Have you ever had a conversation with someone where what they say changes your whole perspective on life and the way that you have chosen to live it up until that point...or maybe more importantly, the way that you choose to live it from that point? Perhaps if the words had been said at a different time in your life they wouldn't have meant the same thing to you, and that what strikes a chord with one person, may mean nothing to another. But for me, one of the turning points in my life was a telephone conversation that I had with my sister quite a while ago, and perhaps because what she said coincided perfectly with change inside me that was already beginning to happen.
We were talking about happiness and she presented me with ideas that had come as the result of a conversation she'd had with someone a couple of years ago, although quite incidentally, I don't think that she had any idea that what she was saying would have any real effect on me. And this is what it meant to me:
I think in some ways I have always lived bumbling along in an okayish sort of way, but all the time waiting to the get the part where everything was perfect, all of life was wonderful and 'the big thing' whatever that was that I was waiting for, had happened. But actually what my sister was saying was that you probably never get to that bit, and that actually happiness is the life you are living, if only you can live it with an acute awareness of the tiny things that are around you waiting to be experienced, rather than allowing them to wash over you as you focus only on the larger picture. As we were talking I realised that this was probably something that I had always been aware of, but never with quite such clarity and presence of mind. And very quickly this thought has seeped into my consciousness without any need to actively go and change anything and with that I feel that my senses have woken up and I have allowed myself to notice all that the things that have almost certainly always been around me, but that I had failed to appreciate in a proper way. As we have watched those dear to us as a family struggle with unimaginable pain in this last year it has never felt clearer to me how very privileged we are to be here to experience those small things, and that it is these simplest of things that make life quite so intoxicatingly wonderful; the sight of the snowdrops coming out almost overnight, the feel of my little boy's hand in mine as we walk down the road, stepping out of the door into a crisp and blustery day, sitting at my desk in the sun in a quiet house and looking out over the trees to the tallest landmark, beneath which my son and daughter's nursery and school nestle and knowing that they may be busily engaged in painty overalls or sat on a carpet listening to stories, or the couple of seconds each morning when my head is submerged beneath the bath water and I can hear nothing, clear my mind and need only enjoy the brief sensation of how lovely and warm the water is.
And then this evening I read Jo's wonderful post on her blog French Knots...which for me seemed to say (in a far more concise and less rambly way) so perfectly all these things that I'd been feeling. If you have the time and haven't already done so, then do go and read not only her post, but also the fantastic video link that she has put on there. As the music on the link started I thought that the video was likely to be a little over-sentimental, but as I read the words I quickly realised that wasn't the case at all and two minutes later I had tears running down my face that were a mixture of happiness and sadness.
It is perhaps one of the loveliest things about reading the blogs of other crafters...so often they seem full to bursting with an awareness of the small, but wonderful bits of life...how many photos of flowers on a sunny window sill, footprints in snow, or beautiful sunsets there are out there to look at, each one appreciated and recorded...perhaps having these things brought to my attention daily is one of the things that has made my sister's words sink in so firmly.
So, even though I may have started appreciating the smaller things for what they are (everything!), I've felt in other areas I've continued to completely fail myself and as ever have wasted time in not taking risks because of an overwhelming fear of failing...an idea that I have found can often paralyse the things I aspire to do or be. So how strange to notice at the top of Becca & Bella's wonderful blog a quote that I'd never read before, but the reading of which seemed perfectly timed to make me think properly about the way I had been feeling:
And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage ... Anais Nin
Anyway, this post feels like a break from the normal run of fabrics and stitchery for me...and I feel oddly anxious about posting it at all, as if I've given too much away, but so many things have changed about the way I am seeing things in this last year, mainly because of the circumstances of some of those close to me, that it seems odd to continue to blog endlessly about making things with no acknowledgment to how things in real life can sometimes change perspective so dramatically.
The roses were sent to me today as a gift from my sister. Iceberg roses. I love looking at the point where the stems go into the water and the little bubbles that form on their lovely greenness.