My Thoughts After Reading “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Cheryl Strayed

tiny beautiful things

My recent few days have been full as is to be expected.  But there is something of a theme running through them, that has to do with pain and perspective and the role of tiny beautiful things.  A while back Tara recommended this book to me and boy am I grateful for that!  It is full of so many heart-moving insights that I could not possibly sum it all up other than to say that it’s a worthwhile read.

My biggest take-away so far comes from what Sugar had to say about entitlement and ambition.  She gave me some good thoughts to marinate on and I feel that I may have been able to turn around my thinking on a few topics that my mind is prone to torturing me with.  The sum of it is this, sometimes the way to change perspective is to alter the scale of thinking.  When the unproductive and obstructive thoughts are grandiose, then it can be useful to get engaged with something on a very small scale.  Likewise when the thoughts that paralyze us in a negative holding pattern are minuscule, then it may well serve us to think big.

These days it’s the big thoughts that drive me crazy.  The past couple weeks have made it clear to me that there is no point thinking about why these thoughts enter my head, rather I have to shift my perspective:  spend time with a friend, work on an intricate crochet project, admire tiny little pebbles collected by my husband and son on the beach, focus on very small gentle movements in one very specific area of my body, talk through the details of someone else’s current life experience.  All of those things have been a welcome salve in recent days.  And it was Cheryl Strayed’s words that helped me put it all together to understand what was happening.

When I’m four days into a painful episode that relates to my decades-old injury as I am today, I am prone to angry thoughts about the lack of help that I received when I originally knocked my tailbone to the side.  I happened to be complaining to my mom about my frustrations when by some grace, I was granted a perfect opportunity to redirect those thoughts.  Probably because it was related to the topic at hand, she mentioned that a co-worker had to leave early because her teenage daughter called from school with back pain so extreme that she wanted to go home.  It occurred to me that my mom and I could do a little something with all the regret that we shared over the failings that we experienced back then.  I suggested that she make good on our unfortunate history by telling her coworker that there was most likely some relief in her daughter’s future if they were to seek the appropriate support in the form of a healing practitioner outside the western medical model.  Had I been told even this as a teen, the search would have begun.

It’s not that any problems were solved in that moment.  But a mental shift occurred because I was given the opportunity to shift my perspective.  The big and unalterable history of my current situation melted away as I considered the plight of another and one tiny little thing that I could do to offer my help.  Who knows what will come of it, but in that moment despair gave way to hope.

In the course of a full day, that’s a beautiful moment worth appreciating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *