When I was younger, I used to think Life was all about the big stuff.
Do you know what I mean?
The things that feel momentous.
Having huge adventures, being awarded hard-won qualifications, building a career, travelling to far-flung places, seeing as much of everything as I could, buying a house. I was very focused on tucking as many of these big events under my belt as I could. I was very adept at striving for the next big thing.
I didn't place an awful lot of conscious awareness on the smaller spaces between the big things of Life.
It wasn't fully aware that the ordinary moments of each day could hold as much treasure as the landmark events. I was very goal-orientated. Focused on doing rather than being.
And then I got ill and Life changed.
I wasn't able to do as many "big" things as I'd previously been able to do. Instead of striving for bigger adventures, I found myself striving for enough energy to move through a day.
My dreams were not so much about visiting far-flung places, as being able to get outside the house without keeling over on the way to the front door.
Life suddenly became very much about the spaces between the big adventures.
As a result, over the years of living with a long-term illness, I've had a deep change of heart about what is and isn't the big stuff of Life.
I've come to understand that Life is a continuous thread of very small moments, connected to each other. I know that's stating the blindingly obvious, but stay with me on this. Each day we are given a certain amount of time. Moments strung together to experience. What we place in each moment determines the quality of our lives. Life isn't simply about what happens to us or what next big thing we're striving for. Life is very much about what we choose to do, be, see and feel in each small moment.
I used to waste so many moments striving for the next big thing. Not realising that the moment I was in was the only thing I had. And that it held its own beauty.
There are only moments. Each moment an opportunity to love, be tender and to connect. To love ourselves, and other people. To be tender with ourselves, and other people. To connect with ourselves and other people.
The big stuff of Life isn't what I thought it was. The Big Stuff of Life is actually the small stuff of Life repeated. Over and over again. A chain of small connected moments of love, kindness, beauty and gentleness, where we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and allow other people to see our vulnerability. Where we're brave enough to reach out into each moment and connect with what's really in our hearts, and to give our hearts to other people in a way that is kind, gentle, tender, and loving.
If we are able to do that from one moment to the next, we have a continuous thread of beautiful moments all connected to each other and connecting us to the people around us. We are living a continuous thread of tenderness. Creating a continuous thread of loving minutes, that eventually add up to a Lifetime of Love.
What could be bigger than that?
P.S. Jarryd Stoneman asked his 93 year old great grandmother with severe dementia if she wanted to dance. He created a a big moment out of a small moment with tenderness and kindness.
P.P.S. I'm not advocating sainthood, here, you understand. I'm fully in support of the need for swearing, hand gesticulations, the odd manhandling of a cushion with a rolling pin when things get too much, and the importance of gin. A good roast dinner does wonders to keep the wheels of tenderness oiled as well. Just sayin'.