meditation for me. When you try to meditate you are often advised to concentrate on your breath and to clear your head. Instead of doing that I concentrated on finding the most amazing seashells and my mind became absolutely quiet without any effort on my part.
This is how I found happiness and serenity with seashells.
The most amazing part is that when I was coming back home I was passing the same part of the beach that looked barren when I started out. I found the most beautiful seashells there in such abundance that I must have been blind to not have noticed them before. Life revealed a secret to me that day:
“The world around you is full only when you are full.”
Life can give you all kinds of possibilities and miracles that you will not be able to notice because your eyes and your heart are closed. If you are not happy and the world around you seems grey and boring then most likely you are the one who is grey and boring (I definitely was that person that day). In order to find happiness and something amazing in this world you must prepare yourself first.
My example with the seashells is just one of the ways how you can learn to see more in this world. If you have a bad day or you want to make the world around you fuller (by making yourself full first) then you can try this simple exercise:
Devote some time to yourself. Allow yourself to do something without any purpose or reason and preferably do it outside (I think that any of our problems can be cured with a sufficient dose of nature.) Some of these examples might be going for a walk without a destination, sitting under a tree in the park, bird watching, watching a fire, collecting seashells or anything else that you enjoy doing.
Concentrate on small things and start noticing the tiniest details around you.
Let your mind go absolutely blank and concentrate on your task (whether you are just observing something or looking for small treasures.)
Repeat this exercise as often as possible.
I know that it sounds too simple but this is exactly what we need because we make our lives too complicated all the time. I wish you a happy and full life rich in amazing discoveries and revelations and as usual …