Slowing down, being present, paying attention to the details

One of my biggest challenges is slowing down and being fully, truly present.

(Except for when I'm making art) I have a tendency to hurry through things without much thought on what I'm doing or even worse, multi-task, my focus split into fragments.

I don't like it. I constantly feel rushed. Overwhelmed. And my joy slips away.

I recently came across this quote:

quotes, William Morris, happiness, secret to happiness, beach, sunset, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Perfect, don't you think?

In order to notice the details you must slow down and be present.

My Joy Lists are simply collections of details. Interesting, beautiful, magical details of daily life.

It's a simple idea, being open like that. But it's also challenging.

Last week when I was doing laundry -- a task I generally like doing -- I realized I was feeling flustered and crabby. I was rushing through changing loads and hurrying to get the clean clothes folded. I stopped myself, slowed down and shifted my focus to what I was doing, paying attention to the warm fabric between my fingers, its texture, scent, colors.

I also shifted my focus to gratitude. Gratitude for a closet full of clean clothes. Gratitude for a freshly made bed. Gratitude for time to do a homey task.

I've had to stop myself a few times lately. While cooking. While walking the dogs. It's a constant challenge, being present.

orchids, flowers, houseplants, vintage typewriter, embroidery, studio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I wish I could say there's a short cut, an easy way, a trick. There isn't. Joy Lists help, if you take the time to write them.

So I'll leave you with this list I've been tallying

  • the sweet taste of spring in the air, warm breezes, the scent of mud
  • colorful clouds at sunset
  • ruby red grapefruit in a seafoam Fiesta bowl
  • beautiful, delicious eggs fresh from my parents' chickens
  • dinners with family and games of dominoes
  • chickadees and downy woodpeckers hopping through bare tree branches
  • the scent of jasmine flowers in my studio
  • sweet and spicy peppadew peppers
  • the new library in town and armfulls of good books, magazines and movies brought home from there
  • the return of the robins and red-winged blackbirds
  • joy-filled packages and cards in the mail
  • designing patterns
  • an outing just for fun
  • orchid flowers
  • leftover pizza
  • cut flowers from my mom
  • hot water; thick, foamy, lavender-scented suds while washing dishes
  • handmade blankets, clean and hot from the dryer
  • dog songs, snuggles and antics
  • laughter
  • hugs

and an imploration to slow down, pay attention and write your own list today. A list of details. A list of joys. A list of gratitude.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Jane. Hope you're finding lots of joys today.

  2. Beautifully and thoughtfully written Anne. I must start to write my joy lists again. I love the William Morris quote (I love anything William Morris!) You have such a long list of joys and sometimes I find it hard to find just one or two - today I will include from your list to mine, the sweet taste of spring in the air! If we pack so much joy into our lives then the 'bad bits' just won't get a look in :-)

    1. Yes, he's one of my favorites, too.

      If you start thinking about it, I'm sure you'll find lots of things to add to your list. And, of course, that sweet taste of spring and all its signs. :)

      Love the idea of nudging out the bad bits. I think it could work!

  3. Although I post my "favorite things" on my FB page I also try to do a Joy List every Monday. Did not get to it today - thanks for this reminder. The day's not over yet!

    1. Glad you've been doing Joy Lists, Madeline! Hope you find lots of loveliness to add to your list today!

  4. Hummingbirds
    Yellow daffodils against snowy white curtains
    Lush, green grass
    The softness of my dog's freshly washed fur
    A Miami Heat win
    The scent of the citrus blossoms
    Chocolate Bourbon pecan pie
    Feeling brave about signing up for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge
    Getting our taxes finished (even if I am not thrilled about the bottom line!)

    1. It makes me so happy to read your list! Thanks so much for sharing, Tracey!

  5. I love slowing down. It is the best love gift which we can give ourselves. Your joy list is beautiful! big hugs to you, Anne

    1. Oh, what a wonderful way of putting it, Aga. A "love gift" for ourselves. Perfect.

      Big hugs to you and much Joy, Aga!

  6. Beautiful. I love the idea you shared with just stopping when you feel crabbiness taking hold. Such a great idea, I plan to do just that!
    As always ~ inspiration. Thank you!


Post a Comment