What are some small things you appreciate in your life?

17:01, 19/08/2017

Every year, on Good Friday, I notice the beauty of the most ordinary things. These include salt shakers, trees, candles, spiders, pencils.

The original inspiration came from the wonderful play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. I read this play in 7th grade and it deeply affected me. In that play, Emily dies, but she is given the opportunity to return home, for one day, just to observe what it meant to be alive. The other dead strongly advise her not to go. When she insists, they say, please, at least pick a random, ordinary day. But she doesn't; she picks a special day, one of the happiest days in her life, her 12th birthday.

She sees her old home. She sees her childhood friends. She sees her parents. It is all so wonderful, so terribly wonderful, so painfully wonderful.

She sees herself—but the young Emily she sees doesn’t notice the wonder of the moment. The little 12-year-old girl just takes everything for granted.

The dead Emily then realizes that going back was a mistake. She is filled with regret, regret for what she had missed. Life, ordinary life, is so wonderful, but we don’t appreciate it. Life is so beautiful, every moment! Why didn't she savor it as it happened? Just listening to her mother talk fills her with joy—and sadness that she didn’t relish it at the time. Filled with remorse at how little she experienced the beauty of the ordinary, she returns to the dead, deeply saddened.

I was strongly moved by this play. We are surrounded by beauty, beauty that we ignore. I began to take notice.

Years later I was inspired to turn these thoughts into a cermony by Wagner’s Opera Parsifal. In that opera, as Parsifal is returning from the Holy Land, he notices the beauty in the ordinary. He asks Gurnemanz why the world is so wonderful that day. Gurnemanz replies, “That’s Good Friday’s magic, my lord.”

(The orchestral music that accompanies this moment is often played separately, under the title, “The Good Friday Magic” or “The Good Friday Spell.” I make a point to listen to this part of the opera every Good Friday.)

One Good Friday I told my 8-year-old daughter that on this day ordinary things are extra beautiful. I told her to look hard at everyday things, like her breakfast cereal and the bowl it is in; at the spoon she was using; at the tree outside our window, at the clouds. She agreed, everything was especially beautiful.

Next year I did it again. “Today is Good Friday,” I said, “Remember? This is the day when ordinary things become more beautiful.” Again, father and daughter enjoyed the beauty of ordinary things. And then my daughter (Elizabeth Muller; we are now business partners and she is active on Quora) said to me, “Daddy, things look more beautiful on Good Friday, but that’s only because that’s when we notice them, right?” I told her she was showing a great depth of wisdom.

Every year I and my two children (adults now) notice the ordinary on this day. Often I’ll get email from one of them simply saying, “By the way, things seem very pretty today. Is that also true where you are?”—with no mention of it being Good Friday.

I encourage everybody who reads this to adopt this Good Friday ceremony. Once you begin it, you’ll also carry it over to other days of the year. You’ll find greater joy in your everyday life. You’ll think less about the things you want, and more about the things you have. We are surrounded by the beauty of the ordinary. Don’t miss it. Enjoy it now!


Click here for further information https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-small-things-you-appreciate-in-your-life/answer/Richard-Muller-3?share=526b8b11&srid=RNUp

Nguồn: ThsBs Huỳnh Mạnh Nhi
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