You learn something every day if you’re not too stupid
When I was a child, my father used to have a saying: “You learn something new every day (if you’re not too stupid)”. This was just a funny thing to say I think, although having said that, my father has always been one for learning.
I took this to heart a little, and saw it as a personal challenge to do so. I started off consciously deciding to learn that one thing each day (if I had not already done so by accident!), even if it meant in the end, that I would pick up the dictionary or an encyclopaedia and pick a random page – then learn something. Over a lifetime that has become an unconscious way of being for me and I rarely need to grab that dictionary at night these days.
What I learned from this above all, was that we can practice something, good or bad, and over time, live into it until it is no longer practice, but part of us. I’m sure everyone can instantly think of those good and bad things that resonate for each of us. I also learned that this can be applied in other ways.
Here is where Three Things comes from
Three Things is my other unconscious companion. Where learning something new every day is for my brain, Three Things is for my soul. A long time ago now, as we all do, I had a very difficult time in my life. I lost some people who were very dear to me, in particular, my mother. Having struggled with melancholy and sometimes depression over years, this was an enormous challenge for me. I have a very rewarding job, however it can be very stressful and all consuming. When the balance becomes skewed, when there is more dark than light in your days, it can be a difficult journey.
I was on my way to work one day, and the sunrise was amazing. As it always does (I have always loved sunrises), I felt my heart leap a little at the sight and there was this small moment of light in the darkness. I thought about this on my trip and placed it neatly in the ‘what have I learned today‘ box for later. In short, I then began a quest to ensure that no day passed me by without me logging three things that made my heart leap like that sunrise did. A bird singing, the dew sparkling on the grass, a tree in bud, a child laughing delightedly at something, a random act of kindness. If I was having a hard day, this practice distracted me from the darkness (for a time at least).
In time that planned activity became a part of me. I now see these things without thinking and they inspire poetry, or send me out with my camera hoping to find more, or sometimes, and best of all, simply bring me peace. I no longer count to three and no longer have days where I struggle to find another to make up the quota.
The Three Things just are.
Three Things – The Plan
So the Three Things, my faithful companions for so long, have become like breathing. This is good, but also sad. I have no way to look back and enjoy the Three Things from last month or last year again. They light up my life for a moment and then time swallows them up and moves on. So I had a thought. Why not record them in some way? Not in a tedious way like a diary. Not in a way that might mean it becomes a chore rather than a joy. Not in a way that will take some of the magic away. Maybe not even record all of them every day.
So here is what I decided to do.
I love poetry and words. I love pictures.
I am going to publish Three Things (three things at a time – but not every day). But not just a list.
I am going to select Three Things and find a lovely piece of writing from some of my favourite writers, that links to each of the Three Things. I will find a lovely image to go with it. And Then Three Things will live and be shared and perhaps – grow.
Perhaps people might share some of their Three Things with me and I can find some words and find a beautiful image and publish their Three Things for them. Then we would really have something I think. It won’t be an instant ‘publish a million posts now’ kind of thing – but a gentle, considered and respectful celebration of finding the light even on the darkest days. Perhaps in time, people might find the light in a day by reading someone’s Three Things.
So email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your three things some day soon and I’ll see what I can do about posting them for you!