Slowing Down, Reflecting More, Appreciating the Small Things

Water droplets on a leaf on the ground.By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Among the many unexpected aspects of living through these unusual times, one that has emerged for me is an enhanced appreciation of the small but critically important aspects of day-to-day life, family, and community that can often be neglected when we are fully engaged in our busy lives.

During these past few months, we have all seen our worlds contract somewhat. At first, there was frustration at not be able to go about our normal routines. Then came a sense of social isolation. Eventually, new routines evolved, governed by COVID-driven constraints and community health imperatives.

As time has passed, I have grown more reflective. The pace of day-to-day life seems to have slowed. The number of people we get to directly interact with has shrunk. Virtual communication has become critically important to maintaining social connections.

Getting out into nature has been part of my new routine whenever possible. This often involves playing disc golf or taking photographs at our Desert Botanical Garden. I like the meditative calmness that comes from being in the natural environment. When you allow yourself to slow down and be in the moment, you see and experience things that might previously have been missed.

I took the photo above while playing disc golf last week while on vacation. Getting out early and enjoying one of our beautiful parks, I was taken by the simplicity and beauty of a few drops of dew on a leaf laying on the ground. On a normal day, I might have not even noticed this small bit of natural beauty, but on this day, it was an unexpected delight. I’m glad I did not miss it.

Other COVID survival strategies that have made it into my new routine lately include early, early morning dog walks, rock painting, and cooking with my wife. There is a silver lining to every cloud if you look hard enough.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president, senior practice builder, with Kimley-Horn.