Pause and Reflect

TeabagSimple pleasures are something easily spoken of, but all too often overlooked. With this in mind I’ve been reflecting on the simply joys in life in recent times. This shift in focus is largely due to the goodness I’ve found in the pages of Tom Hodkingson’s most excellent books, ‘How to Be Idle’ and ‘How to Be Free’.

In these books Hodgkinson presents some very intriguing alternatives to life…we can choose not to be defined by money, career and material wealth. Sure some basics are always going to be essential, but beyond that there is so much more to savour in life if only we sit back, draw breath and absorb something new. Like discovering Thoreau’s Walden many years ago, I feel that I have found a lifestyle and cultural soulmate in Tom.

With all this talk of changing perspectives, I wanted to share three simple joys I’ve enjoyed this week as I made my way around this often mad and crazy world.

1. Hot water pouring on a herbal tea bag. I’ve taken to enjoying a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. After wanting something different from my usual cup of Green or Chai, this week I opted for a blend of St. John’s Wort and Mixed Berry tea. As the hot water pours over the tea bag, the colour of the tea gradually changes from being completely clear to a rich, vibrant purple. It’s impossible to resist such a happy-looking liquid.

2. A rat coming out for a peek in a city street. Walking down to the bookstore on a rainy day is pleasant enough in itself, but when accompanied by a chance sighting of a furry city dweller, it’s even better. With a brief rain shower easing, my little ratty friend ran out from a row of bins and joined those waiting in the taxi queue. He sat and enjoyed the fragrance of the air for a minute or two, until suddenly taking fright and scampering back to his hiding spot. Encountering another sign of life in the city is always a happy thing.

3. Crossing paths with a pigeon. Walking back to my building after lunch, I found myself about to cut across the path of one of the many pigeons that thrive in the city environment. He obviously had important business to conduct in that part of town, with his legs moving as quickly as they could. In all his rush though he still had time to throw me a quick glance as he moved past. Sometimes we forget to look down, but if we always do that we neglect to acknowledge all those others who make the world their home.

Hopefully you experienced some moments of simple joy yourself this week.


  1. Frugal Guy

    I don’t think many people are going slow enough in life to actually notice and appreciate the simple pleasures that are always around us.

    It’s the stopping to notice that is rare…

  2. Lee

    That’s actually really nice, I experience a similar thing with my green tea with peppermint, I like how the water changes colour. I also like, as you know drinking my hot drinks generally lukewarm so I leave the cup on my desk go off and do something then upon my return more often than not I’ve forgotten about my cup of tea and am surprised that it is the perfect temperature.

    Maybe I should look into my absent-mindedness.

  3. Ivan

    I had a rude awakening the other day, I collasped at work. Too much stress…

    All that to say, I’m appreciating everything now! Taking time to ‘do stuff’. Life really is short…

    Thanks for this post, Tracey.

  4. Nico

    Hi – dropped in to re-read some of the public interest courtesy rules, and good to see you posting again! (Time for new rules regarding xmas?)

  5. Tracey

    Frugal Guy – It’s true that people (myself included) can sometimes sweep through life and fail to notice any of the wonderful details that are always around us. We have to remind ourselves to take note at least from time to time.

    I’m very interested in the whole ‘slow movement’ where time is taken to cook, eat and really enjoy time spent in simply living.

  6. Tracey

    Lee (hello special man) – What I’d really like to find is a bright orange tea, and maybe a bright blue one as well, that would be pretty special. I have to have my tea HOT, but with herbal tea I can linger with a cup for a lot longer than I can with normal black tea…I’m not sure why that is.

    It’s not absent mindedness you suffer from…you’re just a dreamer…

  7. Tracey

    Ivan – Goodness me! I hope you’re OK?…collapsing at work is not something you want to do too often. Especially at this time of year it’s important to keep stress levels in check. I’m very glad to hear that you’re taking time out for yourself to just live in the moment.

  8. Tracey

    Hey Nico – So nice to see you back! Thanks for your visit, I’ll return the favour very soon. I have been thinking about some new Public Interest Courtesy Rules…how did you know? Christmas can definitely bring out the worst in people and we must object to such behaviour!! Hopefully I’ll have something for you soon.

  9. PaulS

    I like to chase pigeons. It is a constant joy in my life coming home from work walking across the park where many fat pigeons gather. I select the most pompous and prancing pigeon and walk behind him slowly. He speeds up a little, I speed up a little. Soon, being too lazy to take flight, he is waddling as quick as he can, a very silly pompous waddle and I am traipsing behind him in circles, grinning hugely at his ridiculousness while young mothers with prams hastily steer in a different direction from the mad, balding, middleaged man with a crazy leer waddling after a bird.

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