Small Joys Les Petits Bonheurs


Possible side effects include moments of spontaneous gratitude, pure joy, a desire to live fully while we can, and an urge to give back.

Small Joys

When my Granddaughter Sophie was seven, she came home from school with a completed project titled, Les Petits Bonheurs. (small pleasures) This project was a booklet where she had illustrated a “small joy” on each page. I was so touched with the wisdom of her teacher and the small joys that Sophie had written and illustrated that I decided on the spot that I would do the same, although, I chose to use photographs rather than drawings.

In so doing I was struck by the impact Japanese Psychology had played in helping me to notice all the small joys in my ordinary moments. In fact the practice of “paying attention,” is in itself a joy because it reminds me every day, in the midst of obstacles and confusion, to look and see what else there is to notice beyond the default of the obvious.

Life can be messy

Yet, I can take a moment and enjoy the beautiful blue of my breakfast bowl. A bowl that a potter, unbeknownst to me, built, glazed, and fired in a kiln many miles away, which I now get to use. I can notice the skill of the lab tech who carefully and kindly, draws blood from my small and rolling veins. I no longer take for granted the helping hands; the red cardinal; the first peony; the golden light prior to sunset; the open arms of my grandchild or the extraordinary kindness of my Mother. All of these beautiful, significant and ordinary moments are many times in clear view.

In  troubled times, it is easy to believe that life is bleak, and there are undeniable bleak moments for us all. Yet, there is also the truth that kindness is rampant, and beauty is everywhere, whether we notice or not. The practice of noticing, using a wide-angle lens, gives us a chance to expand our view. And with that we rejuvenate, experience gratitude, and possibly consider what we can do today to  make the world a better place, right where we are.

Paying attention to small joys tends to open hearts, eyes, and minds to see more clearly the reality and wonder of this day, like no other, with its endless flow of beauty and surprise.  I heartily recommend this practice, in the midst of daily life, for ourselves, and as a way to be a small joy for others.


Note 1:) When I was in Japan six years ago, I witnessed this scene many times of a younger person not just helping but caring for an older woman or man who needed help. I was deeply touched and inspired by these ordinary moments of kindness. This was a small joy for me.

Note 2:) It is one month today that our dear Mother died. She taught us to notice the small joys and to show appreciation  in word and deed. My sister and I naturally miss our Mother, but we don’t wish her back. She lived a long and good life and we see her, and her delight, in all the little things: dragonflies; wild strawberries; sunsets; moon rises and cheese scones. All the commonplace things so easy to miss unless you pay attention.

Note 3:) I have received and continue to receive beautiful words of comfort. Thank you! I deeply appreciate your kindness in every single word.  Thanks for dropping by and I will be back next week. A deep bow to you all, Trudy

We All Leave a Legacy

The last stanza from the poem Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,

but because it never forgot what it could do.


And it mostly comes down to this: how we live today.

Our legacy isn’t about how much money we pass on (although that also is nice, for those who can) or how public a life you’ve lived. Instead, it is understanding the impact you have on those around you and finding ways to do it better.

Lyndsay Green, Canadian sociologist, and author of The Well-Lived Life: Live with Purpose and Be Remembered, says it best:

“It’s about accepting responsibility that you’re important to people. Not taking our life and relationships seriously while we’re alive is doing a disservice to yourself and the people you have a connection with.”

What will your legacy say about you? For most of us, during the span of a lifetime, it may be mixed. We are fallible humans and rarely does anyone get it consistently right over four score years and two. (well, maybe my Mother😊 with her five score years))

Without using the word Legacy, I first encountered this idea when I was 41. That was the year I began my study of Japanese Psychology and during the course of a ten-day intensive workshop we had exercises to do around the question of “How Do You Want to be Remembered?”

The assignment was three-fold:

Imagine you died at xxx years, so I chose 100. Now write your Obituary, Eulogy and Epitaph. The latter is the pithy saying that might go on your grave marker. The Obituary is the facts. The Eulogy was the most fun. It was where we got to imagine and seriously reflect on what we wanted people to say about us after our death. In other words, how would we want to be remembered?

Obviously, this was sobering, but it was also life affirming. We weren’t thinking about dying today, tomorrow, or next year. In this exercise we could give ourselves however much time we wanted. It was an opportunity to really think about our life and the impact we wanted to make.

These eulogies got read out loud by someone else in the group, so you heard your own words with another voice. Some people had big life goals that would impact the lives of many. Others were modest.

The point was this:

You now had the chance to work towards making this be true. We were still alive, and we could ask ourselves the question: what do I need to do differently now, for this to be true??

Lyndsay Green writes:

“We are misreading the concept of legacy if we assume, we have a choice in the matter. We are building our legacy continuously by the way we lead our lives, whether consciously or not. The actions and contributions we make every day are the components that will structure our remembered self. As well, our future persona will be shaped by the attention we pay to the impact of our deaths on those we leave behind and our efforts to fill the gap left by our departure.”

We would be wise not to underestimate the importance of the role we play on this Earth. When people talked to me about their departed family members and friends, they imbued them with the emotional fibre of those still alive. As their stories were being told, the deceased leapt into our conversations, sometimes radiating kindness and consideration, other times trailing chains of hurt and anger. We are leaving a legacy – like it or not. So, we would be wise to pay attention to what that legacy will look like.”

Ask yourself how you want to be remembered and what are the  important things you need to do for this to be true? 

Green adds: “Your legacy is everything you’re doing. It’s immersed in every single action each day. Just be more conscious that you are living fully and that you are fully engaged and are making an impact. Take it seriously.” And I add, enjoy the process and the opportunity to make a positive difference in your own life and the lives of others, especially those you love. Kindness is always a good legacy. Take nothing for granted.



Note 1:) Lyndsay Green’s book The Well-Lived Life: Live with Purpose and Be Remembered

Note 2:) My webinar today at Wellspring was on this topic and we had a rich exchange. It is still on my mind tonight, so wanted to say just a few words here.

Note 3:) Thank you for all of your kindness and kind words and for showing up here and reading my musings.Warmest wishes, Trudy



Mostly a Quiet Time this Evening

Hello dear readers:

For those who know me, you understand that it is through poetry, where I find renewal. Without fanfare I offer this poem today.


In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars


of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,


the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders


of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is


nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned


in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side


is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

With so many thanks to all of you, dear readers. Life is good. Take care and live fully.

Warmest wishes and gentle hugs to you all. See you next week, Trudy

A Forest Walk

We read about it and write about it and many of us do it. The benefits are legend:  a forest walk, I am speaking about.

The morning following My Mother’s death, my son called and asked how I was doing. “I am OK,” I said, “except my body feels like it has been run over by a truck.”

“I suggest we take a walk in the forest; how about Nelder’s Pond. That place I told you about.”

And so we did. Seven of us piled into two vehicles, drove 20 minutes, and arrived at Nelder’s Pond. From the first moment, magic was happening. Dragonflies were everywhere, including red ones and a black and white pair. The air was sweet. Our spirits lifted. Approximately 90 minutes later, we returned to our starting point, and all of us felt revived. We walked through groves of pine, spruce and cedar. Dappled light; sounds of birds and rustling leaves and the fragrance of the earth and the trees. The odd blackberry bush soaked in sunlight, at a fork in the road, added to the fragrance, or perhaps it was the wild roses near that same spot. A full sensory experience.

Home Now

My friend Karen, had written out an excerpt from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, and I am reading it again now:

“but when you left, a strip of reality broke

upon the stage through the very opening

through which you vanished: Green, true green,

true sunshine, true forest.”



Note 1:) The science is still lacking to prove it. But there is some evidence — as well as good old common sense — to suggest that spending time in nature is good for both the mind and body, whether done as a group or alone. It may be something we all need more of. Amitha Kalaichandran, M.H.S., M.D., (@DrAmithaK) is a resident physician in pediatrics based in Ottawa, Canada.

Note 2:) Words can’t express my deep gratitude for all of your kind messages, thoughts and prayers. Believe me when I tell you they bring solace.

Note 3:) Today, I did my 1st webinar for Wellspring in over a month.  On Sunday night I had looked up my list of Webinars to see what I was speaking about, and to my surprise saw the topic was “Never Resist a Generous Impulse.”  It seemed perfect to begin again with this and so perfect to dedicate it to my Mother.

Note 4:) Take good care of your dear selves. Spend lots of time outdoors with all things green. Warmest greetings and see you next week, Trudy