Tiny Wisdom: Remembering the Good Things

“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” ~Albert Einstein

As I was walking to my apartment just now, I heard the voice of a child who was walking in the same direction with an adult across the street.

With his enthusiastic, high-pitched voice he asked, “Remember we went on a plane? And it was really, really high in the sky?”

Then just a few seconds later he asked, “Remember we saw a baseball game?”

And then a few seconds after that, “Remember we had spaghetti?”

A part of me wanted to keep walking parallel from them, even when I arrived at my place.

I wondered: What else might he remember? What else did he enjoy? And just how purely did he experience those things?

Odds are, he could recall all kinds of little details that most adults wouldn’t even register.

He may have remembered the long line at the airport, but he probably offset any annoyance with pure fascination over the propeller outside his window.

He may have felt disappointed if his team lost, but he probably savored his hot dog, regardless, and couldn’t wait to describe the taste.

He probably got messy in that spaghetti, but thought that was absolutely awesome.

And somehow, in his childlike memory, eating that pasta was just as worthy of remembering as flying in a plane.

Kids have an amazing ability to recall all kinds of little joys, likely because they appreciated them in those moments in a way we often don’t as adults.

It’s partly about mindfulness; it’s hard to reminisce about simple pleasures if you weren’t really immersed in them when you experienced them.

But it’s also about how we internalize those events in the present.

Do we look back with excitement and wonder, remembering everything that made those moments magical? Or do we look back with disapproval and judgment, focusing instead on everything we felt was lacking?

Maybe the key to joy is learning not just to create it, but also to recycle it—to bask in all the good that has been and realize how fortunate we are for having known it.

In fostering this type of gratitude and awe, we increase our ability to recognize the joy that is right now.

Photo by Jan Kromer

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • Hi Lori,

    This post is very timely for me. It reminds me of the picnic my boyfriend and I went on a few weeks ago. We got caught in an unexpected downpour that ruined our meal. Plus our car battery died leaving us stranded in the park for hours!

    Rather than focus on those annoyances, I choose to remember the fact that my boyfriend lovingly covered my from the rain with his jacket. I remember how we enjoyed “small talk” in the car while waiting for our ride. I remember how fortunate I am to have a friend with which I can share even these moments joyously.

    Our spiritual and mental wellbeing result from the choices we make every day. I get to decide how mindful and present I am, and I even get to decide how I’ll remember things. I may not get to choose all my experiences, but I do get to choose the meaning and significance of those experiences.

    Joy itself is a practice, and how we remember things can be part of that practice.

    Thanks for your awesome posts Lori!

  • I love this post! There are so many wonderful things in life. I’m also trying to retrain my brain to be grateful for my struggles as they make me stronger and wiser.


    hi lisa tim hotkkil

  • solitairebala

    Sunday, July 15, 2012


    In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

    About 4 minutes later:

    The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

    At 6 minutes:

    A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

    At 10 minutes:

    A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

    At 45 minutes:

    The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

    After 1 hour:

    He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

    No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

    This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

    This experiment raised several questions:

    *In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

    *If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

    *Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

    One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

    If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..
    How many other things are we missing as we rush through life? 

    Enjoy life NOW .. it has an expiration date!!!!!  “Click to join us at Facebook, to like and comment with other friends of WMC” 
    Posted by Balakrishnan Mechakat ,courtecy,WORLD MALAYALEE CLUB.

  • Bret

    Great post. Thank you.

  • Amazing!!! Simply magnificent.
    It’s often forgotten that the joy is in little things – and that relishing them is the most basic thing that can help us be happy throughout.

  • Kirra

    Hi Lori

    I have read your blog for a long time now, and many others. I have really gained strength from the words and tried hard to apply them to my life. But nothing works for me. I am so close to giving up and don’t know where to turn anymore. The tears are rolling down my face as I write this feeling that no one would even notice if I were to dissapear today. I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m just hoping someone will listen to me but I know your busy. I just really need a friend. Can you or anyone email me if you have the time. I’m really on my last thread.

  • You’re most welcome! =)

  • It’s like that saying, the little things are the big things. =)

  • Hi Kirra,

    Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I am going to send you an email right now. You are in my thoughts!


  • You’re most welcome Jessica. What beautiful memories! That’s wonderful you were able to recognize the little things you appreciated about the day, instead of focusing on the big things that went wrong. =)

  • Thanks Lisa! That’s such a powerful thing to do, appreciating your struggles. 

  • CSR

     strangely, that reminds me of an old blog i once had.. i titled it “Little Big Things” ^_^

  • I love that story! I actually first read it in a book (I believe it was Sway). It’s such a powerful reminder to open our eyes and see the beauty around us, instead of using mental shortcuts to form judgments and assumptions.

  • solitairebala

    Yes Madam Lori, in South India ,Kerala State,deep in the jungle there is a Temple known as Ayyappan temple,In a year it is open only for 41 days or so apart from one day each month once,people from all walks of life from all over the country goes there after doing ‘Vritha’ which means Vegetarian Food alone , for 41 days to purify,one can not have sex or alcohol
    or tobacco during such period Get up early morning after a bath pray to the rising sun and again a bath and prayer to the sun set. When you reach there after walking miles in the forest the first word you see written boldly is the word “Thathvamasi” which means its in you.[Sorry Women between the age of 12 to 60 are not allowed due to perhaps the risk involved as the forest is filled with wild animals.]

    The message i wanted to convey is that the real god is inside you, with meditation or Yoga,[which includes Kundalini awakening process]one can get enlightened and lead a blissful and happy life.But the problem with us is that we either think about our past and regret or are worried about our future thereby simply forget and waste our present moment.

    The most important thing for anyone who wanted to live,or such as
    the realized soul of SriSri Ravisankar says’the art of living’ is to live in the present only, forget the past for you can not change it anyway & forget the future as you can only cross the bridge when you come to it.Just live the moment.Life is as simple as that.


  • Great article with excellent idea! I
    appreciate your post. Thanks so much and let keep on sharing your stuffs.

  • Shannon

    You are so right, Lori. I am a blessed mom of 13 and 15 year olds. Being a teacher at heart, I have sat them down to talk about an ‘issue’ so I could inspire them to live more peacefully and mindfully (my passion). Often it goes wonderfully, and we have a great dialogue. But there’s that occasional time when they say ‘Mommy, we don’t even worry about that…’ or ‘What do you mean ‘fear’?’ It stops me. I am always reminded at how much we, as adults, create so much more in our minds… more to draw us away from this present moment. With those thoughts – of fear, or the list, or anger, or worry – we lose out on the most simple moments of joy. I just loved this post – what an adorable conversation you overheard, and what a lovely message you shared with us. Thank you

  • Rineetha Ramaprasad

    Nice, its always nice to remember the happy moments we spent together rather than the bad ones. When i am low, i just go thro’ all the chats msgs of the past…mind refreshes