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The Little Things.


I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling exhausted. A bit achy. Not myself. I was getting sleep (just enough at least) and exercising (I could do more) and I wasn’t sick, so what was happening? In a moment of real listening to my body, I realized I was in protection mode. For some reason my whole nervous system had ramped up into fight/flight/freeze/fawn without my realizing it. Like a frog being slowly boiled in water. It must have been creeping up on me over the last couple of days, or weeks, little stress points, triggers, hurts, fears, doubts, old wounds getting activated and each time I noted it, but didn’t always give it the care it needed, I’ve been busy, juggling stuff.

The moment I realized it, my shoulders dropped. I sighed. I was suddenly able to remember what my body feels like when I’m not stressed, or worried, or triggered.


How did I miss it? I’m a meditator, a prayer practitioner, a body work out-er but I missed this slow creep. I think sometimes we ignore the little things, or get distracted by the big stuff. But then I forget, it’s the little things that can accumulate over time into big things, and that big things most often started out as little and became bigger and bigger over time. We act surprised when the big events happen, as if they came out of nowhere. But that’s the exception, not the rule. If we are honest with ourselves, and look carefully we can see that this “sudden” event was precipitated by many small cues, little thoughts, tiny tugs of feeling, moments of madness or a whisper of discontent, or non-attention, or a pile of seconds long choices that didn’t align with our best selves.


This isn’t a fault or blame post. This isn’t to say “well, if you’d only done your job better” scree. It’s a noticing. An affirmation that there isn’t any such thing as an “overnight success” any more than an “overnight failure” or a sudden overwhelming dismantling of everything we know and love. There were drops in the bucket. Maybe not the cause, but certainly contributions to the end result.

The times of absolute random, sudden chaos or destruction are rare indeed. Acts of God that we couldn’t have predicted. But I think those are so much more rare than we think. If we look more closely there were tremors, warning signals. Small moves.


So I’m doing my best to unpack what I missed, not as a way to put myself through, but as a practice, a learning experiment. I’m returning to listening a bit more closely, not with anxious attention, but with curiosity and loving connection…watching for a shift here, or a giving up there… listening for a moment of doubt or mini-anger that is a drop on the lake, that has ripples and moves stuff around on the surface. Letting myself hear more.


Sometimes the little things do matter more. Sweating the small stuff can help us preempt the big stuff way before it manifests. But we must do it gently, with care. Noticing those moments when our attention becomes perfectionism, or our listening becomes judging ourselves. And then shift again. Open, love, listen and support ourselves through those moments.

Sometimes the red flags are just flags that need more inquiry. Sometimes the way to relax is to just realize we are holding so much tension.


My blessing for us all this week is that we turn towards our bodies, inside and out, and listen for how they are feeling, and then track some of the smaller moments, and inject love and curiosity there, so those little seeds of attention will grow into larger blooms of awareness and alignment. Xo Ellie.

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