Simple pleasures are all around you. Notice them and you’ll find that even mundane days can be beautiful. Here are four ordinary rituals I’ve come to relish and enjoy. What are yours?
We were made longing for more, and we will always carry that longing. I’m okay with this reality because it nudges my soul to seek truth and beauty, to step Heavenward.
Of course, setting our sights on the future presents a problem: we tend to neglect the present. Let face it–for many of us, the future is a better place than where we are now.
Or at least, that’s what we think.
For ambitious dreamers like me (and you, too, perhaps?), it’s hard to give the present the time of day when the future is chock-full of new houses and exciting journeys and goals achieved.
But my quest to live deeply in the everyday has driven me to reexamine what I have now and to build a repertoire of gratitude around it. I love the little things like taking walks and checking mail, being with my husband and son, and feeling Sophie nudge my hand and purr.
There are four rituals I take part in every day that are especially ordinary, but particularly satisfying. Taking note of them has opened my eyes to all the simple pleasures that are already woven into the fabric of my day.
4 Simple, Lovely Everyday Pleasures
1. Those moments just after waking
I’ve often thought of waking as a sort of re-birth. At night we lie spread under the sheets or fetal-curled under warm blankets, our minds making worlds at rapid-eye speeds while our breathing slows. And every morning, we rise again into familiar consciousness, our bodies refreshed and renewed for the day ahead. A miracle? I suppose waking up can’t be classified as a miracle if it’s not out of the ordinary. Which makes me think we need to reevaluate what we call miraculous.
When I lie in bed in the morning, I savor this small bit of wonder. I sift back through the night’s dreams and enjoy the comfort of the bed, watching the darkness melt slowly back into the corners and behind the furniture. I pray for the future of the next two hours or the next two years, and let my mind wander back to hundreds of earlier wakings into days that aren’t so hard to remember in the limbo of dawn.
I don’t linger very long, usually. But just to linger for a few minutes is to notice.
2. That perfect cup of coffee
I find it a great pity that we’ve reduced coffee to a drug. We make jokes about it to mask the desperation of our addiction, or we slurp it as fuel in route to the Things on our calendars. What a waste! You might fault me for being over-dramatic, but why can’t we let our coffee be a gift from God, mundane as it is?
I relish my coffee-making ritual. For me it looks like putting the kettle on to boil, sniffing the beans before whirring them in the grinder and then tapping them into my French press, a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband. Every morning it’s the same: strong coffee, pink mug, white sugar, heavy cream. Stirred and sipped and re-heated until I’ve savored every drop through breakfast, morning reading, and the opening minutes of my workday.
3. The midday meal
I’ve always considered myself a breakfast girl, because I adore breakfast foods and I can eat vast quantities in a sitting. But after hearing one of my pals extol the merits of lunch, I’ve come to realize that there is no meal I look forward to more. After a busy morning, often filled with diapers and unexpected detours, it’s highly satisfying to break for lunch. I’m perfectly content with a sandwich and tea, enjoyed on the sun-filled porch with my mom and son, or eaten solo while I do light reading or watch a webinar.
4. When I brush my teeth
Now here I’m sure some of you will laugh at me, but part of my journey to a more abundant life has been in appreciating the minutia of my day. Routines do more than just help us get things done, don’t they? They reinforce and satisfy our inherent need for repetition. Every night I brush my teeth for longer than I’ve ever heard a dentist recommend; I pace and think and put my day in order and enjoy peppermint in my mouth. And it may be trivial, but I love the afterwards feeling of clean teeth.
I don’t know why we ignore these small, beautiful moments in our days and then spend so much energy consumed with the grand and exciting that we don’t actually have. No wonder we’re so worn out!
We’ve all heard the trite but true advice to “count your blessings.” But itemizing the good things in our lives is too sterile, even for a list-lover like me. Instead of counting your blessings, live them. There is much refreshment in living our blessings as they come, noticing them one by one, Monday through Sunday, from opening our eyes in the morning to closing them at night.
I’m beginning to realise that when we live fully and abundantly in the moment we come the closest to experiencing that “more” we’re always longing for.
[question] What ordinary rituals are your favorites? [/question]
What to read next: 7 Simple Ways to Live More Abundantly, Right Now