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Little things make your heart sing


When presented with a situation that is beyond reckoning – not only in terms of our ability to understand it but the potential for deeds to be held to account – what do you do? It’s not possible to find a silver lining in a corrosive cloud. The metal is too soft, the environmental conditions too volatile. The chemical reactions unavoidable. The only options seem to be to weather the storm or get the hell out of the sky.


But if the low pressure system follows you around persistently like a shadow (or a personal downpour contrived by the director of The Truman Show to unseat you) what then? It’s simple really. You can’t control the weather. You can only decide how to exist within it. However much it oppresses your senses, soaks your shoes, repeatedly whips your umbrella inside out or tries to capsize your boat, it doesn’t touch your core.


But man cannot live by bread alone. The core needs padding. And so begins the search beyond basic nutrition for fulfilling nourishment. For the little things that make your heart sing. Some may be sugar highs, some may be soul foods with slow release energy. And don’t be fooled. It is a search. The good stuff isn’t always going to fall in your lap (or stay there if the wind is raging). You have to look for kernels of positivity, recognise them when you find them and hang on to them for dear life so they don’t blow away.


I have so far found a cheering number of categories of ‘little things’. These are acts of kindness (received and not turned away); giving gifts, metaphorical or physical, to yourself (both on impulse and planned rewards); embracing comforts (without guilt); seeking moments of joy (and savouring them) and delighting in other people’s happiness (trust me, it helps you keep the faith).


It really works. All of it. And it has to, because seriously in the face of an atmospheric onslaught what else is there to do? There’s only so long you can last in a squall before you say enough is enough. So thank goodness there are so many varied ways to claw back a slice of life. Aren’t we lucky in fact that in a world infinitely beautiful and complex the opportunity for something small to lift us is boundless.


I realise I’m extrapolating the meteorological metaphor to its logical extreme – I’m afraid it’s just the way my brain works – so I’ll try to give a few real examples of the ‘little things’. Wintertime makes this quite easy as the natural urge to find brightness and warmth not only restores the body but exalts the soul. A deep bath, hot cup of tea, lit fire (or even candle), large hug of a cardigan (an embarrassment of wool) and, in the enveloping dark, turning on the fairy lights (I think it’s rather apt to invoke some of their magic).


We all have our own ways of finding succour. Soothing or rousing music, conversations with old and new friends, even the distractions of family and work which somehow have to continue even when the weather is unpredictable. It’s really just having the clarity of mind to shake off the rain, acidic though it may be, and let the little things in to revive you and put you back in touch with yourself. And each little thing encountered, experienced and accepted will help you continue on to find the next.


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