Thinking Small

<Aug. 5/14>

We are usually advised to “think big.” “Live large.” You know?

I’m musing on doing just the opposite.

Thinking small.

Instead of trying to “save the world” (which frankly I had to give up on quite a while ago now)

… or even trying to change it (I like to think I have helped in my small way to change a thing or two for the better along the way, not that any of it adds up to anything … big)

I think I am going to focus more & more on thinking small.

Celebrating small achievements – like getting a batch of granola made, finally, or any task that has been nagging at me.

I’m still doing work I consider very worthwhile (anti-nuclear activism) that brings its own small satisfactions which are not to be sneezed at. (I meet the grrrrrreatest people, & there is a wonderful solidarity in doing this kind of work – in fact the people are the biggest reward in activism – and in life in general!)

Anyway. I need to get to work.

But am taking joy so far today in the fact that I

  • had a walk along the boardwalk (did some ‘plastic patrol’ as always)

  • washed the dishes I should have washed last night

  • wrote this little essay

  • & discovered another one in this little notebook that I’d forgotten I’d written

& now, I’m keen to get to work.


p.s. I think what thinking small really translates into is being grateful all the time for so-called “small” things that perhaps one might otherwise take for granted – & staying in the moment.

Not fussing & worrying about yukky stuff that might happen down the road. Or stuck in the past obsessing over … whatever it is we humans are so awfully darn good at obsessing over.

Now now now now now

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I awake in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” – E.B. White

A few spares: “Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and social activist, once said that as he grew older he came to understand that it was not ideas that change the world but simple gestures of love given to the people around you, and often to those you feel most at odds with. He said that in order to save the world you must serve the people in your life. ‘You gradually struggle less and less for an idea,’ Merton wrote, ‘and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.’” – from Broken Open – How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser

“…as the Buddha told his cousin Ananda, the whole of the holy life is good friends. Our relationships – and our love – are ultimately what give depth and meaning to our lives.” – Joan Halifax in Being with Dying – Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death

“A spiritual life is not about being self-conscious, or wearing a button that says “I’m a bodhisattva!” It is about doing what you have to do with no attachment to outcome. True compassion just does what needs to be done because it’s the only thing to do – just because it’s natural and ordinary, like smoothing your pillow at night. Sometimes the outcome can seem to be a happy one. And often enough we are faced with so-called failure. And thus it is.” – Joan Halifax in Being with Dying – Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death 

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell, US folklorist & expert on mythology (1904 - 1987) [more JC quotes on this blog here]

“There is only one courage, and that is the courage to go on dying to the past. Not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to it we become unavailable to the present.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh [more quotes on courage]

“Happiness is a form of courage.” – George Holbrook Jackson

“Work for a cause, not for applause.

Live life to express, not to impress.

Don’t strive to make your presence

Noticed, just make your absence felt.” – Anonymous