The Real Beauty of Small

I recently checked in with Amazon, and was astounded at the number of books on happiness. So many experts and so many methods of achieving this ideal state.

Where does small fit in to this universe, I asked myself? And with all these books and all these experts, how can I expect people to pay attention to what I have to say?

For a few minutes, I churned with worry, imagining throngs of people converging onto a pilgrimage site, each pilgrim pushing and straining and shoving and stomping to reach their mecca.

Then, just as I was about to conclude that there was no place for me, I remembered to think small.

The books I explored on Amazon each lay out a different method for cultivating happiness, some of them rather complex. While small is simple and straightforward, unencumbered with philosophy or psychology, quickly available to all who choose to practice it. Small makes happiness possible without instruction and elaboration, without methodology or pomp and circumstance. And that’s precisely its beauty. Small is attractive and appealing precisely because it is just what it says it is: small.

You practice seeing small by zooming in, instead of spinning out. By focusing on a tiny detail, element or portion of what surrounds you. By reducing your perspective to macro. If the entire garden delights you, try moving closer and concentrating on one plant. And once you’ve gotten that plant in focus, close down further to take in one leaf of that plant, noticing the margins, the leaf node and petiole, the blade and the rib. You’ll marvel at the geometry of the margin, the strength of the leaf’s attachment to its branch, the swirl of the veins, the delicacy of its tip.

If the garden as a whole delighted you, and if you are anything like me, this close up of the leaf will transport and uplift you. It will make you happy to be alive.

That’s the simple power of small.

Crumbling Wall

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