I was cleaning out a corner of my basement last weekend when I came across some old college textbooks. Fondly recalling the kindly and knowledgeable economics professor from decades ago, the terms macro and micro began to bounce around in my head and I knew that something was brewing (a blog, of course). Tonight on my walk in the neighborhood it finally came to me.
In my last blog post I wrote about the path to immediate results running through the infinitude of patience. Recent conversations with colleagues and family members have reminded me of the immense pressure in our modern culture to “go big or go home” and the great negative influence this mindset has on our ability to fully enjoy our lives.
And it’s not only young people and ladder-climbing executives who are impacted by this zeitgeist of excess; I know spiritual experts who have succumbed to this influence of largesse.
I spent a number of years as an Organist, and over the years met many ministers. I remember one minister from a long time ago who was working hard to save a dwindling congregation and while he was doing a lot of the right things he was also laser-focused on a family who had moved away.
This family was affluent and generous, and had showed up when he was new at the church. When the husband’s job took them out of state, they made a large and loving parting donation to the church. That donation – the largest single donation the minister had ever seen before or since – was a lifeline during tough times. It was truly a great blessing that came at just the right time. The only “problem” with it was that the minister became fixated on this easy answer to financial woes and began to speak about the church’s survival as being contingent on finding “another Smith family” to make a similar donation.
It’s easy to be critical of the minister as he looked past all the remaining members and their tithes, gifts and contributions, longing for another big donor; but how often are we looking past the little (micro) joys in our lives with a long face because we haven’t achieved our big (macro) goals?
Icons of macro happiness like a better job, a larger salary, a bigger house in a nicer neighborhood, a partner/relationship, a new or different car, taking a vacation every year,…are easy to identify; and they’re very often the things we put our attention on that are not immediately available to us. We make vision boards with luxury items and lifestyle accoutrements and we focus our affirmations, meditations and affirmative prayer work on the MACRO happiness.
While there’s nothing at all wrong with dreaming BIG and having these MACRO happiness goals, it’s important to remember that there is MICRO happiness and joy available to us in almost every moment. When we focus on the MACRO exclusively we risk becoming impatient, and losing sight of the truth that in infinite patience we find immediate results. The path to the large experience of happiness and joy in our lives runs right through a million MICRO moments of joy, pleasure, and laughter.
Snuggling with a beloved pet; sharing a good dinner with your partner or spouse; enjoying a great story on TV, at the movies or in a book; a good laugh with a great friend; seeing beautiful flowers on an evening walk; freshly-laundered sheets and a fluffy pillow; sleeping in on a cool morning,…and much, much more.
If we spend our life looking ahead at what we’ve not yet acquired or achieved we live in a constant state of lack. Walking the path toward that MACRO happiness state becomes a walk of joy when we allow ourselves to experience the MICRO pleasures that are all around us on our journey.
The global economy works through the complementary activities of MICRO and MACRO economics. So too our overall happiness is built on both MICRO and MACRO happiness and joy. As you walk your path toward the larger goals you have established for yourself, remember to slow down and experience the joy that comes in small portions and the happiness that is contained in a single moment. These simples pleasures point the way to a secret pathway toward the good life – the contentment we so often equate with big-picture acquisitions.
Wayne Dyer taught that to manifest our desires we must learn to live from the end; to act “as if” we already have what we are seeking and I can’t think of a better way to incredible (macro!) joy and happiness than experiencing it every day in life’s micro moments.
And so it is.