The sky is blue, the grass is green.

15 Apr

Some time ago while going through a particularly difficult time in my life, a very good friend told me that when I felt my worst I should take pleasure in the small things. “Go outside,” he said. “Take a walk and feel the breeze on your face. Watch it turn the leaves on the trees. Notice the way the sun feels. Pay attention.” He promised me that if I did that, my spirits would be lifted, and I would feel better.

Honestly, I didn’t believe him. I was really having a hard time, under so much stress. and I felt horrible. How on earth was a walk outside going to help me? But one day, feeling completely defeated, I took his advice, put on my tennis shoes and went outside. I mean, I had nothing to lose. As I began to walk down the lane, I looked around. I paid attention to the little things as he had suggested – the sound of my neighbor’s son riding his bicycle, the smell of a distant barbecue cooking something delicious, the feel of the sun’s rays on my arms, and the freshness of the air. I walked for a while and continued to listen, to feel, and to see, and soon I began to notice I wasn’t so upset. I wasn’t so overwhelmed. He was right – I felt better.

Since that experience I have made it a point to be outside more, especially when I’m feeling pressed. Instead of brooding and worrying, I take a walk, I pay attention, and again notice the small things that bring me comfort. And it helps a lot. But sometimes there isn’t time for a nice walk when I’m feeling low, so I have developed a little mantra that I say to myself when I am overrun or stressed, and can’t get away. I sit for just a moment, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and repeat in my mind, “The sky is blue, the grass is green.” I envision a gorgeous blue sky, and brilliantly green grass, and I imagine the feeling of the breeze on my face. As I sit there for just a moment, I am reminded that there are other things to think about. Somewhere, even if it’s raining where I am, somewhere the sky is blue and the grass is green. The breeze is soft and warm, there are birds singing, and all is not lost. That little mantra has calmed me more times than I can count. It’s just a small reminder that what I’m going through is isolated and will change, and there are better things coming my way.

Today if you’re feeling stressed, if you’re feeling bad, take a moment, just a moment, sit still, close your eyes, take a breath, and think about something that makes you relax, that brings you comfort. Maybe work on developing your own mantra for times when you’re unsettled and need some relief. “The sky is blue, the grass is green.” Yes, it is. And sometimes that’s all it takes.

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