One of the chapters in the book I’m writing is called Life is Made of Small Good Things. It’s one of my favourite chapters, and one of my favourite chapter titles. I love the idea of small good things. It takes the pressure off having to experience very big good things 🙂
The thing is, at times like these, it’s tempting to think, “Small good things? I don’t think so. Life is made of Small Very Bad Things called Covid-19” !
So true, I tell the voice in my head.
But … (I tell said voice) Life is actually an infinite number of things, some are good, some are horrid and some indifferent. Life is defined by what we choose to focus on.
Toilet paper. (How could they behave that way? Has the world gone mad?)
Someone reaching out via a neighbourhood group, “We are a family of seven and we have NO toilet paper! Can anyone spare some?” and then learning I was too late to assist. They were inundated with so many offers of help that I didn’t even need to “spare a square”.
Hearing that my kind step-daughter Rachel walked her neighbourhood, knocking on elderly neighbours’ doors, offering friendship and assistance to the tired, fearful faces that greeted her.
This beautiful gesture by my niece, Shanthi, dropped off to all the people on her street:
In these uncertain and fearful times, I remind myself that I have no way of knowing what the future holds or who will live or who will die … or ANYTHING AT ALL, because I’ve never had a way of knowing this. Covid-19 just makes it that much clearer.
So, I made a checklist for myself to stay sane and focus on what I CAN do. And it turns out there’s a lot! Here’s my list of Small GOOD Things:
- Stay informed (but don’t go overboard), practice good hygiene and make sure there’s enough food for a few weeks. Just in case.
- Don’t criticise. This is new territory and everyone’s doing the best they can.
- Offer help. A kind word, a spare toilet roll… it all helps 🙂
- Make art. Write, paint, take photos, make yummy food, knit, dance. (the last two where in case anyone reading this, dances and/or knits. I don’t 🙂
- Read. Actual books. Cos you love it, and now you’re allowed, and it’s good for the brain, and 3x a day checkins is MORE THAN ENOUGH news on Covid-19 for anyone.
- Write letters and cards. Make them pretty, interesting, creative, loving. Tell the people you love, that you love them, in ways you never have before.
- Be kind. And then be kinder than that. And don’t leave yourself out.
- Trust that you can navigate whatever adversity unfolds around you.
- Remember what mum used to say in difficult times: “Malini, EVERYTHING changes.”
I didn’t put on my list “watch everything you can, on every streaming service you’re subscribed to” because, well, that’s a given 🙂
And if you’d like a recommendation, MODERN LOVE is surprisingly beautiful series of true stories, and not all are about romance. My favourites are – the one with the homeless pregnant woman and the gay couple; the one with the creative, bipolar woman; and the one which starts with a death and ends with a white-haired elderly lady running in the rain. If you watch it to the end, there is an appealing and simple suggestion on how anyone can meet adversity:
When something bad happens, do something ridiculously good for no other reason than to tip the balance in the Universe.
PS Fear and uncertainty are rife, and if you suffer from anxiety it’s very likely that this situation is very triggering. This article may help you understand what is happening in your mind, and give you some useful strategies.
PPS We can give in to the anxiety caused by this Very Small Bad Virus … or we can tip the balance and focus on creating a very large number of Small Good Things. We get to choose.
Malini Parker is an artist, writer and teacher.
From her home studio amongst the eucalypts,
she runs beginners art classes in Perth, Western Australia
that help awaken creativity and amplify joy!
Find out more here:www.maliniparker.com