Being present. Self-care. Smelling the roses.
We are encouraged to experience joy in “the little things.”
I recently came across an adorable gif of a lizard, shimmying into some sand, to camouflage itself. The caption read: “When you got fresh sheets.”
How many of us wish we could be that lizard when it comes to the simple things in life? How many of us cannot enjoy the small pleasures because we cannot shut our minds off?
As I’ve watched this gif hundreds of times (yeah, hundreds), I have noticed a few things that could, perhaps, translate from lizard to us.
First, there was the presence of a big ole’ grin.
Whether it was because of its natural appearance, or genuine joy and excitement at the prospect of sand, this lizard had what looks like a silly wide grin on its face.
And that reminded me about the mirror work I’ve been encouraged to do in therapy, twice a day. Ideally, I’m supposed to look into the mirror, smile, and enthusiastically give positive affirmations, granting myself permission to participate in healthier choices. The smile isn’t always genuine. It’s sometimes forced; it’s a pasted expression on my face, going through the motions.
The smile is still important. Why? Maybe because it registers recognition, pleasure, “mirroring” that validation back to us, even if it is our own reflection doing that validation.
The smile is akin to the friendliest Golden Retriever greeting a human being with love, acceptance, excitement, and joy.
So, yes, that big ‘ole grin is important. We can fully be aware that sometimes, we’re forcing the smile during this mirror work. We can say under our breath, “I am smiling, but I don’t believe it or feel it right now.”
Still, the smile communicates something to our reflection.
And you and I are worth our own smile. It signifies what we deserve.
And eventually, our smile will become authentic.
“Shimmy and dig in” comes next.
Looking at this in-the-moment lizard shows the viewer its shimmying skills. This creature is into it. There is an enthusiasm, a wiggle, employing its entire body, as it buries itself in the sand.
It is all about this enthusiastic moment… and there is a lesson here.
When was the last time you and I were so enthusiastic, in the moment? When was the last time we really got into something? Reading? Writing? A sport? An artistic endeavor? Yes, even fresh, clean, cool sheets?
Many of us have lived lives of shame, abuse, and heaviness. Any sense of joy or enthusiasm has been snuffed out, or, at least, severely curtailed. A lot of us feel guilty for simple “enjoying.” Some of us don’t know how to do it.
But we are worth the simple pleasures; we are worth those “frivolous” things that spark happiness, peace, and personal connection with ourselves. It’s not sin, bad, or wrong for us to enjoy “a moment.”
“Shake Your Head, Darling!”
José Eber is a famous hairstylist, who was instrumental in creating Farrah Fawcett’s winged coiffure. He was known for saying, “Shake Your Head, Darling!” He encouraged people to enjoy feeling the movement of their own hair.
Looking at the lizard gif, we see this critter settling into the sand. There’s some shimmying going on, butt-wiggling, and grinning happening. This lizard also has prominent Yoda ears. “Shake Your Head, Darling” seems to, indeed, be the sentiment, as, before completely disappearing into the sand, we see our lizard friend, shaking those Yoda ears. The head shake is the joy of a Beagle hanging its head outside the car window, letting the breeze whip through its floppy ears, as the car ride moves through traffic.
It is sensory validation.
And that is what we need. Not sensory overload, to the point of checking out in a Clockwork Orange kind of way, but rather, the recognition that yes, we are enjoying our senses: what we see, hear, feel, touch, taste, and smell. It is to take in the moment, letting the wind touch us, feeling it on our skin and through our hair, fully allowing ourselves to “Shake Your Head, Darling!”
Being out of touch with our bodies and our senses can create anxiety and an un-ease, with no joy present.
So, yes, the desired approach is the lizard approach. This creature is not analyzing the happiness that comes from the head shake. But the lizard is doing it, nonetheless. It feels good.
“Shake Your Head, Darling!” (in the feel-good- of- this- joy-of-the-moment thing).
It’s that, and we need that. Headshaking, Yoda ears in the breeze. We need that.
As much as we must deal with heavy- duty issues, like abuse and addiction, as they impact our lives, we also need lightness, fun, and joy. We need to get immersed in present-day simple pleasures. We need to stop and feel life moments around us and happening directly to us. Life moments, like a child’s laugh, wind through our hair, the fragrance of a flower, a blue sky, the list goes on.
Cliché sounding. But true, all the same.
The happy lizard, enjoying its immersion into the sand, reminds us of simple pleasures. Too often, this concept is regarded more as a want, or a luxury, rather than a need. But a case can be made for that need in our lives.
We need to enjoy when we have fresh sheets.
Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse