As I write this it’s the morning of the autumnal equinox; where the day and night are equal in length, an annual moment of struggle between dark and light, the transition from one season to the next and a chance to honour the beauty of the balance between day and night. It marks the official end to summer (what a summer right!?) and ushers in autumn. The natural world is shifting around us. Schools are back open, there’s a chill in the air, the leaves are turning, growing is slowing down and crops are being harvested. A change in itself and reflective perhaps of the wider state of the world around us mid flow in a huge state of change. It’s a little bit stressful; challenging to say the least, to stay present without incessantly worrying about all that is to come. Here’s where I’ve found that nature steps in and offers us a lifeline. I’m not talking about anything too wild or ambitious here – long hikes in the mountains, retreats, forest bathing, wild swimming but more about the gentle ebb and flow that nature offers us, a light touch and quiet invitation to keep rhythm in our souls.
Lately, I’ve tried to move beyond thinking about the big things in life all the time and given myself permission to turn off the auto-pilot, stop worrying or wondering about what’s to come and slow down. This little journey has been so refreshing because I’ve allowed myself to consider the little things in life, the in-between, seemingly insignificant moments of life that in isolation don’t amount to much. Mostly, I would have failed to notice them or at best I would have noticed them for a millisecond before moving onto the next thing.
I‘ve found that one of the things lockdown life bestowed (lockdown forces that on you, without choice, rude I know!) upon me was a fresh perspective for these little things. Little things… like the flicker of a candle, the feeling of warmth on my skin from the sun (albeit fleeting in this northern climate!), a quiet sky, and a clear bright moon. How much more significant those little things have suddenly become. A familiar phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of times before, gives a nod to these insignificant moments, stating the obvious really, ‘It’s the little things that count!’ This phrase is one of those things, to my mind anyhow, that you use to say as a conversation rounder upper, to finish off a conversation before moving onto the next thing, filling a gap or an awkward pause.
Of late, this little phrase has taken on new meaning, giving me fresh perspective and appreciation of the little things. All the little things of life; a hug, the last flower, a comforting touch, dappled sunshine, a soft word whispered up close, a shared brew over a friend’s table have become so much more precious in these challenging times we’re in where at times everything seems so beyond our control. Now, more than ever, this, noticing the little things feels so important.
With my fresh perspective in tow, I’m earnestly trying to keep a steadier pace of living. Having said that I don’t think life has been very slow at all for me right now, but I do have such a strong sense of steady pace-keeping and ease to life. Noticing the little things, pausing a bit longer than a millisecond to bring them to the fore of my mind and treasuring what they have to offer, means that the nothing moments in between the events of the day offer so much more. I find that allowing these little things to be a feature in my thoughts helps me keep that steady pace and rhythm despite the fluctuations of life around.
Events, restrictions, guidelines may and most likely will change but the little things will always be there, available to us. Keeping the little things as a feature of everyday life helps me to continually stay focused, grounded, present and be thankful for what we can do and what we have not what we don’t have and can’t do. One of the elements that I enjoy so much about the work that I do in my business is to create and hold a space for people of all ages to come and have the opportunity to reconnect with themselves, their families, friends and nature. I love doing this, inviting people to come into a space that offers rest and recharge, slow down and appreciate the little changes that nature has to offer. It has such a calming effect on our mind, bodies and souls. Being surrounded by something that is so rhythmic, steady, in a continual process of change is so grounding to us and soothing to the soul. One of my favourite quotes: ‘Nature does not hurry but yet everything is accomplished’ (Lao Tzu) reminds me just of that, to allow nature and its steady, rhythmic ways to slow me down, to notice the little changes that this season offers, pause and treasure them, let them keep me present, grounded and joyful. One of the ways I’m doing this and encouraging others to do the same is to use #noticepausetreasure on social media. It’s the tag I’m using on my own social media to share the little things that are keeping me grounded and more peaceful (I had to add in the ‘more’ there as I’m not sure homeschooling life with 4 kids is ever ‘peaceful!) I would LOVE you to join with me, tag me (@rootedwings) and use #noticepausetreasure so we can enjoy what is keeping each other in the moment. It would make my day in fact to see the little things that you are enjoying. Afterall, it is the little connections, little shares of joy, little pockets of people in this big, old world all enjoying and noticing the little things in life that really matter most.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hello friends, I’m Rachel, Dublin gal, mother of 4, married to Phil.
● I’m passionate about lots of different things but they can mostly boiled-down into these topics; holistic education, family, wellbeing, wild spaces, nature and connection.
● I trained as a primary school teacher, taught for a number of years in Ireland and in the UK before unexpectedly becoming a home educator and unlearning a lot of my precepts about education!
● I’m a budding forager and keen wholesome family recipe cook, 50:50 disaster and success.
3 random things about me:
1. I have an unbridled sense of joy when I cook just the right amount of food, there’s no leftovers and everyone is full and happy! Equally, I panic when the cupboards start to look empty in case we won’t have enough food for any last minute guests that could potentially drop by unannounced. The struggle is real.
2. I hate toenail clippings, the crunch of snail shells as you walk on them and burning my eyeballs in campfire smoke.
3. I have 47 first cousins.