Since returning from Ethiopia I’ve felt a bit like my wheels are spinning. I have a lot to say, but am unsure how to say it. I have a lot to do, but am unsure how to do it. I’m so small and the world is so big. And yet, I’m so big and the world is so small.
It wasn’t until just recently that I realized my problem, I feel as though the peak of 2012 is over. It’s hard to keep running forward when your mind is stuck at a checkpoint three miles back, thinking it was actually a finish line. It was not a finish line, but the race from here on out seems bigger than me. I trained for a 5k and was somehow accidentally entered into a marathon. While my legs are happy to keep going my mind is carrying on about how this was a huge mistake and someone should pay. My mind is a whiner.
Of course, much of this has led to thoughts about next year. Somehow it’s easier to imagine continuing in a different calendar year. (My mind is also OCD.)
I’ve thought about whether or not I’ll do a Reverb this year, and what I’d like 2013 to look like. But I’ve also noticed a change in my thinking about the future since returning, a greater awareness about the state of mind in which I enter things. As I look through pictures from the trip, I’m struck by how the tiny details, the shots of places we passed by, are what take me back. How this picture of benches at a secondary school remind me of the way the dry grass on the school grounds crunched under our feet, how the teacher in the math classroom we visited tossed the chalk to and fro between his hands as he paced the room, the smell of the tiny room they called a library, the way its shelves held technology books published in 1992, and how Liz’s scarf framed her face.
Somehow I feel as though this year’s Little Things practice helped put me in the right frame of mind leading up to the trip — leading up to all of this year’s experiences and opportunities, really — and so, as I look forward, I can’t imagine a better way to get myself in the right frame of mind for the coming holiday season and new year than a month of Little Things practice. Today, the little thing I’m grateful for, is the tiny details and somewhat obscure scenes from Ethiopia, those that take me back. Tomorrow I’ll share another little thing, and then another the day after that, and another the next. I hope you’ll come back throughout the month and share the little things you’re grateful for, too.
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Thirty Days of Little Things is the daily incarnation of my (mostly) weekly gratitude practice. It will run everyday throughout the month of November. It also (conveniently) coincides with NaBloPoMo. To join in tell me what you’re grateful for today in the comments, or write your own post and leave me a link so I can check it out. I’d love it. No really. Of course, you can also read about more of my Little Things while you’re here. Because I’d love that, too.