Weekend Meditation

The Small Gifts of an Ordinary Day

published Nov 10, 2013
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(Image credit: Dana Velden)

That beautiful packet of nougat pictured above is my inspiration for today’s post. The nougat is a gift from a neighbor, left on her kitchen table as a thank you for stopping in to feed her cat this coming week.

I really love nougat. I love how its smooth chewy texture is studded with the crunch of nuts. I love the slight whiff of rosewater and the way it melts in my mouth. I love the pretty stripes of pale pastel colors and the French label on the package. I seldom have nougat because the good stuff is expensive and it’s also quite sweet, so this little gift is a true treat.

I am quite convinced that these kinds of small treats are an important contribution to a happy life. They’re best when they’re stumbled on almost by accident, rather than something that was sought out or scheduled. Often, for me, it’s something that I’m about to say no to because it’s impractical or somewhat forbidden (like that package of nougat) so that when I say yes, the delight is even deeper.

Your treat doesn’t always have to be a packet of special candy, of course. It can be a cup of coffee with a friend, or even a cup of coffee alone. It often doesn’t even have to be a thing, for sometimes my treat is a walk through the neighborhood or even just stopping my work and noticing the squirrel outside my window taking a little bath. Once, recently, it was sitting outside on a unusually warm November afternoon, peeling persimmons and hanging them to dry in my kitchen window.

The point, I think, is less about the object and more about being available, about positioning ourselves to receive these daily gifts. It’s less about receiving and more about appreciating and paying attention and noticing when they’re being offered. To lift our heads up from the confinement of our personal preoccupations and to discover, however small and fleeting, the delightful gifts of an ordinary day.

What have you found today?