In this early morning moment of indecision, I adjust the sheet on the mattress. It’s a flat sheet and never stays put atop the second hand mattress lent to us by a friend. We haven’t made our way back to our Black Mountain storage unit for our other things yet. I toss and spread the quilt to cover the bed. I pull it neatly over each corner, paying attention to the detail of each hand stitched butterfly; each stitch a Small Act of love by my grandmother, each colorful butterfly composed from a garment of my mother’s. I hardly ever make the bed. I walk down to the kitchen, grab a banana and step out onto the back porch of our new Roanoke spot.
The sun hasn’t risen high enough yet so the grass weighs heavy with dew. The morning smell is nearing that familiar time of school starting soon; fall creeping close. I inhale deeply. The familiar scent awaken memories of bus stop walks and school lunch room breakfast sandwiches. The previous tenant’s cat comes over to say hello. He nuzzles my leg fondly and I pet him, a few meows squeak out.
I sit for a few moments, enjoying my banana, my cat companion and the golden sun rays brightening an oak tree’s leaves along the edge of our neighbor’s property line. I stand up and stretch. I say thank you, to something beyond me, for my life and this moment. I remind myself to be compassionate and gentle with myself.
The past few weeks have zipped by me, and I haven’t taken enough moments like that; to slow my mind and just be; to soak it all in and remember to be present. I think that’s where the indecision arises: when there is too much going on to decide what to do first. So I just decided to stop and live life for a moment.
Shortly before leaving Asheville to visit Oregon, I gave up my full time position at my job since first graduating from JMU and made the decision to start my own media management business. What a scary step! After five years with them, it was one of the most difficult and scary decisions I’ve made. I was stepping into the unknown and potential financial instability; freedom.
It had been a long time coming, but after a bit of nudging, encouraging, people taking chances on me, research, and motivational podcasts, I finally made the leap. Just as I wished, I’ve been busier and more excited about work than probably ever, post-college.
The difficulty with the transition, surprisingly, hasn’t been the fear of financial failure or a lack of work, but finding time to take a breath, be present, and revel in the moments not dedicated to work. Even finding those moments has been a challenge. It bubbles to the surface eventually as it did this morning with my decision paralysis. It was too early to get on the computer. So I took those moments and they were Small Acts for my sanity, my well-being.
Those twenty minutes or so, dedicated to simply the practice of experiencing each and every one of them, gave me a renewed sense of enthusiasm, inspiration, and a reminder to express gratitude for life and it’s synchronicity.
It’s always a journey
As we go about our daily lives, we’re continually on a journey, traveling through time. We either experience the moments or they pass by without recognition or appreciation. We might not notice until something goes awry or we lose something or someone. Then we travel back to the past to try and remember where we put our keys or wish we’d stopped for that visit or made that phone call that we put off because we were too busy or in a hurry.
Food for happiness
What are we really achieving by going a million miles a minute and over consuming on just about everything: food, drugs, alcohol, new stuff? I think it's an attempt to satiate some invisible hunger inside our hearts. I believe the Small Act of expressing compassion for ourselves and living a moment, even if it’s just one, or a fraction of one, feeds that starving child inside like nothing else can.