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« 3 Perspective Shifts | Ask the Expert: DeeAnne White »
Friday
Nov022012

Sometimes It's The Little Things

Sometimes it’s the big things that help us appreciate the little things. How often do we stop to acknowledge the things that we often take for granted like phone service, heat, gas, or hot water? We just expect things to work, to be there when we need them, and to go on with life as we know it.

Many of us, including me have experienced some crazy things in the past few days due to superstorm Sandy, not just loss of services, but also fear, panic, and disorientation. In our town and many others, there are still people without electricity or phone service. You may be one of them. Gas and food are becoming scarce. I'm grateful that our electricity, heat, phone and Internet have all been restored as of today. They came back in varying intervals. I’m starting to see some very positive reports. I hope that all of your services are back soon too.

In the midst of this “storm,” I reminded myself of many things that I was thankful for. It helped me to keep a grateful perspective even in the face of uncertainty, fear, and potential danger. In the last few days, these were some of the things that kept me going. I was grateful for…

The safety of our family and friends

Our house being spared from falling trees

The stillness caused by the blackout

Reading more than usual

The extra time with family

Laughter

Imposed digital break

Cozy blankets

The lights and heat returning after 24 hours of darkness and cold

All the days when we had electricity and warmth

A hot shower

A hot cup of coffee

A hot cup of soup

Flexible, understanding clients

Other people’s resourcefulness

My own resourcefulness

Other people’s strength

My own strength

The brightly colored fall leaves

Living close enough to my Mom to bring her to our house for safety

Finding one working cell phone area in our town

Friends and family that checked in on us

Friends and family we checked in on

Having food to eat

A fuller house than usual

Making “French” chocolate in honor of my aunt’s visit

Phone service returning after four days of being out

All the days we had perfectly good phone service

Answering a ringing phone

Picking up the phone to make a phone call

Internet and email restored after five days of being disconnected

Many days we had of fully operational Internet and email

The messages of hope and good wishes on Twitter, Facebook, and email

Acknowledging that I can’t control everything

Letting go

It’s going to take me time to get back to normal. There are hundreds of emails, tweets, and other messages to respond to. There are calls to return and projects to complete. I’m still catching my breath. I am so grateful to be sitting here today with my hot cup of jasmine green tea, writing, and sharing this post with you. While the storm put me a bit off schedule, we’re here now. Together.

I’ve missed you. I’d love to hear how you’re doing. What’s on your mind? Please take a moment or two to share. At this moment, what are you grateful for?

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Reader Comments (16)

Excellent post, Linda. So glad that you made it through the storm safely. Why is it that it takes something like Sandy to remind us to be thankful for the little things in life? We must strive to remember them everyday. Life is made up of so many wonderful little things and small moments. Together they add up to something pretty amazing. Thank you for helping us to refresh our perspective.

Peggy- You ask a very good question. Why is it SO hard for us to practice gratitude on a regular basis? There is so much for us to appreciate IF we stop to let those thoughts in. I am grateful to you for your friendship, for your words of support and concern during this time. It meant a lot and helped to keep me calm and connected. Thank you so much for that AND for stopping by to be part of this conversation.

November 2, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm grateful for our new friendship too, Linda. I'm also thankful that you are safe and all is well. What a fabulous world we live in that we can connect with people and develop relationships without having to meet face to face. It's all about making time for one another and helping each other out. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the conversation!

So well said. Remaining grateful despite challenges helped get me through this past week. We had power but no TV/Internet until today. We welcomed family and friends to warm up and charge up in our home. Shared ice and batteries with those who needed. But my biggest fear was that we'd have no power and I'd have great difficulty feeding my 2.5 yr old with multiple food allergies. Although we had prepared a plan, my nerves got the best of me every time the lights flickered. I am SO grateful that my home was spared the nightly ominous darkness and I was able to feed my son without worry of food spoilage or the lack of an oven! Glad to hear your power has been restored.

November 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

Wonderful post Linda and so powerful to always remind ourselves of the blessing we can count in our lives. The things that matter the most make us so rich.
I am happy you are safe, well and being able to share your wisdom with us.
Wishing you a calm week ahead!

Helena

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHelena Alkhas

@Peggy- Totally agree with you. We DO live in a fabulous world where we are able to develop friendships and connections to one another. I am so grateful to know you.

@Stacey- Am happy to know you're OK and were able to keep your family safe too. I understand the anxiety and fear part. It's been a rough week. Just when we thought we were all set, we discovered that one of our BIG trees had been ripped out of the ground and was leaning over our house. Today the tree guys secured it and tomorrow morning they'll take it down. In the meanwhile, we're all camped out on the far side of the house.

@Helena- I know that counting your blessings and expressing gratitude are part of your daily life. Thank you for joining us and for your calming thoughts. Much needed and greatly appreciated.

November 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thanks for sharing your gratitude here with us and offering us the opportunity to share as well. Having experienced Hurricane Ike in 2008, I am really grateful for the luxuries we have come to expect as every day such as light, gas, and technology! I take a few minutes every day to experience gratitude each morning, just as a little way to begin my day. I daily take stock of the wonderful connections I have as well as the ways I can share my blessings.

With Thanksgiving approaching, it is a wonderful way to start a new gratitude habit daily this month.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Linda, I really like your list. My husband and I kept remarking that we have muscle memory for turning on lights, the faucet, etc. all throughout the last week. I think we take the little things for granted because they become reflexes. One morning this past week, I sat down and wrote a list of the things that I felt grateful for. I wanted to remind myself to see the silver lining. And Liinda, you can always see the silver lining! One of the things I love about you!
XO.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanine Sarna-Jones

@Ellen- What a beautiful way to begin each day by reflecting about what you are grateful for. We can so easily become complacent and forget to appreciate the basics and the not so basic. I love your suggestion about starting a "gratitude habit" as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday. Just lovely.

@Janine- You make an interesting connection about the "reflexes" that we often take for granted...lights on, water flowing, etc...I know you had a tough week and JUST got your power back. I'm sure that writing your gratitude list helped you to keep a positive perspective. I know it helped me this week especially. Wonderful to know you're safe.

November 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great post Linda. Practicing gratitude over the course of the past year in the form of keeping a daily gratitude journal has changed my life. I keep it on my iPad in an app called Penultimate so I always have it with me and can add to my daily entry at any time. Even on the worst days, we all have so much to be thankful for. Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat Zinn says (allow me the liberty to paraphrase) - As long as you are breathing, there is more right with you than is wrong with you. I think in today's fast paced, pressure filled world we too often forget this. A gratitude journal is a way to constantly remind yourself of this. I love how you highlighted the most basic things in your list. I believe this is the essence of true gratiitude. It is one thing to be thankful for winning the lottery, it is another to be thankful for the sound of the wind and the light of the moon. A few months ago I drafted a blog post on keeping a gratitude journal that I planned to post closer to Thanksgiving. Thank you for reminding us to make space for gratitude now and not just that one time of the year. Because of your posting, I may be rolling that blog post out sooner rather than later. : )

Best,

Andrea

November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

Andrea- What beautiful thoughts you shared. Thank you. What a unique idea for keeping your gratitude journal on your iPad...always with you. The one thing I've noticed about gratitude, especially if you keep a journal, is that it puts us "on the look" for all the good stuff. These can be very small moments, like smelling the first scent of spring after a long, cold winter, or bigger ones like embracing a loved one after a long separation. I love Zinn's idea that about perspective and gratitude. It's so essential to keep those thoughts in mind, which can help us to navigate the most difficult of times. I can't wait to read your gratitude post. Please let me know when it's up. I'm happy to share it with others. Grateful that you stopped by to share.

November 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I am really impressed - and inspired - to see how you were able to be grateful for so many things even in the midst of adversity. I literally felt chills up and down my arms as I read the list, and it made me realize how much I take for granted every single day.

November 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

SO well said LInda (as usual). Although the storm was trying at times, I was all to aware that I am inconvienced and not suffering. Interestingly, I spoke to more people, saw more friends and connected on line more during the storm and its aftermath than I do on a typical day. The slower pace and lack of distractions allowed us all to take stock and join the "we are all in this together" mentality. Too bad it takes a natural disaster to do so.

November 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

It was an amazing time, Leslie. Last night, I gathered for a "thank you" dinner at our friends' home. They were without power for almost two weeks. They invited over all the people that had helped them during that time. We talked about exactly what you said...the increased amount of connection time, especially in the face of the storm. We were all so grateful for one another, community, good friends and loving family. Storm or no storm, so important to be grateful every day for our loved ones. I am grateful for you and am thankful that you are safe.

November 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

It is very true that sometimes it’s the big things that help us appreciate the little things.BUt sometimes also because we are used to appreciate big thing we tend to forget how to appreciate small things.

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Success Institute

That's so true, Frank. Incorporating gratitude for the small things can enhance the positivity and happiness factor in life. There is always so much to be thankful for.

November 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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