By: Rebecca Frager
Four times in the past month I have hurt myself. They weren’t major injuries, but they hurt like heck.
The first was a paper cut on my finger. That thing made my hand throb for several hours. The second was a splinter in the palm of my hand. Again, nothing major, but it really hurt, got all red and swollen, and it took me about an hour to get the damn thing out. Weeks later, I still can see the red area where the splinter was. The third happened while cleaning my barbecue grill. Water had accumulated in the bottom of the grill, and I thought I could just tip the grill a bit to get the water out. The top of the grill, where the hinges are, closed in over my thumb. It made me scream, but I got that incredible moment of strength and was able to quickly stand the grill back up and extricate my thumb. There was a lot of pain for a while. A whole lot of swearing – appropriate for the situation. In the end, I was only left with a bruised thumb and some lingering discomfort. The fourth and final incident occurred the other evening when, while getting dinner out of the freezer, a six-pound frozen leg of lamb dropped out right on to my little toe. Some more swearing, a few tears and a lot of bruising. I taped my little toe to the next one over and limped around a bit. After a few days, the bruising is down, and the pain is mostly gone. But these incidents got me thinking how little things can affect us. A little splinter, a small paper cut, an injured little toe can make our entire body ache for days.
But the opposite is also true. Little things can also greatly affect us in a positive way.
Thirty minutes of consistent practice six days a week can make you an accomplished musician over time. If you tried to practice three hours one day a week over the same amount of time, you couldn’t do it. It’s the small moments of consistency that make the difference.
Five to 10 minutes each day of mindful practice or guided breathing can not only set a positive tone for your day, but it also can greatly affect your physical health over the course of time. Trying to do that for only one hour per week just won’t work. It’s the small moments of consistency that make the difference.
Getting one longer hug once a week from your husband, rather than those daily squeezes, just wouldn’t make me feel loved. I need those small daily moments of reassurance and connection with him. The same is true for our children. They need positive contact daily – not just once a week or a few times a month. Five minutes a day of one-on-one time has a far greater impact than one 35-minute session per week.
I don’t need a huge celebration of the work I do. What really makes a difference is that unexpected tweet that a colleague posted. It’s my husband telling me how much he enjoyed seeing my happiness at the craft fair yesterday. It’s that student last week who, as he left the library, went out of his way to say, “Thank you for teaching us that stuff, Mrs. Frager.”
Yep, it’s the little things.