by Angela Noel
February 23, 2017
“Don’t go looking for trouble;” Sookie Stackhouse, heroine of The Southern Vampire Series often says, quoting her wise grandmother (who in turn was paraphrasing Proverbs 11:27), “it’s already looking for you.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author and philosopher, offers a different but related perspective, “Man only likes to count his troubles; he doesn’t calculate his happiness.” Even if you aren’t a fan of either Sookie or Dostoyevsky, it’s difficult to deny there’s truth here: Trouble is looking for us whether we like it or not, and we tend to focus on it, even when we’re trying not to.
But, trouble is neither all bad, nor all encompassing. At least, it doesn’t have to be. We can follow a different path. One highlighted by poet Mary Oliver in her poem Sometimes:
“Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.”
I think Mary’s on to something, so I’m creating a way to share the good. I’m calling it “Awesome Nuggets: A Weekly Way to Share the Good” and I hope you’ll join me.
What’s an Awesome Nugget?
I love the word nugget. Good things come in nugget form, gold, for example, and also chicken (particularly if you’re seven years old or know someone who is). An awesome nugget is any little gem–
- an insight
- a quote
- a random act of kindness you experience or offer
- an article or a picture you loved
- a compliment
- a moment of gratitude
–anything at all that surprised and delighted you in any given moment during your day. Call these moments anything you like, maybe you like the word bits, or morsels, or kumquats. The word isn’t terribly important. What’s important is the feeling you get when the moment happens, and holding on to that feeling for as long as you can. If you hold on to it long enough to share it with me and others, that’s you, calculating happiness. Dostoyevsky would be proud.
Here’s What to Do:
- On Mondays look for a new weekly thread on the You are Awesome Facebook page. (Below you’ll find a sampling of the awesome nuggets I’ve encountered this month. You’ll see they’re just everyday occurrences that, like Mary Oliver said, I saw and was astonished by.)
- It’s easy to join the good. Like or Follow the You are Awesome Facebook page to see the posts and share your own. Or you can tag me at @angelanoelauthor if you’re posting a nugget on your own timeline.
And remember, it’s simple: See good things. Share good things. That’s it.
Angela’s Awesome Nuggets for February 2017
- My co-worker Jeremy has a thing for some words. For example, he doesn’t like to ask people to take a walk with him, he prefers to ask them, “Wanna take a waltz?” Sure, some people, brows furrowed, say, “Did you say waltz?” Jeremy nods. He’s not actually inviting the person to a dance, but the idea of making an ordinary walk into a kind of dance, where two people do more than get from one place to another, makes me happy.
- I went to get my car washed after the caked-on dirt made it look grey instead of black. While I waited, I noticed they had knickknacks on sale, clearance-priced. For $2.41 I bought three perfect rear-view mirror ornaments (below). It felt like my birthday and Christmas rolled all into one! (Which is a typically how I feel when either of these celebratory events occur because my birthday is actually on Christmas.)
- Four of my neighbors greeted me when I went for a run around the neighborhood. They genuinely seemed happy to see me.
- A beautiful and haunting story by Amy Bee on her blog Lion By the Tail made me glad she survived her young years to write such startling and true words.
- Gabriel Burkhardt writes a compelling blog called (Almost) Unsalvageable and recently posted about trekking the Appalachian Trail. He wrote an incredibly thoughtful comment on my post Fighting the Body Image War, reminding me that men, too, have struggled.
- Suzanne Elliot‘s Big Up My Blog Facebook group has introduced me to many new and amazing bloggers. I’ve no doubt many will find their way into this monthly round-up of awesome nuggets. So. Many. Interesting. People.
- Book club buddy and dedicated teacher Kelly, told a story about how she asked her local Home Depot to donate materials to help her build some shelving in her classroom. They called her back and not only donated the materials, but built the shelving for her.
- Neighbor Brian and Robin recently had a baby. We met up at the grand opening of a new taproom, Utepils, near our homes. Brian went up to get a beer, baby Oscar cradled in his arms. The bartender said, “Cute baby. Free beer.”
- Mimosas and breakfast casserole bribed my thoughtful and wise book club members to read (and in some cases re-read) my first novel. I’m heading to my first-ever pitch conference in April and I need all the feedback I can get. They provided invaluable insight–even though I burned their bacon.
- A woman held the parking garage door open for me when I had two unwieldy containers once filled with Chinese New Year candy in
my arms. These containers were destined to become the best ever (free) Lego organizing tools.
- My friend, Anni, told me about author Elizabeth Gilbert‘s podcast, Magic Lessons. I listened to the Season two finale with Glennon Doyle Melton. It’s so good, I listened to it twice, and I’m pretty sure I’ll listen to it again and take notes. (Look for a future blog post on this!)
- I heard about this quote from comedian Louis C.K.,”The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.” Awesome.
I could go on (and on and on). But, I’ll leave it there for this month. Please share your own awesome nuggets. I’d love to know more about the good you see!
“Beauty is everywhere, but not everyone sees it.”- Confucius