10 Sweet Little Moments (In The Evening)

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This post comes from contributor Kristen Hedges.

Four weeks ago, we began searching for sweet little moments in the morning, eyes still full of dreams, and a mug of hot coffee cupped between cold palms. We spent some time in the kitchen, out on the town, and under wool blankets and a sheet of snow in the wintertime. We have discovered that everything, when done mindfully & with care, can become a meditation.

And now, our breathing slows. Our shoulders fall away from our ears and the day begins to unravel at the seams and loosen after ten hours of light. The sun becomes tired of entertaining the clouds in the sky, and it slips back down behind some trees on the horizon.

sunset

There are a few moments here, after the sun has moved on to another part of the world and the sky isn’t quite dark, that the night seems to be holding its breath. The sunset, like a great inhale, is finally released in a sigh of pink and red and dark blue. Rest in this moment. Fall in love with the fact that you will never again see a sunset exactly like the last.

Then, within the blackness, something winks. A flicker here, and there, over to the East! The West! Above you, stars wake up and come out to pepper the sky in light. Bill Watterson once said, “If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.” And I imagine that this is true. For five minutes, crane your neck or rest your ear on someone’s shoulder, climb to the top of your roof, lie out flat on the Earth, and watch the sky. Count the stars and guess their age, make wishes on the ones that fall, tell the giants in the Heavens a secret and feel small and big all at the same time.

10 sweet moments in the evening

The song of the evening is very different from the rest of the day. It’s slower, and quiet, and all together beautiful. Wherever you are, perk your ears up and listen. Open your window and let the night roll in. Hear a cricket’s hum, the quiet space between the chirps. Notice the footsteps and the distant laughter and car sounds in the city. Try to hear the clouds shifting overhead. So often we seem to shut off our ears entirely – in the evening, open them up and allow the night to lull you to sleep.

If you’re feeling restless, like your body still needs to move and stretch in order to quiet down for bedtime, try practicing gentle yoga. Pile up blankets and use props if you have them. Ease yourself into each asana. Move with your breath. Focus on the center of your chest, and with each movement, become more and more relaxed.

10 sweet moments in the evening

Before bed, we often like to wash up and wipe the day from the soft skin on our face. To make your evening just a little bit sweeter, try scrubbing with raw honey, or using warm oil to massage out the worry lines and delicate creases near your eyes. Soak a clean cloth in warm water and press it to your face. Breathe in. Sigh. Wipe your face clean, and enjoy the feeling of fresh, naked skin.

Bring a cup of milk (or a milk alternative) to a simmer on the stovetop and toss in a pinch of ground cardamom. Sip slowly before bed, after you’ve tucked yourself in and before you close your eyes. Cradle the cup in both hands, feeling the warmth spread to your fingertips and into your belly. The combination of calming spice and heated milk is a traditional Ayurvedic drink that has been used for centuries to relax the body and induce sleep.

10 sweet moments in the evening

Close up your day with a story. Crack the spine of an old book, wipe off the dust with your sleeve, and dive into a world that’s quite different from you own. Try reading one short story each evening – read Bradbury, and Robbins, and the early work of Elizabeth Gilbert. Fall in love with a character before you close your eyes, and perhaps you’ll meet them in your dreams.

In the morning, you might scribble down intentions and goals for your day between the lines of a journal. Now that the sun has set, it’s time to reflect. Press pen to paper and allow your day to unroll itself like old yarn in words and poems and stories. Find gratitude in five things, and write them all down, noticing how you feel as you bring attention to each one.

Tuck yourself in. Wrap your shoulders in a blanket and pull the cloth up to your chin. Breathe in the clean cotton, the worn wool, the woven blankets that have been with you from one apartment, to the next. Allow your knees to reach for your chest, and enjoy the subtle curve in your back. Dig deep. Get comfortable.

While you’re waiting for sleep to come, it helps to practice body awareness. Begin at your toes. Thank them for keeping you up all day. Feel a tingle, a warmth, a soft spreading of relaxation from the very tip of each, through to your soles, up your ankle, your calf, and on through your entire body until you reach the crown of your head. Don’t rush – there’s nowhere to be, and there’s no prize for finishing first. Simply notice each bit of your body, and relax.

Soon, it will be time to start again. Your eyes open. You stretch. You live another day. I think that the most wonderful thing we can do in life is to find a little beauty in everything. To find stillness in even the most tumultuous moments. That, in my opinion, is meditation. That is happiness.

So – where do you find the most sweetness in your day?

Find Kristen here, and at facebook.com/withonlylove.

More from the 10 sweet little moments series!

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Comments

Gita -December 16, 2013, 8:32AM

I love these posts, they really help me calm my mind throuhout the day :).

xx
http://gita-oddsandends.blogspot.com/

LamentingLizzie -December 16, 2013, 9:59AM

Just so you know, these posts totally make my Monday. It’s like a nice little reset to start my week right. Thank you. :)

Annejelina -December 16, 2013, 10:10AM

I really love these posts, they are even relaxing to read. I especially love what she said here:
“make your evening just a little bit sweeter, try scrubbing with raw honey, or using warm oil to massage out the worry lines and delicate creases near your eye.” I’ve been doing the oil cleansing method for a few months now and it’s wonderful <3
xoxo Annejelina

Visit my shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/CrownofCreationShop

erika -December 16, 2013, 10:17AM

I love these post! Also I love the ring in the final picture! Perfect lighting.

erika
erikalynnpearsonphotography.com

Juliette Laura -December 16, 2013, 10:46AM

This is absolutely beautiful. They are so relaxing and inspiring.

xo, Juliette Laura
http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

Tori -December 16, 2013, 1:18PM

I feel so warm and snuggly after reading this. And it’s 10 in the morning! Will be putting some of these into my day later on:) Thank you for the these sweet moments!

Much love, http://www.myomlife.com/

Kristen -December 16, 2013, 2:02PM

I’m so happy that you’ve all enjoyed the Sweet Little Moments posts! I appreciate your loving words more than I could ever say! xo

rhonna -December 16, 2013, 10:32PM

This is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

Milka -December 17, 2013, 12:25AM

I absolutely love these posts! Just reading them is meditation. They’re relaxing and so insightful. Evening/Afternoons are my favorite part of day. When everything just starts slowing down and becomes peaceful and calm. I live in the Southwest and sunsets here are sheer poetry. Now I’ll enjoy them even more.

usb flash drive -December 17, 2013, 1:19AM

i like it.
This is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing!

tori -December 17, 2013, 1:37PM

This is perfect! Check out my blog for more winter inspiration!

http://thetorontonian.ca

Haddie -December 18, 2013, 6:03PM

What do you mean by warm oil? Olive oil?

Taegan -December 20, 2013, 11:57PM

So thankful for this post! I’ve been having trouble sleeping and staying balanced throughout the day. I’ll definitely use some or all of these(:

Mariana -December 23, 2013, 6:12AM

Beautifully written! I read this coincidentally just before bed and am so glad as a it left me feeling so calm and relaxed. I find the most sweetness late in the stillness of the night, doing many of the things mentioned above. Such a beautiful time :)

Kristen -December 30, 2013, 3:37PM

Haddie, I use a blend of olive + castor oil. I just keep it on the bathroom counter in a little squeeze bottle. xo

CC -January 25, 2014, 1:43PM

I just fell in love with this post. My mind wanders & is so restless at night that I never seem to get a good night’s sleep. Keep these posts coming!

Izzy -February 17, 2014, 2:11PM

Beautiful. These just make me glad to be alive. They really help me sleep, too. Thank you!

Natalie -March 31, 2014, 4:44PM

This is wonderful! So quiet and peaceful yet so warming. Thank you for sharing this post, I truly love it!

-Natalie
http://thepurevoyage.wordpress.com

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